By: AYUMBA AYODI
Resolution Impala Saracens host Kenya Harlequin in a Ngong Road derby at the Impala Sports Club grounds when the 2015/2016 Kenya Cup season gets underway Saturday afternoon.
Saturday’s matches will also see Thika and Bungoma Sharks make their maiden appearance at the top flight rugby league with tough assignment against champions Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and Kabras Sugar at United States International University (USIU) and Kakamega showground respectively.
KCB beat surprise package Kabras Sugar 27-3 on March 14 this year to win the 2014/2015 Kenya Cup title, their fourth Cup success after 2005, 2006 and 2007 victories.
Impala will be out to uphold their dominance over their neighbours whom they beat 33-22 last year in the Kenya Cup before again triumphing 48-17 in the quarter-finals of the season-opening Impala Floodlight tourney a month ago. Impala would lose to KCB 16-26 in the Floodlight final.
Impala’s director of rugby Fred Ollows said their intention is to qualify for the Kenya Cup semis, adding that they will prepare well for each match.
Ollows said the Floodlit tournament served to prepare Impala players mentally and physically for the season. “Failure to win the tournament showed us how much more we need to do to be title contenders,” said Ollows, who has succeeded Eric Situma, who took up a job with Africa Rugby.
Impala with be without injured fullback Samuel Oliech (ankle) and centre Anthony Nyandigisi (groin) but will bank on Simiyu brothers Nato and Innocent, captain Duncan Ekasi and Dennis Karani.
Quins director of coaching Charles Cardovillis has promised Impala a big battle. “Things will be different from a month ago when we met Impala. They should expect a different game,” he said.
Strathmore v M. Machine (2pm, Impala Club)
Impala v Quins (4pm, Impala Club)
Mwamba v W. Bulls (4pm, Railway Club)
Kabras v Bungoma Sharks (4pm, Kakamega)
KCB v Thika (4pm, USIU)
Nakuru v Blak Blad (4pm, Nakuru Club)
Nondies v Homeboyz (4pm, Jamhuri Park)
SOURCE: DAILY NATION