The Impala Sports Club comes alive on Saturday when defending champions Impala Saracens face University of Nairobi’s Mean Machine while Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) come up against Homeboyz in the Impala Floodlit semi-finals.
The matches will see fans, players and officials observe a minute of silence in honour of the late Nakuru RFC flanker Mike Okombe and former Homeboyz and Impala player Peter Wekesa, who died last weekend.
Okombe was stabbed to death in Nakuru last Saturday while Peter and his twin brother died on Sunday morning following a road accident in Mombasa.
The Sarries were given a bye to the semi-final but Machine, who last won the Floodies in 2011, beat Strathmore Leos 11-6 to advance.
Homeboyz, who are chasing their maiden title, rallied from behind to stop Kenya Harlequin 20-16 while KCB edged out Kisii 20-14.
Impala head coach Frank Ndong will field seven new players.
Former Strathmore back row Mugambi Githamba and Italian flyhalf Renatto Bozon will start for Impala for the first time alongside lock Steve Ayora, scrum-half Xavier Bett, left wing Tony Makia and centre Joash Ngesa from their Eric Shirley Shield side.
“We have a fresh backline from 9-14. Machine are our bogey side but that is synonymous with Floodlit,” said Ndong. “We shall just stick to our structures as see how it goes.”
Machine chairman Brian Omondi had said in earlier interview that despite the financial challenges facing the team, they are determined to celebrate their 40th Anniversary this year with victory at the Impala Floodlit tournament victory.
Machine, formed in 1977, are targeting their 10th Impala Floodlit title.
Omondi said they only trained for a week before the quarterfinals, having had to pull together funds from the players and well-wishers after the varsity closed over a month ago due to the repeat presidential elections.
Fullback Eric Muthuma and lock James Olouch, who destroyed the Leos last weekend, are expected to lead Machine once again.
“We are optimistic of a good result. I am sure the players will play their hearts out and play for pride,” said Omondi.
KCB coach Curtis Olago has made several changes to his squad that played last weekend, bringing in new signings from Strathmore Brian Nyikuli and Adrian “Ade” Opondo at blind-side and right wing respectively.
Felix Ojoo and Peter Waitere move to open side and number eight respectively with open side Rocky Anguko dropping to the bench. “The Deejays have a heavy pack but we shall grind it,” said Olago. “The current rains will play a key factor and the team that master’s it shall win.”
BlakBlad v CUEA Monks (1.45pm)-RFUEA
Menengai Oilers v TUK (1.45pm) Impala
Clubs Plate Semi Final – Impala Club
Quins v Resolution Kisii (3.30pm)
Clubs Main Cup Semi-final – Impala Club
Impala Saracens v Mean Machine (5pm)
KCB v Homeboyz Rugby (7pm).