The Kenya Cup season comes to a close this afternoon with 2016 champions Kabras seeking to dethrone holders KCB at the Kakamega showground.
This will be the first ever that the final is being contested from the traditional venue in Nairobi after hosts Kabras topped the standings after the regular rounds.
The two sides will be meeting in the final for the fourth time with the bankers having won all the three previous encounters. In 2015 KCB won 27-3 at the RFUEA ground and the bankers winning on home turf 36-8 in 2017 and last year 29-24.
The sugarmillers are yet to beat the bankers in nine meetings with the best result for the hosts being a 15-15 draw in December 2016. The two sides met in the group phase in February at the Impala Club in arguably the game of the season, with KCB winning 44-20.
Kabras, who were formed in 2014 bagged the Kenya Cup crown in 2016, beating Impala 22-5 in the final and have played in every Kenya Cup competition since promotion to the top tier in 2015.
Kabras coach Hennley Du Plessis has urged his charges to seize the moment and create history by winning the crown.
“Our first objective was to top the group phase and have the final played at home and we have done that. Now we must complete the job on home soil,” said Du Plessis.
He has urged his charges to attack space and not be involved in arm wrestles with the big KCB forwards.
“We learnt our lessons from the last time we played KCB. We want to stick to our game plan and structure and hopefully carry the day,” he added.
The South African tactician has made three changes with Uganda Cranes skipper Asman Mugerwa starting in the front row, replacing Hilary Mwanjilwa while Charlton Mokua is at second row in place of Brian Juma. Internationals Dan Sikuta and George Nyambua will be in the back row.
Ugandan import Phillip Wokorach, Nick Barasa and Fijian Jone Kubu will be the star men in the backs.
On their part, KCB have named an unchanged side for the final. Skipper Curtis Lilako, Oliver Mang’eni, Andrew Amonde and Peter Waitere are the forwards with Samuel Asati, Ken Moseti Peter Kilonzo and Tony Onyango the key men in the backs.
KCB coach Curtis Olago said defence will be key in what is expected to be an explosive encounter.
“Our defence has been superb this season and I expect to be the difference in the final,” added Olago.
Lilako noted the pressure is on the hosts. “The pressure is on Kabras. They will be at home and the expectation to win will be high on them. We simply need to play our game,” said Lilako.
The match will be preceded by the Championship final pitting Western Bulls and Kisumu RFC at 2 pm.