Just like the last two finals, Kabras Sugar couldn’t do it. Making it worse, they lost it at home.
So, are Kabras Sugar bottlers or just unlucky? A term used in World football to describe sides like Liverpool, Tottenham, PSG and Napoli. These reach Cup finals or near that every year but don’t win it.
In terms of money, Kabras Sugar can only be likened to Man City football club but in terms of winning they are the local Liverpool. Always coming close yet so far.
Kabras Sugar have invested heavily in the last couple of years bringing in players from as far as Fiji, South Africa and Uganda. Add that to a Coach from South Africa this season, Charles Cardovillis in 2018 and Australian Mike Bishop in 2016.
Former Kenya Rugby Union vice-chairman, Phillip Jalango, is the current Kabras Sugar chairman.
They looked like they would do it in 2019 having had a stellar performance in the Kenya Cup but many argued KCB still stood on their way to destiny. Indeed, they stopped them.
29-24 defeat to KCB in the Kenya Cup final in 2018, 36-8 in 2017 and now 15-23 in 2019 leaves many questions unanswered about Kabras Sugar’s approach to the final or specifically any game against KCB.
Read Also: KCB win third consecutive Kenya Cup
Their only Kenya Cup win came in 2016 when they beat Impala Saracens in a rainy afternoon at Impala Club. Before that, they had lost their first final, also going down 27-3 to who else than KCB.
Dominique Habimana, Kenya Cup winner in 2014 with Kenya Cup and 2012 with Kenya Harlequin, thinks Kabras Sugar has had slower ball before the gain line every-time they meet KCB.
“Technically, the inability of Kabras to beat KCB in something like 10 games in the Kenya Cup, it all boils down to the breakdown. Specifically the contact point, and speed of ball availability.”
“Every game between the two, KCB has had faster ball beyond the gain line, and Kabras has had slower ball before the gain line.”
How should Kabras break this KCB hoodoo and win the title in 2020?
“I think Kabras should lay the foundation for overcoming their KCB hurdle during pre-season, so that those weak areas of their game are sorted, so that things don't look good just because they beat 11 teams, but forgetting that those weaknesses are generally exposed by that ONE team.”
Habimana, currently the Kenya Simbas assistant coach and formerly with Quins, believes a big percentage of winning a Kenya Cup final is mental.
“90% of a final is mental. Especially after such a long season. Both teams in that final were very fit, and very skilled. They both executed their plans reasonably well given the pressure of such a game. But when you compare the final with the previous game in the regular season:
“KCB tightened up what worked for them, namely an even more aggressive line speed in defence, and an even more intense phase attack.”
“Kabras on the other hand, still had issues making the gain line in attack, so whenever they created overlaps, they couldn't use them because KCB could reset their defence a lot easier since it was going forward with every phase.”
Why is that teams can’t beat KCB in the Kenya Cup final? And specifically, Kabras Sugar. Will this affect the players mentally?
Only Nondies beat KCB this season when they met on matchday two. The bankers went unbeaten in the 2018 season.
“Winning is a habit,”adds Habimana. “Both teams had only one loss in the regular season, so they both are winning outfits. Unfortunately for Kabras, it just so happens that KCB has a habit of beating them!”
“I don't think it's stage fright, because the only time Kabras won the Cup is when they didn't play KCB in the final (they played Impala).”
Kabras Sugar may be waiting for the Enterprise Cup final on Saturday against Impala but they must be having a not-so-good week having missed their seasonal target.
What should they do to win?
“Prepare to win. Sort out the processes in the post season, pre-season, and in-season. Especially the small, minute technical/skill stuff, because that's what it comes down to in the end,” concludes Habimana.
2020 season is expected to be more competitive given the likes of Homeboyz, Kenya Harlequin, Impala, Mwamba, Top Fry Nakuru and others will be looking to stop the duo's dominance.
Last 5 Kenya Cup Final results
2019 Kabras 15 KCB 23
2018 KCB 29 Kabras 24
2017 KCB 36 Kabras 8
2016 Impala 5 Kabras Sugar 22
2015 KCB 27 Kabras 3