KRU Championship captains speak ahead of 2023/24 season

Action between South Coast Pirates and Mombasa. Photo Courtesy/Scrummage
Action between South Coast Pirates and Mombasa. Photo Courtesy/Scrummage

The highly anticipated KRU Championship season is set to kick off on Saturday, December 2, 2023, featuring 11 teams vying for the coveted top two slots that guarantee promotion to the prestigious Kenya Cup in the following season.

This season promises to be fiercely competitive, with notable teams such as Mean Machine, MMUST, Western Bulls, and Mombasa having successfully navigated the promotion path in the past, earning qualification to the Kenya Cup.

KRU Championship battle 

South Coast Pirates, USIU, and Daystar have previously come close to promotion, while Impala will be determined to make a triumphant return to the top tier.

MMUST in a past action. Photo Courtesy/

MMUST in a past action. Photo Courtesy/

The league will adopt a one-off format, with 11 teams engaging in intense competition over 11 matchdays before progressing to an exciting knockout stage.

The reintroduction of playoffs adds an extra layer of competitiveness, as teams finishing between third and sixth will battle for a spot in the semifinals. The top two teams from the regular season will secure direct qualification to the semis.

In anticipation of the upcoming season, Scrummage Africa had the opportunity to catch up with some of the team captains. The captains shared insights into their preparations and set ambitious targets for the season:

Mean Machine captain Victor Mwangi:

Not playing in the sevens circuit was a major setback but we’re still confident that thus far our preseason preparations have been fruitful. We have a lot of lessons from last season that will be vital going forward. We’ve been working hard and we’re very positive about the coming season.

Our core aim for the season is to go back to the Kenya Cup. All our preparations were aimed at ensuring we go back to the top-flight league as a competitive side. Aside from that, we hope to have at least 6 players playing for the national sides ( Shujaa, Simbas & chipu).
As individual players, we also have our personal targets that we hope to achieve this season

Our assurance to everyone who believes in us is bringing back the pride of Mean Machine. As a team, we are very aware of the huge following we have and that always pushes us to go forward.

South Pirates captain Charles Okwemba:

Our pre-season was good because we had several friendly games out of three we won two which means we are not bad towards the new season.

The upcoming season is do or die for us to be promoted to the Kenya Cup thus we have to finish in the top two, to get a home semifinal for the second time.  We have to take each game as a final, second we need to stick to our game plan.

Our message to the fans is they should be there to support us and am sure the road to the Kenya Cup will be easy for the team if they back us up.  Lastly, I have faith that the South Coast Pirates to Kenya Cup will come true.


Mombasa captain Newton Malenya

We have had a nine-week pre-season which has been perfect. We understand that it’s now a different level from where we have been playing the last two seasons and we have made necessary adjustments to make us competitive at this level.

We have played two pre-season friendlies against the two-time semi-finalists SC Pirates in which we won one. This gives us a glimpse of what is ahead.

Mombasa rugby has a great history, we have been part of the Kenya Cup a couple of times. Now that we are in the second tier, we want to use it as a stepping stone to go back to where we belong. As a team, we are working very hard and hopefully, we will get there.

KRU Champions return for MMUST

MMUST Co-captain Veron Kaburu: 

We have trained well during the preseason. Putting in the hard work with the aim of being ready for the championship. I know we are ready and we’ll work extremely hard to go back to Kenya Cup.

The Victoria 15s was important to us because during the tournament we tried out our structures. We were able to know what to work on and what to polish.It was also important for the young boys to win as it helped build back the winning mentality

To our fans, I want to promise them good rugby and we ask them to show up in numbers to cheer the team as we start the season this Saturday.

MMUST co-captain Collins Ngoko

The team has been working all around to see that we get back to Kenya Cup.  The boys are ready for the championship league. We’ve been working to perfect our setpieces and our game structure.

It will be tough because every team is eyeing the promotion but we are up to task. We had a good pre-season as we participated in the Lake Victoria 15s tournament and having won all our matches was a good thing as we gauged our position on how well we were prepared.

It also built our confidence as players and coaches. To the fans, I ask you to come out in large numbers and support the boys as we fight to return to the top-tier league.

Western Bulls Captain- Erastus Wanyama

We’ve had challenges since last season, the main one being finances. It’s still the biggest challenge until now. We have had training mostly with players within town. Key players who reside outside of town have also been able to at least feature in sessions once or twice a week depending on the situation.

All I can say, is every player who steps their foot on that pitch is dedicated and is always ready to put in the shift regardless of the challenges the club is facing. We want to call upon rugby enthusiasts who are willing to support us in regaining the state Bulls had a few seasons back to come on board.

UoE Trojans captain Austine Wekesa :

The boys are very prepared to start off the session on a high tempo. We have so far played a couple of matches including winning the Varsity League opening match and corrected some of our minor mistakes.

We hope for the best as we kick off this weekend against Kabarak University. Our targets are playing in the playoffs #WE ARE TROJANS.

Daystar Falcons captain -Augustine Owino: 

Last season was fairly a good run for Falcons but that is all in the past now. We are starting from scratch and preparing for the toughest season we have had so far.

We feel well prepared with just a few days to kick off the season and we are targeting to settle for the championship trophy as we believe we have what it takes.

Daystar Falcons go for a try. Photo/Scrummage

Daystar Falcons go for a try. Photo/Scrummage

Kabarak captain -Griffin Hongo

For this 15s season, it can only get better. We shall put up a fight like never before.

We’ve had a really good preparation during the off-season with immense support from our institution. We’ve deeply reflected on last season, having been part of the play of bracket for most of the season and missing the slot during the closing hours.

As they say “once bitten twice shy”, we have strengthened our strongholds and corrected the weaknesses we had. Therefore everyone should expect a more competitive and aggressive performance from us.

This season the syncerus caffers are eyeing for a promotion to the Kenya Cup as our ultimate goal. That being said see you at the playoffs.

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