Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) rugby team has shifted its focus to defending Kenya Cup and Enterprise Cup titles after beating Impala Saracens 18-17 to win Impala Floodlit tournament on Saturday night.
The 2017/2018 Kenya Cup gets underway on Saturday where KCB will be gunning for their sixth Cup success.
On Saturday, tries from second-row Nick Ongeri and fly-half Esau Otieno, who curled over one conversion and the two penalties, saw the bankers reclaim the Impala Floodlit title they last won in 2015 from Impala.
The end-to-end battle saw KCB go ahead 13-0, but Impala reduced the deficit to 13-10 before leading 17-13, only to throw away the lead and with it, the title.
REPEAT OF 2016 FINAL
Impala, who beat KCB in last year’s final, scored two tries through scrum-half Xavier Kiprotich and left wing Timothy Makiya. Ring wing Quinton Ongo converted both tries besides a penalty but that proved too little too late as KCB held on for victory.
Just like in last year’s final which Impala won by a point (33-22), Saturday’s match saw KCB overcome Impala by a point to lift the title.
Despite winning a forth Cup title, KCB coach Curtis Olago downplayed the team’s success, saying Impala Floodlit tournament was just a pre-season competition with could not point to how the season would play out.
“This a pre-season event. It’s not about winning the trophy but gauging our systems,” said Olago. He said his team still has a long way to go. “We are about 25 per cent done with what we want to achieve but the good thing is that there is progress and that is what you want to see as a coach.”
Olago said he is not under pressure ahead of his team’s title defence in Kenya Cup and Enterprise Cup.
“We will only be under pressure with the system we shall be trying to execute and play this season, not just competing,” said Olago, who is determined to change the way the game is played in Kenya especially after his team toured South Africa in July. “We need to embrace modern rugby, and that is what I’ve been trying to execute in rucking and mauling while playing in phases and attack,” said Olago.
Like his Impala counterpart Frank Ndong’, Olago has expressed his reservations on the way Saturday’s game was handled, both coaches pointing accusing fingers at assistant referees Godwin Karuga and Anthony Ndong for interference.
Both coaches concurred that interference from the two couldn’t allow centre referee Moses Ndungu, who was on his first major assignment, to handle the match well.