A friendly of on and off, that had been planned for the past one year. The delta variant came and went, we welcomed Omicron but the planning continued. Finally, the masks were off and the friendly came to fruition. City Rangers Vs. PSC OOT, mabarbie wamekaribishwa ghetto. A good game is always on the cards when you have an interesting Nation Wide League match between Kibra Black Stars and Mara Sugar curtain-raising for you. Punctuality was the name of the game as both sets of players arrived on time just before kickoff. Hongera to both teams. City Rangers in White and PSC OOT in blue took to warming up and feeling the pitch. Coach Waire had already provided his lineup early in the day with Babu in goal, Dele Mutua, Izzoh, and Gitau remaining unchanged at the back. An addition of Rasco in place of Lam at the back for the natural left-footer. Steve and Makelele were paired in the midfield joined by Senji Dr. to assist in attack. The effective attacking threat of Ogochee, Sisqo, and Tiger remained unchanged. The coach had decided to remain with a majority of the Railway Wanderers heroes with replacements for missing players Karani and Lam. Parklands were buoyed by the previous positive results going into the much and may have been guilty of a little overconfidence. Izzoh dribbling into the middle of the pitch early into the game lost the ball and with Rasco, in no man’s land, a quick counter by City Rangers had the ball in the back of the net even before the substitutes had got to the bench. Parklands responded best how they know, by upping the tempo of the game as they launched attack after attack with Tony and Ogochee their main outlet. However, City Rangers were demonstrating great experience in containing the pressure while also demonstrating their skills. It was quite clear that they had better knowledge of playing in the artificial pitch and while Parklands chose a fast-paced break relying on getting the ball to sharpshooter Sisco, City Rangers build their ball with passes and seemed to be at par with Parklands. City Rangers were finding gaps in Parklands who were taking more risks with their fullbacks getting into attack. Parklands were getting the chances but their final through ball was lacking with their forwards failing to create clear-cut chances. Rasco was not having the best of days, as he was being run on the left wing with City Rangers using their pacey winger to try to create chances. With Mutua also joining in the attack the system looked to have broken down to a three-four-three formation with Steve dropping at the back to assist the two center backs who were always stepping out of their territory in support of their fullbacks. With Tiger abandoning his defensive duties it was up to Dele Mutua to remind him but Tiger was in no mood to listen to the Queen’s English instead choosing to go the Lawyer route employing an Orengo lecture on Mutua who became even more irritated. However, Tiger's attacking adventures paid off absolving him of his defensive abandonment issues as Sisco played him a sublime through ball that bet City Rangers offside trap. Tiger had all the time in the world to select his spot and score the equalizer shifting the momentum to Parklands. Makelele was finding great spaces running and joining in attack while Senji Dr. dropped deeper to his preferred eight positions allowing him to dictate play with his passes. Switching of the wings between Tiger and Ogochee allowed Ogochee to get into the game as their formed a devastating team with Rasco and Senji on the left regularly incorporating Sisco to join the party. By this time City Rangers were starting to feel the heat yet Parklands was starting to warm up. The age gap was finally starting to show, as, despite both teams possessing similar skills, City Rangers could not maintain the intensity. Mutua’s overlapping run ended with a beautiful cross that had Ogochee making a stunning diving header for the cameras. However, his effort was accidentally blocked by Sisco allowing the goalkeeper to clear it but only as far as Makelele. Makelele fed Tiger whose cross for the second time was answered by the head of Sisco who made no mistake from six yards. Parklands had the lead and had taken the game by the scruffs. The Nairobi heat was subsiding and the sun starting to set hence the referee allowed the players to go in for halftime to resume and the floodlights. Coach Waire went for quick substitutes introducing fringe players Jonathan and Soita for Tiger and Ogochee a move that looked to inject pace into the team. Both players have been starving for minutes and needing to boost their confidence as part of the team and what better avenue than this. Parklands last year MVP Chubar who had missed the last two games from injuries was also introduced from the bench to bring attacking tenacity into the game. It did not take long to see the effectiveness of the substitution as the match become one-sided with Parklands raiding City Rangers like the Vikings on England farmers. Chubar and Sisco a more deadly combination than Son and Kane was causing havoc to City Rangers with Chubar finding Sisco at the edge of the box. The burly striker bulldozed his way into the box fighting the central defender who had decided to abandon football and employ his inner Ray Mysterio spirit by cradling on Sisco like a baby. Sisco had the ball in the net, but the referee called back the ball for the foul as he did not allow Wrestling on the field of play. Up stepped Chubar to take it from the spot, short hard to the left “kimo cha mbuzi” the goalkeeper could only look mesmerized by the goal. Rasco was having a much better afternoon combining with Jonathan as his best-attacking display was being shown. A quick one-two with Jonathan then releasing Sisco wide who had one man to beat by the corner flag. A feign to the left and a drive to the right and finished with a drilled shot to the near post. It was a starless night but that is the only thing the goalkeeper saw as Sisco extended the lead and his goal tally. 