Former Kenya Cup side Western Bulls are keen to exit the second tier Championship league for a place in top flight rugby next season.
Last season the team missed out on an immediate bounce back to Kenya Cup after falling off 18-0 away to Mean Machine during playoff semis in Nairobi.
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But this time round, Echulusi, as they are fondly known, and as stated by caretaker coach Bram Shikanda, are on course for a place in Kenya Cup.
"The Championship is very tricky," he started, before going on to say; "But I think we are on course. We are hoping we will get promoted this season. The way the boys are, they are showing alot of maturity when it comes to plays and that is very important,"
Ten rounds into the current Championship season, Western Bulls are placed second with 37 points following their most recent 14-9 win over hosts Egerton Wasps in Njoro. They trail leaders Catholic University by a single point.
At Njoro they had to come from 6-3 down early into the second half to claim vital away points.
It is exactly what Bram advocates for - taking home all available points - to keep the team within the upper bracket of the 12-team standings that will guarantee home games in post-season playoffs.
"Last season when we had the toughest run ever. But so far the boys are up to the occasion, they are showing character and that is what matters especially at this stage when we are almost getting to the playoff,"
"Given the position we are in we just call on them to be very careful can't lose any points right now. Any point lost may come to haunt you later,"
"We are going for the top two, that is our target, it’s a softer landing," he added
Bulls were rocked by massive player departures as well as in their technical bench in the last off-season but according to Bram, it could have been worse.
Some of the player that quit the 'Bull Ring' in recent times include back-rower Venance Shikuba who moved to Masinde Muliro University and Duncan Abuyeka to Nakuru RFC. Skipper Chrispine Shitundo and Kelvin Juma joined promoted Kenya Cup side Menengai Oilers while Reinhardt Ashioya (centre), Erastus Wanyama (scrumhalf) and Victor Brolyn (second row) followed former Bulls' coach Okwemba to Kisumu RFC in early January, 2019.
"We lost a lot of players during the off season, it was a bad time. We lost our main players, we lost the coach to Kisumu and it was one of the tallest times at the club,"
"Everything looked very awkward after that. But I thank the players who remained at the club and we started forging forward again. So far we are ok, the players have now rediscovered their form. Those who left us have been calling regretting why they left because they found no life where they went to, most of them want to come back,"
"If we could have lost more it could have been disastrous for the club. We are happy with those that remained as they have put their dedication in and are fighting for the badge.
"I have to say it was a blessing in disguise as sometimes when you have superstars in the team it becomes hard for other players to rise up. The ones who came to fill their shoes are really living up to my expectation."
After the recent Njoro triumph, Western Bulls returns home to prepare for a big clash against third placed USIU in what will be their final cross over game or the season.
At the start of the season Western Bulls was banded in pool B with Kisumu RFC, Kisii RFC, University of Eldoret (UoE) and two promoted sides Masinde Muliro and Kitale RFC.
USIU falls in Championship pool A that also has Mombasa RFC, Catholic University, South Coast Pirates, Egerton University and Ngong RFC.
Bull's have since played all teams in their pools once, and each of the teams in pool A - save for USIU - in what is termed crossover games.
After the USIU game the team will play pool B reverse games against Masinde Muliro (home), Kisii (away), Kitale (away), Kisumu (home) and UoE (away), in that order, from match day 12 in successive weekends starting on Saturday 2 March, 2019.