The script is almost complete; all it needs is a champion to crown on match 14, the final day of the 2009 Kenya Cup. One of three teams can still be crowned Kenya Cup winners on match day 14. The three teams still in contention are league leaders Impala RFC on 46 points, Kenya Commercial Bank RFC on 45 points and reigning champions Kenya Harlequin FC on 41 points.
Bill Githinji's Impala RFC,dominant in the formative years of this decade when they won four titles in five seasons, between 2000-2002 and again in 2004, will want to make it five titles. They play their next door neighbours and league champions Kenya Harlequin FC in a Ngong' Road derby that takes on added importance as it plays a role in determining the final destination of the league title.
Impala have stayed in the leading pack all season and the big question at this point is whether they will fall at the final hurdle or will they able to turn on the style when it matters most? They lost 8-17 to Kenya Commercial Bank RFC on match day 12, a result that literally threw the league race wide open. Their next fixture was a hard fought 14-13 win over visiting Nakuru RFC saw them stay top heading into judgment day.
Edward Kinyany's Quins have also stayed in the leading pack, without ever leading the league. On 41 points, they still have a chance of retaining the title they won in 2008. To lay their hands on the title that they had previously won in 2003, they would require a bonus point victory over Impala while hoping that Impala do not register any point. They would also have to count on home side Nakuru RFC denying KCB a win and a bonus point. That is how tight the race for the league title is.
KCB, Kenya Cup champions between 2005 and 2007 travel to the intimidating atmosphere of the Nakuru Athletic Club where they face home side Nakuru RFC. KCB are on 45 points, trailing Impala by just the one point. They must beat the hosts and count on Quins, the team they vanquished on match day 13, to defeat Impala. This scenario will hand Michael "Tank" Otieno a fourth title. KCB lost 5-13 at home to Nondescripts RUFC on match 11 before registering 17-8and 18-12 away wins over Impala and Quins in their subsequent fixtures.
2008 Enterprise Cup champions Nakuru RFC have been worthy competitors, sticking to the top four, even leading the league at one point. With 39 points, they are out of contention and will certainly be playing for pride but do not put it past the Wanyore to go for the win. They beat KCB 30-13 in Ruaraka on match day 7 and Jotham Owili’s side will be out to complete the league double over the Lions.
Seventh placed Mean Machine RFC host fifth placed Mwamba RFC. Benjamin Ayimba’s Machine side will be gunning for a win that would consolidate Eschuma Absolute’s league position while John Onyango, seemingly content with Kulabu’s league standing, may again be tempted to give his fringe players more playing time ahead of the Enterprise Cup in October.
Sixth placed Nondescripts RUFC who have had a great run in the second leg of the season wind up their league campaign against Mitch Ocholla’s Strathmore Leos. One interesting observation ahead of this match is that Nondies coach Paul Odera was Ocholla’s predecessor as Kenya under 20 coach. Both sides probably approach this match as an Enterprise Cup build up.
The Mwamba Cup knockout tournament for Eric Shirley teams gets underway this weekend at the pre quarter final stage with four matches on the cards.
Collated Mwamba Cup fixtures:
K.U Blak Blad v Nakuru II
JKUAT Cougars v USIU-A
Nondies II v Strathmore II
Kisumu II v Machine II
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