What you need to know:
- On Saturday, KCB had to dig deep to defend their title after trailing 20-0 at half-time
- A second half surge from the bankers saw them level the game 25-25 with a converted try at the stroke of full time
- Darwin Mukidza's penalty in extra time completed the remarkable comeback for Curtis Olago's charges as they won the match through sudden death
It ended up being one of the most dramatic end to the 2021 Kenya Cup season, the title decided by a “sudden goal” in extra time at Nandi Bears Sports Club in Nandi County.
However, the match was marred by poor safety protocols by the march organisers when two injured players were confined to an ill-equipped ambulances for over one hour before being taken to hospital.
It delayed the game by as much time.
Nevertheless, the match witnessed one of the most stunning comebacks in Kenya Cup history with KCB rallying from 20-0 at half time to level 25-25 at the death before winning in extra time 28-25.
Fullback Darwin Mukidza returned from the sin-bin to slot home the game-winning penalty six minutes into extra time to triumph on the sudden death rule.
Prior to this season’s final, the two sides had met in four other finals with KCB winning all of them.
On Saturday, KCB displayed their championships credential 10 times over, digging deep to defend their title for the fourth consecutive year.
The bankers became only the third team after Impala Saracens and Nondescripts to lift the Kenya Cup title four times in a row.
A long stoppage that saw the match played from 2pm to 5.30pm due to lack of at least two ambulances at the match venue.
KCB winger Isaac Njoroge sustained a neck injury 10 minutes into the game but wasn’t taken to the hospital right away with the only ambulance at hand lacking basic equipment like a neck brace and oxygen.
The match resumed after 10 minutes with the player still in the ambulance.
Three minutes to the break, KCB’s eighth man Rocky Anguko twisted his left leg needing medical intervention.
It took 30 minutes for two other ambulances to arrive but the players could not be transferred to hospital as the medical cars too lacked neck braces and oxygen. It was also not clear where the players were to be taken.
“We made a big mistake and it wasn’t right to have one ambulance on site without basic equipment,” acknowledged KRU chairman Oduor Gangla, who attended the match. “The doctor on site told us not to move the players.”
Kabras Sugar had stunned KCB 30-23 at the same venue in the regular season and looked on course for their second Kenya Cup title after an impressive first half, played under a light shower.
Impressive Fiji-born Jone Kubu landed twice, the first selling a dummy to outwit the KCB line, the second, barrelling through with power and determination.
Afterwards, fly-half Dukisa Ntabeni put Kabras ahead 3-0 from a penalty before he converted another one from Njoroge’s infringement. The injured Njoroge was still sin-binned for his attempted tackling of a man in the air.
Kubu would strike on the short side twice to land two tries as Ntabeni converted to give Kabras a 20-0 lead. Then Anguko twisted his leg as play was halted for one and a half hours.
KCB winger Jacob Ojee scored at the corner flag but Mukidza, who missed to convert, romped back with a penalty to see KCB trail 20-8 early in the second half, now played with the sky clear.
KCB loose forward Andrew Amonde was sin-binned and Kabras took advantage, Valerian Tendwa chasing and grounding a chip to extend Kabras’ lead to 25-8. As Amonde returned, Mukidza was sent to the sin-bin.
But KCB simply increased the pressure on the designated home side to salvage the game inside the last nine minutes.
First, Amonde landed to bring the score to 25-18 before Vincent Onyala’s last minute converted try that levelled the scores at 25-25, to force the cruel sudden death play.
KCB Rugby skipper Darwin Mukidza described it as the greatest feeling ever as his Kabras counterpart regretted the long break and misses opportunities.
"This is the best game I have ever had in my career," said an emotional Mukidza, adding that they started slow in the first half by giving their opponents leeway into their territory.
Mukidza said he has never been under so much pressure taking the winning penalty.
"The posts looked far than unusual yet they were less than 30m away," said Mukidza. "I just focused on the fundamentals of kicking and that was it."
Mukidza said the organisers should have done better to provide basic things like well quipped ambulances and ablutions.
"The over one-hour break ruined our momentum. We were on upward trajectory," said Kabras skipper Dan Sikuta, explaining that KCB Rugby cashed on the break and their experience to rally back strong.
"We lost concentration especially in the last 10 minutes to allow them to comeback. They knew what the break meant and tough luck for us and well done KCB,” said Sikuta.