Impala Floodlit curtains come down on Saturday
The 38th edition of the Impala Floodlits rugby tournament come to a close with the finals on Saturday.
Defending champions KCB out for a third-in-a-row title opponents Menengai Oilers will attempt an upset in their maiden Floodies participation after knocking out hosts Impala Saracens and Kenya Harlequins respectively.
The Cup finals will see the bankers’ quest for their eighth historic title without the services of Kenyan international Davis Chenge who sustained a knock while preparing for the final.
Davis Chenge was part of the team that downed Homeboyz 38-14 in the cup semi-finals and has been replaced by Martin Owilah who comes off the bench to replace the injured back rower.
Other experienced players to help steer the Bankers to their title defense include forwards Oscar Sorano, Curtis Lilako, Oliver Mangeni and Patrick Ouko while in the backline, Peter Kilonzo, Brian Omondi, Stafford Abeka, Felix Wanjala and Ahmed Shaban.
In the tournament’s record, KCB and Impala Saracens are tied with seven titles each, two behind Mean Machine on the list of the tournament roll of most successful teams.
Menengai Oilers head coach Gibson Weru speculates a tough fixture but insists pressure will be on KCB as the defending champions while their mission will be to try and register a major cup win in the 15 aside version of the game.
“We have prepared well and have won the first two matches so for us to reach the cup finals we have no pressure as the underdogs but KCB as the defending champions are under pressure to deliver. We have worked on execution and we will be happy to win it,” Weru told Wikendi Sport.
Oilers managed to beat hosts Impala Saracens 26-23 in the quarters and eliminated Harlequins courtesy of a 30-21 semi-finals win while KCB beat Blak Blad 57-3 before eliminating Homeboyz 38-14 in the semis.
Six finals will be played today and will be highlighted by the main cup finals pitting KCB and Menengai Oilers at 7.30pm.
The age-grade final will kick off the day at 8am followed by the first cup final featuring Muhuri Muchiri high school v Ofafa Jericho at 11am.
Women rugby finals pitting defending champs Black Lion and Tembo after the age-group finals to pave way for afternoon activities.
University of Nairobi will then play Strathmore in the University Cup finals at 2.30pm before the club category plate final between the hosts Impala and Nondescripts.
Kenya Harlequins and Homeboyz will contest for the bronze at 6pm before leaving the arena for the much awaited cup finals featuiring Oilers and KCB.
- Alex Njue