Photo : Mean Machine inside centre Reymond Ekutu tackled by Egerton Wasps flyhalf Calvin Kiprono and Nramwel Omwangu (R)at Egerton Njoro campus on Wednesday. Machine won 18-15.
All hail the historic local rugby comeback graced by Championship league clash pitting University of Nairobi’ Mean Machine and Egerton Wasps.
The championship playoffs quarterfinals is slated at 3pm at the UoN main campus, fans both rowdy and gentle disallowed though.
The corona virus pandemic took a toll of the rugby calendar and robbed fans weekends of fun and cheering players to produce memorable hits.
Championship playoffs fate
USIU-A was slated to host Northern Suburbs but an indefinite decision saw the USIU Marshalls leave the ball in Suburbs hands to decide own fate at the moment it truth when Suburbs play Strathmore Leos in the cup semis.
First placed MMUST will host the winner between Machine and Egerton in the highlight semis whilst Leos host Suburbs.
KICK OFF 3PM:
CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYOFFS IN THE OFFING
SOLE Championship playoffs clash pitting Mean Machine and Egerton Wasps will enter history books as first local rugby match since the pandemic disrupted sports in the country.
Hosted by two-time Kenya cup champs and One Championship titled Mean Machine will be staring at a chance to leave it to a match away from promotion having welcomed big guns back to training under a coaching trio of Phelim Kidakwa, Ramsfield Matekwa and joining from Impala Saracens coach Nick Abok.
Speaking exclusively to the three, the ball will surely be in the players court.
"Preparations have been good, but could be better, given the time we have had to prepare for the games. The players have responded well and believe they have got some confidence going to this. We welcome the challenge and we will take this game with the seriousness it deserves,'' coach Nick Abok told Shujaa Pride.
Forwards coach Phelim Kidakwa was glad to also return to sharpen the forwards, "I have just been reinstated as a coach after a long absence. My focus was to know what was the teams foothold in times of style of play. The challenges that we have experienced is mostly on attendance due to the closure of the university following the COVID-19 pandemic and protocols and considering the fact that most of my players are students who live outside Nairobi. Our plan has been to conduct a crash program where we repeatedly combine all activities in one session. We are three coaches currently assisting in preparing the team with the limited time and resources we have," forwards coach Phelim Kidakwa.
Making it through to return to Kenya cup after the first fall but fought to win the Championship away playing Oilers at Nakuru Athletic Club(NAC), is a worthy formula to replicate according to backline coach Ramsfield Matekwa.
“The team is shaping very well having stayed for a long time without playing. As per now boys are shaping up on fitness level which is making the team to have positive energy towards the playoffs. We are ready and prepared for the playoffs. Having most of the older players back to the team with the blending of younger and new players we are ready. We really need to get back to Kenya cup and we are fighting for that,” Coach Ramsfield Matekwa told Shujaa Pride.
The two sides met once this season at Egerton University main campus in Njoro in a mid-week fixture in February 5 2020 to honour Dec 21-2019 postponed clash won by Mean Machine courtesy 18-15 score.
G1- Mean Machine vs Egerton Wasps
Center: Dancan Kioko
Assisted by: Moses Ndungu & Linus Kinuthia
TZO: Innocent Kimathi
CMO: Constant Cap
1 Bob Onchonga 2 Grevis Onyino 3 Paul Ekirapa 4 James Oluoch 5 Mike Oduor 6 Zack Ondijo 7 Brian Marube 8 Kevin Daniel 9 Marvin Karungi 10 Festus Safari 11 Adam Nyamwea 12 Johnmark Awiti 13 Bruce Odhiambo 14 Laurence Ndung'u 15 Trevor Asina
16 Alex Muganda 17 Mike Savonje 18 Philemon Opiyo 19 Richard Alai 20 Collins Mbogo 21 Victor Mwangi 22 Richeal Wangila 23 Denis Nyongesa
1. Caleb Malemo 2. Elly Bosire 3. Winston Kombo 4. Maurice Achola 5. Enos Musakali 6. Raphex Oyugi 7. Kevin Kairo 8. Barry Opondo 9. Mujid Kihima 10. Kimutai Kipsang 11. Ignatius Ongeri 12. Emmanuel Walela 13. George Ouma 14. Solomon Rabin 15. Leeon Nyang'
16. Oscar Isoi 17. Moses Okari 18. Angwech 19. Manyala 20. Jomo Kelvin 21. Calvin Kiprono 22. Caleb Were 23. John Oloo