Kenya Harlequin head coach Paul ‘Pau’ Murunga has termed his first season at the Ngong Road-based side a success, despite their 22-8 Kenya Cup semi final loss at Kabras over the weekend.
The tactician who guided the side to an eight-game winning run after a shaky start to the season where they suffered three consecutive losses, lauded his charges for showing commitment throughout the season, which saw them bounce back from the opening three defeats, to finish fourth in the log.
“Coming into this season, we started a bit shaky but regained focus and won eight straight games and making it into the semi final. That attributes to the hard work of the team on and off the field,” he said
“Last year the team was almost relegated, and this season getting this far for me being my first season here is a great achievement. We can always build from here and make sure we get into the finals and hopefully win the cup. We go back and rebuild and make sure come next season we will battle for the trophy,” he said.
Quins who last sailed past the Kenya Cup semi final back in 2012, have played in four semi finals since 2014 without success.
On this, the tactician said he was satisfied with his youngsters display in his first season incharge, saying if they work hard, they will be able to bridge the gap between them and semi finals regulars Kabras RFC and KCB.
“It’s a different team and what I like most is we have young players in the squad, so basically they have time to work hard and ensure we cross the semi final bridge next season,” he said.
A dominant first half display by Quins in the semi final clash against Kabras saw them take an early lead through a penalty by Ayah, but the lead was cut short after Kabras rallied to score 22 unanswered points. It was Quins however who had the last say of the game, Dominic Osino scoring their only try of the game.
Commenting on the loss, Pau said “the game was basically tough. Getting into the semi final after eight straight wins wasn’t easy. The boys have been working hard and by the time we were getting into the semi final, most of them were already injured. The first two minutes saw us lose our prop and scrum half to injuries and that destabilized us.”