Wednesday, August 20, 2008

KCB v Impala fact file

KCB's Collins Kimani(with ball) leaves Impala's Nato Simiyu stranded during the 2007 Enterprise Cup quarter final victory at Impala Club. The two sides meet on Saturday in a crucial Kenya Cup league clash at the Lions Den.

KCB and Impala were both relegated from the Kenya cup league in 1994, playing in the Second Division Eric Shirley Shield in 1995 where they claimed the top two positions,qualifying for the 1996 Kenya Cup where they have remained ever since.

The two sides went through lean times, sometimes losing by cricket scores in the range of 90-0, 76-3, 44-12 etc before stability and dominance set in.While suffering heavy losses, matches between these two sides would be close affairs, I recall a duel in 1998 on a rainy day at Nairobi School which ended 7-6 to KCB.

1999 would prove a significant year for both sides. With the Kenya Cup league then being played in a format akin to the Super 14, both sides made it to the knockout stages,Impala reaching the final,losing the decider to Quins who had knocked out KCB in the semis.

They met twice in the 2002 Kenya Cup season, KCB beating Impala 16-14 during the regular season but Impala prevailing 14-3 in the title decider as they claimed a third successive title in addition to titles won in 2001 and 2000, the latter coming after a 26 year wait stretching back to 1974.

The 2004 final saw Impala win a fourth Kenya Cup in five years with a close 21-17 win over KCB in the final at the RFUEA.

KCB would avenge this loss a week later with a comprehensive 33-5 thrashing of Impala in the Enterprise Cup final. A sign of things to come.

The 2005 season saw Impala blank KCB 17-0 on a waterlogged Impala Club pitch but the KCB would beat the Gazelles 15-0 in the return match, a result that saw the Lions claim their maiden league title. This Kenya Cup win signalled the start of KCB's current league dominance, they would retain the title in 2006, beating the same opposition in the decider and won the Kenya Cup for a third successive time with a 17-0 win at Mean Machine in August 2007.

Impala have led the 2008 Kenya Cup league for a good bit, but as they visit The Lions Den where they are winless in five years, can they handle the backlash of the marauding Lions who are unwilling to relinquish the Kenya Cup?

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