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Three-peat seeking KCB hunt in The Forest

KCB’s Oliver Mang’eni pulls away from a Kabras player during their Kenya Cup match at the Impala Sports Club on February 24, 2019. PHOTO/Raymond makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 – Kabras Sugar will face Bankers KCB in a Kenya Cup final for the fourth time since they earned top-flight status five years ago when they take on the bankers at their Kakamega Showground stable on Saturday evening.

While KCB will be yearning for a three-peat over the sugar men, Kabras are looking to break their hoodoo against KCB and win only their second Kenya Cup title.

Kabras have hugely invested this season bringing in South African coach Henley du Plessis who in turn brought on board a few players from South Africa and Fiji to blend in with the squad that was there last season.

The tactician believes time is ripe for the sugar belt side to finally clinch a victory over the bankers and has called on his outfit to put their best effort when they play the final infront of their adoring home fans at ‘The Forest’ on Saturday.

Kenya Commercial Bank captain Curtis Lilako and his assistant Darwin Mukidza lead teammates in celebrating their Kenya Cup win against Kabras Sugar at the Lion’s Den on March 24, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

“We can’t wait for another season and if we fail to do it this season then it will be the same story next year. You can’t get to the end of the line always then you capitulate. It will take my players a long time to recover if we don’t do it this time around,” du Plessis told Daily Nation as he prepared his charges for the mammoth task.

The bankers have beaten Kabras in back to back finals and they came really close last season when they played at the Lion’s Den in Ruaraka losing by a single try after going down 29-24 in a match they were leading at some point.

It is that pain that will push them to seek revenge against the bankers who also are the only side to have beaten them this season when they floored them at the Lion’s Den in the regular season.

The two top Kenya Cup teams have met 10 times since Kabras were promoted to the top flight and KCB have not lost against Kabras, the worst result being a 15-15 draw in the 2016/2017 season. The bankers have been rampant in the other nine, winning all.

Worth to note is that the 15-15 draw came off a tie played in Kakamega.

In every season Kabras have been in the Kenya Cup, Kabras have reached the final and won it only once, in the 2015/16 season when they beat Impala.

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Kabras Sugar head coach Henley du Plessis (right) with consultant coach Jerome Paarwater watch on during their Kenya Cup match against KCB at the Impala Sports Club on February 24, 2019. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Both teams have lined up strong sides for the pulsating final, Kabras lining up some fine arsenal with Philip Wokarach expected to play an integral role in the tie. Wokarach has been in emphatic fashion this season and is the leading try scorer.

He is expected to once again play a vital role for Kabras, just like he did last season in the failed effort to clinch the title in Nairobi.

With the bankers being particularly strong at the backs and some heavy hitting forwards, KCB will be super keen to ensure they don’t open gaps and allow Kabras to play.

Curtis Olago has chosen to go with youthful playmakers in his team, the Chipu brain in Samuel Asati playing at nine. Davis Chenge has passed a late fitness test after suffering a head injury in last weekend’s semi against Quins and the Simbas skipper will be heavily depended on.

KCB’s Peter Kilonzo is tackled by Kabras Sugar’s Philip Wokarach and Nick Barasa during their Kenya Cup match at the Impala Sports Club on February 24, 2019. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Team News

KCB Squad: Oscar Sorano, 2. Peter Karia, 3. Curtis Lilako © 4, Oliver Mang’eni, 5. Francis Mwita, 6. Andrew Amonde, 7. Peter Waitere, 8. Davis Chenge, 9. Samuel Asati, 10. Kennedy Moseti, 11. Jacob Ojee, 12. Brian Omondi, 13. Peter Kilonzo, 14. Tony Onyango, 15. Isaac Njoroge.

Reserves: 16. Griffin Musila, 17. Moses Amusala, 18. George Gichure, 19. Brian Nyikuli, 20. Rocky Aguko, 21. Michael Wanjala, 22, Shaban Ahmed, 23. Vincent Onyala.

Kabras Squad: 15. Jone Kubo 14. Felix Ayange 13. Mario Wilson 12. Nick Baraza 11. Kevin Keagan  10.Philip Wokorach 9. Barry Robinson 8. Claude Johannes 7. George Nyambua 6. Dan Sikuta  5. Hillary Odhiambo 4. Charlton Mokua 3. Asuman Mugerwa 2. Max Adaka (C) 1. Ephraim Odour

Reserves:  16. Geoffrey Shitambasi 17. Hillary Mwajilwa 18. Joseph Odero 19. Brian Juma 20. Kevin Kabole 21. Dan Angwech 22. Johnstone Mun’gau 23. Paul Abuto.

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