4-1. Even though Coach Waire does not attend church, he is a merciful person, deciding to withdraw Sisco immediately to avoid further embracement to the host as we still needed them for the return leg. In came Doobiz looking to exorcise his demons in front of the post and Zlatan returning from his injury. Masoni was also thrown into the battle to test his match fitness after being out throughout the season with injuries too enigmatic for the paper to describe. Zlatan and Masoni formed the base pairing in the midfield with Chubar just ahead of being the puppet master pulling the strings in an already effective machine. Either the subs had been inhaling substances that were being smoked around the grounds indirectly as they sat down on the bench or they were fighting to break into the starting lineup of next week as they stepped up momentum on the pitch. City Rangers had the floodlights on but they were still looking for the ball like a needle in a haystack. Doobiz demonstrating aggression that he had been taught by Lam earned him an unnecessary yellow card but at least it gave him stats. But for the job of scoring that he had been brought to do, it was a night to forget. Two times he only had the keeper to beat and twice he failed terribly. Another opportunity he thought he had the ball back in the net turning away in celebration but the ball was on the meshes of the pitch exterior and not the net. O the bench it was like the five stages of grief; first despair at the missed chances, then coming to terms with what has been the trend over the past month, and finally, humor as each miss was turned into a drinking game with shots taken for each miss. Coach Waire was overwhelmed with remorse but even him there was nothing he could do. He looked to the bench and only veteran Conte, Mitch the scribe, and Reno whose match reminder goes to the cloud making him forget that he needs to confirm for match days. (PS. Ogochee kuna kandarasi hapa ya android smartphone). Doobiz misses were at least lathered by the deadly attacking Soita and Jonathan. Jonathan fell a victim to choosing to cut in rather than employing Lam’s trademark ndole, however in the second time of asking he was found in the middle of the pack by Zlatan’s Pirlo inspired over the top of the defense through ball - L1 + ?. The Congolese masterful control left no doubt that he is from Lumbabashi home of TP Mazembe and his thunderbolt to the back of the net was just the icing on the cake. 5-1. There was still time for City Rangers to provide the miss of the game with their striker through on goal choosing power over precision and over the bar the ball went. This miss was immediately punished as a sweeping counter-attacking move ended with Jonathan turning to provide cutting back for Soita who recorded his first goal of the season. 6-1. Every cloud has a silver ling and it was befitting that City Rangers as the host closed the scoring as they started it with their chairman showing he still had his shooting boots to provide consolation. “kitoa machozi” we call it and 6-2 is how the encounter finish. An interesting encounter that become one-sided in the second half after PSC stepped up, and their substitutes proved more effective than the home team to carry the day. A welcoming encounter from the host, a game of respect and well played. We finish March having played all the games away winning two drawing one and losing one. In April we welcome the doctors, will it be a second vaccination for PSC or will PSC exercise the demons of the first game of the season and create a pandemic for the doctors. 1. Babu 7/10. Good saves and unlucky to concede the second goal that looked like going out. He commanded his defense well. 2. Mutua 8/10 Perhaps the best game I have watched him play. Brilliant going forward, interchanging well with his wingers throughout the game and with beautiful crosses. 3. Rasco 7/10. Just like Mutua, he provides a lot of widths and he enjoyed supporting the attack. 4. Izzo. 5/10. After a brilliant match last week and MotM this was a bad day in the office. Got a bit wanting on the first goal and a couple of moments but he would recover in time. 5. Gitau. 8.5/10 Very solid performance despite facing very physical opponents. He took on more responsibility in the second half after visitors tired and broke through the middle to join the attack. 6. Steve. 7.5/10. Reliable as usual and got on with the business of the day without too much hustle. Be could play short with other midfielders as well as ping in long balls. He dropped seamlessly in defense in the second half and continued with his reliable performance. 7. Tiger. 7/10 A great goal and he always looked like he will score a second one. Good runs and switched wings with Onesy with good effect. Mutua would be seen requesting him to support in tracking back n support defense like onesy. 8. Bena 6/10 was Not his best outing and he would occasionally be found loose on the ball. He however was a bit adventurous going forward. 9. Sisqo. 9/10. Continued with his brilliant form in front of goal and with a more supportive n creative midfield, you can be guaranteed a goal. He deserves MoTM. 10. Dr. Senji. 9/10 the lanky midfield was entrusted with the creative role and he delivered brilliantly. He made it look so simple yet very effective and rarely lost the ball or his marker 11. Onesmus. 7/10 He would fall back to support the defense and interlink well with both Mutua and Rasco when he changed wings. A victim of sometimes holding on too much. Subs Jonathan 8/10 full of tricks and energy and his interplay with Mutua was spot on. Soita 8/10 Brilliant play on the other side of the field and like Jonathan he interchanged well with Rasco. Took his goal with calmness after a beautiful cross from Jona Chubba 8/10 one of the most creative player and he would link with the rest of the players with ease. He has a calmness around his game Dubbiz. 5/10. He missed easy chances but made up by trying to recover and harassing defenders Mwai 6/10 Never got his foot wrong despite his obvious luck of fitness. His presence allowed Steve and Gitau to ventured forward calmly knowing the backline was protected. Masoni 7/10 Introduced when the ship was cruising, formed a good base partnership with Mwai you could not tell that is not his natural position was neat and tidy linking play with the center back. Didn't make a foot wrong. Just enough cameo to show cuzo what he is made off.