NAKURU, March 8 – Debutants Kabras Sugar ended champions Top Fry Nakuru RFC’s hopes of lifting a third successive Kenya Cup title after upsetting the hosts 15-12 in the play-offs staged in a capacity-packed Athletic Club on Saturday.
Kabras will now meet three time champions KCB in next weekend’s final at RFUEA Grounds after the Bankers eliminated resilient Strathmore Leos 24-21 in the other nail-biting keenly contested semi .
The loss for the hosts saw head coach Dominique Habimana suffer his first defeat at home in three years but the disappointed Rwandan said they will now turn their focus to defending the Enterprise Cup.
“We did not use our chances well and we paid for it, the whole game was very tense but well done to Kabras I’m so impressed with their performance and we wish them all the best in the final,” Habimana stated after the match.
His opposite number and player-coach Anthony Ogot, said he did not expect the rank underdogs to run out with victory and a shot at the decider, stunned as everyone else as ‘David’ slew ‘Goliath’.
“It’s unbelievable! We didn’t expect this at the beginning of the season but we thank God for the win. It’s not easy to play both roles at the same time; I had faith in the players and they believed in me.
“We have what it takes to win the title, KCB know how to play big games but the advantage is that I have a spirited young side,” delighted Ogot a former national 15s and KCB player underscored.
Nakuru, cheered by a partisan home crowd had themselves to blame for squandering a number of chances in the first half despite breaking through after nine minutes through Dalmas Chituyi at the left but Martin Muita missed the conversion.
They spurned a guilt edged opportunity to extend the lead after Muita missed a penalty before Kabras punished them at the stroke of halftime through Nick Baraza’s who went down under the post with Aluda Abeda kicking successfully for a 7-5 lead at the break.
Nakuru resumed on a high and reclaimed the lead when Edwin Makori touched down from a rolling maul as Muita kicked through for a 12-7 advantage.
Habimana charges lost concentration in defence with Abeda breaching their try line but Larry Safari conceded a penalty for a neck tackle and Nakuru trimmed the deficit to two points from the ensuing penalty.
The visitors utilized Nakuru’s blunder at the centre with Edwin Achayo racing to pick the kick ball to touch down on the right side for a 15-12 lead that they managed to hold on to the end and break Wanyore’s fans hearts.
In the early kick-off, the Bankers advanced to a second successive final after a hard fought win against a strong Strathmore side that featured national sevens players; Billy Odhiambo, Michael Wanjala and Tony Owuor.
Jacob Ojee, Dawin Mukiza, Samuel Mutari and Curtis Lilako scored for KCB while Mukiza converted a late penalty to hand the Bankers the crucial win.
Mugambi Kithamba scored a try for the Students while Kenny Andola converted three penalties to see his side take a 21-14 lead with five minutes to go before Lilako grabbed the late try.
“The boys expressed character and I’m so proud of them. Strathmore came to the party; they gave us a hard push. Whoever comes we are ready to face them,” KCB head coach Curtis Olago who is seeking the first title since 2007 said.