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Trio in playoffs dogfight in Kenya Cup season finale

Friday February 28 2020

Mwamba's Michael Okello (left) gain grounds supported by teammates Patrick Ruhiu and Brian Mwangi during their Kenya Cup match against Impala at Nairobi Railways Club ground on February 22, 2020. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Mwamba's Michael Okello (left) gain grounds supported by teammates Patrick Ruhiu and Brian Mwangi during their Kenya Cup match against Impala at Nairobi Railways Club ground on February 22, 2020. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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It’s a sprint finish for Mwamba Rugby, Menengai Oilers and Nakuru as they battle for the last two spots in the Kenya Cup playoffs in the last round of matches on Saturday.

The three teams are separated by just five points with the regular season coming to an end.

Fifth-placed Mwamba, who have 38 points, only need a point from their outing against Nondescripts at the Jamhuri Park Show ground starting at 2pm.

Mwamba beat Nondies 27-17 in the first leg.

Oilers, who are placed sixth with 36 points and in the last playoff slot, are up against Kenya Harlequin at the Nakuru Athletic Club at 4pm while seventh-placed Nakuru (33) take on relegated Western Bulls at the Moi Showground at 4pm.

The two Great Rift neighbours are praying for either side to falter so as to put them through to the playoffs.

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Nakuru edged out Western Bulls 23-10 while Oilers lost to Quins 25-15 in the first leg.

Leaders Kabras Sugar and titleholders KCB Rugby Club, who are second, have already secured the two automatic places into the semi-finals, Homeboyz and Impala Saracens wait for either Mwamba, Oilers or Nakuru in the playoffs for the semis.

Jamhuri Park Show ground will be staging a double header with Homeboyz hosting KCB at 4pm while Kabras Sugar are away to Blak Blad at the Kenyatta University starting at 4pm.

Kabras, who lead with 70 points, beat Blak Blak 57-3 in the first leg in Kakamega and any type of victory will see them stay at the top at the end of the regular season.

TALL ORDER

Even if Homeboyz are to beat KCB, the bankers will still remain second unless the Deejays edge out them by a margin of 68 points. KCB, who have 69 points, have a goal difference of 360 while Homeboyz have a GD of 292.

KCB escaped with a slim 27-24 victory against the Deejays in the first leg at the Den, Ruaraka.

As it stands, Kabras Sugar will have to host the Kenya Cup final once again that is if they will win their semi-final clash.

“We just need to finish on a high without thinking about the mathematics. Nondies would like to finish on a high by taking revenge," said Mwamba coach Kevin “Bling” Wambua, who warned his charges to stay focused.

“Quins have brought back most of their experienced players but the beauty of it is that destiny is in our hands. This will be our hardest duel this season,” said Oilers coach Gibson Weru.

Nakuru’s coach Felix Oloo said they might have beaten relegated Western Bulls but the western Kenya side would want to sign off in style. “There is nothing lethal like a wounded lion,” said Oloo.

The KRU Championship is also headed for a thrilling regular season finale.

While Strathmore Leos, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) and Mean Machine have guaranteed themselves slots in the playoffs, it remains tight in the battle for three remaining places.

USIU Martials, Egerton Wasps, South Coast Pirates and Northern Suburbs are all in with a chance of sealing the final three playoff slots.

Even more interesting is the impending relegation dogfight heading into the final round of action. Eldoret sides Trojans and Eldoret, Catholic Monks and Mombasa could all join Kisii in next season's third tier KRU Nationwide and will have to put in the performances of their lives to evade the chop.

FIXTURES

Nakuru v Western Bulls (Nakuru Athletics Club, 4pm), Menengai Oilers v Kenya Harlequins (Moi Showground, 4pm), Nondescripts v Mwamba (Jamhuri Showground, 2pm), Homeboyz v KCB (Jamhuri Showground, 4pm), Impala v Kisumu (Impala Sports Club, 4pm), Blak Blad v Kabras Sugar (Kenyatta University, 4pm)

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