Kenya Cup: Kabras Sugar keen to retain title for the third time


It is all systems go as Kabras Sugar RFC gears up for an epic duel against their bitter-rivals KCB for the Kenya Cup finals this weekend.

The two clubs have dominated the local rugby scenes, however, Kabras Sugar RFC has of late emerged a force to reckon with.

The sugarmen beat KCB last season to retain the Kenya Cup trophy and during regular competition of the current season to earn a slot for plays against Nondies.

Kabras Sugar’s Barry Robinson anticipates a tackle against KCB’s Bob Muhati. PHOTO: KCB Rugby

The Kakamega based club has been on a winning streak for two seasons with the last loss being against KCB on February 28th, 2021.

The Saturday’s finals will be the ninth consecutive finals for Kabras Sugar since they were promoted to the top tier league in the 2014/15 season.

Rai Group of Companies Chairman Jaswant Singh Rai (centre) with Kabras Sugar RFC players in 2016. PHOTO: Kabras Sugar,Facebook

Jaswant Rai who is the chairman of the West Kenya Sugar Company that sponsors Kabras Sugar RFC lauded the club’s performance and attributed it to the determination of the players and the coaching staff.

“I feel happy when I see a rural based club like Kabras Sugar performing exemplary. To reach nine consecutive finals is no mean achievement,” said Rai.

According to Mr Rai, rugby was believed to be a game of city based club but Kabras Sugar has changed that narrative by hosting the finals for the fourth time in a row.

“The club has gained a lot of attraction that is why whenever they are playing at the Showground, there is always a huge crowd of fans coming to enjoy the game and support the players,” he said.

To Rai, at Kabras Sugar, it is not just about rugby but the culture in the club of nurturing young talents and provide them with a suitable platform to explore their talents.

Kabras Sugar fans celebrate after winning the Kenya Cup in 2023. PHOTO: Kabras Sugar

The club has partnered with many secondary schools among them Butula High School, Koyonzo Boys High School, St Peter’s Mumias Boys Secondary to train and nurture talents besides paying their school fees.

“We walk with those students we have identified right from secondary, University and absorb some in our companies as employees because we have to ensure all is well for them after their stint in rugby,” said Rai.

The organisers of the Saturday finals told The Standard that they expect between 5,000 and 6,500 spectators, a reason why they are leaving nothing to chance in preparation for the grand finale of the 2023/24 Kenya Cup.

Kabras Sugar coach Carlos Katywa (left) during a past match. PHOTO: Fanaka

Head Coach Carlos Katywa said yesterday that his players were ready for the finals and noted that he expected a tough game from KCB.

The reigning champions strengthened their squad ahead of the 2023/24 season with the signing of Eric Cantona from Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology Edward Mwaura from Menengai Oilers and Brian Mutua from Mean-Machine.

He said the trio has been influential players for the team. “We have had a 100 percent run this season. This is a community driven club so there is a collective sense of responsibility on players and those involved,” said Katywa.

“We received all the support we wanted from our sponsor West Kenya Sugar Company and this actually motivated the players to also give it all whenever they are on the pitch,” Katywa added.

The Head of Player Pathway and Development Edwin Achayo said, “There is a strong from the players to a leave legacy on and off the field of play courtesy of work ethic instilled in them. The club is just nine years old but has played in nine finals since joining Kenya Cup.”

Derrick Ashiundu of Kabras Sugar is the leading top try scorer with 11 tries. He has however not played a couple of games owing to sickness as Jone Kubu remained side-lined due to injury.

Majority of the players who featured in last year finals against KCB including George Nyambua, Eugine Sifuna, Ndabeni Dukisa, Alfred Orege, Teddy Akala, Ephraim Oduor, Brian Tanga among others are available for selection by Mr Katywa this Saturday.

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