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Squeaky-bum time for Mwamba, Nakuru, Oilers in Kenya Cup

Friday February 21 2020
By AYUMBA AYODI

One team could drop out of the race when Menengai Oilers, Mwamba and Nakuru battle for the two remaining places in the Kenya Cup playoff that reaches the penultimate stage on Saturday.

Three points separate Oilers (36), Mwamba (34) and Nakuru (33), who are placed fifth, sixth and seventh respectively.

Kabras Sugar (65) and titleholders Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) (64), who occupy the top two slots in the league, have all but sealed the automatic semi-final places unless a catastrophe strikes.

Homeboyz, who are placed third with 59 points and fourth-placed Impala, who are on 42 points, are assured of the playoffs.

Perhaps Oilers and Mwamba have the toughest opposition based on the first leg results as they face KCB and Impala Saracens at the Den, Ruaraka and Railway Club, Nairobi respectively.

During the first leg, Oilers succumbed 43-13 at the Moi Showground, Nakuru while Impala claimed a slim 26-24 victory against Mwamba at the Impala Sports Club.

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The clash between Nakuru and Harlequin, who are placed ninth in the league with 22 points, at the RFUEA could go either way even though the Great Rift side triumphed 25-18 in the first leg at the Nakuru Athletics Club.

Oilers, who have impressed this season, will then wrap up the regular season against Quins in Nakuru next Saturday with Mwamba taking on Nondescripts away at the Jamhuri Park.

Nakuru will end their season against Western Bulls at their Nakuru Athletics Club backyard.

At the top, with Oilers expected to give KCB a run for their money, Kabras Sugar should find it an easy sailing against Nondies at the Kakamega Forest while Homeboyz should crack the right codes despite being away to relegation-bound Western Bulls.

Nakuru head coach Felix Oloo, who has described his duel against Quins as a final, has made four changes replacing burly centre Oscar Ouma with Brian Mayaka. Ouma is back with Kenya Sevens team.

John Mbugua and Duncan Abuyeka come in for Felix Omondi and Fredrick Odongo at prop and fly-half. Eighthman Kelvin Kabole has also been rested for Charles Odongo. “This is going to be a thriller of some sorts. It has never been easy between the two sides but we know what the match means for us,” said Oloo.

Mwamba head coach Kevin Wambua rung a few changes to his side as Salaton Muturi returns to replace injured Brian Kahura at hooker. Andrew Chogo and George Omolla slot in the locks.

Nifty Eugene Nzioka starts at scrum-half while Michael Okello gets his first run as a winger.

MADE TWO CHANGES

Oilers have made two changes with head coach Gibson Weru bringing in Rashid Shimoko in place of Ian Omoke at prop with Bildad Ogeta replacing Timothy Okwemba at the wing.

“This will be a very interesting weekend for the three teams. KCB is a good side but we shall put in our best,” said Weru.

The Kenya Cup promotion battle in the KRU Championship is also getting interesting.

While Strathmore Leos, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, and Mean Machine have done enough to secure Championship playoff qualification, there still is a battle to secure the remaining three slots with two rounds of the regular season still to play.

Any of these six teams - USIU Martials, Egerton Wasps, South Coast Pirates, Northern Suburbs, UoE Trojans and Catholic Monks - could still sneak into the post season but this is purely dependent on the outcomes of their remaining fixtures.

KENYA CUP FIXTURES (All matches kickoff at 4pm)

KCB v Menengai Oilers (The Den, Ruaraka)

Kenya Harlequins v Nakuru (RFUEA)

Western Bulls v Homeboyz (The Bullring, Kakamega)

Kabras Sugar v Nondescripts (Kakamega Showground)

Mwamba v Impala (Railway Nairobi)

Kisumu v Blak Blad (Mamboleo Showground, Kisumu)

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