After two months of blowing hot and cold March was here and the first trip out of town came calling. The initials of OOT on the sleeve of the Parklands are not for beatification but for the away games we desire. Having whitewashed a uniform less team 7-2 the team needed to receive a challenge. March also marks two crucial derby games that PSC cannot afford to lose. Ahead of crutch tie against seniors beckons in their refurbished MOW grounds with the previous two results having gone in PSC favor. They have been craving revenge and we cannot afford the luxury to give them. The match against Railway Wanderers is a derby like no other, as we face former PSC members and look to prove that we have grown beyond. What better way to prepare for the fixtures than a trip away from the capital to face off to new rivals and to make new friends. We always say that many are called but only a few are chosen, however for this trip despite the great number of players coach Waire found himself with a thin team with a majority of his trusted generals missing. Dependable defender Steve was unable to have his visa approved for the trip, while in-form Zlatan had picked a knock on his knee, he attended though as a fan and between the knee injury and masked bottle he carried, he could not walk in a straight line. Johnny Mutembezi was held up with his forthcoming exams and as more players pledged their unavailability Waire was facing a sleepless night to come up with a squad for the trip. However, things took a drastic turn with Bassanga and first-choice goalkeeper Babu going AWOL. It worsened some more when mechanical issues denied Droopy a comeback after his injury recovery and robbed Erico a place in the team. With Droopy and Erico unable to arrive in Embu the coach had 12 players only to count on; Gritty defender Gitau Gitau, defender wa kupanda na kubaki Kamdam, marathon runner Lameshi Safaris, yellow card bound Mitch, MVP Chubar, Dele “talent” Mutua, Tipsy Tiger, Captain Collinso, Sisco wa macuzo, super-sub Doobiz, non-stop runner Rasco, and Nigeria’s youngest talent Ogochee. No all-out goalkeeper and one substitute. Ogochee who can play all positions on the pitch including the coach’s position started in goal, Lameshi, Mitch, Kamdam, and Gitau in defense, Mutua as the holding, Chubar as the box to box, and Collinso as the number 10. The wings were flanked with the left footers Rasco and Tiger while super striker Sisco led the line. With the sun at its zenith and temperatures averaging higher than the Kalahari, the game kicked off with PSC controlling the play with its free-flowing passes. Sisco and Tiger were combining well with their one-two pass with Collinso joining in as we created our first clear-cut chances. Lameshi was feeling adventurous in the game and his interplay with Rasco as they switched their overlap was creating a significant threat on the left. However, the striking team had conspired to leave their shooting boots at home as chance after chance went begging. First Sisco rounded up two defenders and with only the goalkeeper to beat and an option to square it to Collinso chose power over precision stinging the goalkeeper with a rocket. The goalkeeper parried it back to the field of play Collinso was awarded enough time to pick his shot, but alas he choose to shoot it towards Mount Kenya, and trust me a little more effort and we would be on the news for the first football shot to Lenana peak. Next came Rasco with a chance only for him to shoot wide, Lameshi got offered a similar opportunity but his efforts were nothing to write home about. Sisco came closest from a well-taken corner from Lameshi but his headed effort was saved. And as striking force failed in their quest to get a goal, Inter Dunga FC got a golden opportunity. Ogochee receiving the ball from Gitau, turned for some options but Mitch was unavailable hence choosing to go for the more dangerous option of Kamdam in the middle, Kamdam attempted a Zidane turn but the mind was willing but the body wasn’t. he was easily robbed with the Inter Dunga striker with only the goalkeeper to beat, Kamdam did what any defender could do, wrestle him to the ground and dare the referee to give a penalty. The referee with no options took the dare and blew for the penalty. A zero-sum game for Kamdam, if the penalty is scored he becomes a villain if it is saved he becomes a hero. The opposing goalkeeper matched from his post to take it as his teammates walked back in confidence to the halfway line for the restart. The penalty taker went for a low hard shot to the right of the keeper with Ogochee only seeing the ball in waves, however, it was not the back of the net where the ball landed but the side post ricocheting back into the field of play. We had almost been made to pay for the missed chances. However, the next chance for Inter Dunga did not come from a mistake but a well-taken volley from the middle of the pitch that found Ogochee in no man’s land lopping over him, only to hit the crossbar and allow him to catch it. Collinso, Rasco, Tiger, Lameshi, and Sisco had goal-bound shots saved by the opposing stopper before Kamdam pulled off a goal line clearance after a well-taken corner, only for the referee to deny him glory blowing for a foul and finalizing the half. Second half Doobiz came in for Collinso with Sisco dropping in the midfield. The impact was immediate with Doobiz well-aimed chip finding Sisco with only the goalkeeper to beat but his low shot could only hit the goalkeeper. It was Chubar’s turn to provide a defense-splitting pass to Doobiz who with the goalkeeper to beat shot well high above the post. The midfield of Chubar and Mutua was now working in tandem dominating possessions and switching play at will. A workhorse Sisco was creating space for Doobiz with the wings opening up for crosses. Tony’s cross was met by Sisco but the tame header was saved. Mutua again proved his creativity lofting the ball over the defense for Doobiz but his ndole went sky high. Next on the plate was Sisco set up by Chubar with only the keeper to beat, he went for the outer space beat the keeper but got denied by the side post. It was Rasco who had the ball in the net after a collision between the keeper and the defender but the referee deemed that a foul had been committed. Ogochee then had to make a remarkable near-post save after a rugby player took a goal-bound shot. However, the defense was proving impenetrable after the break, Gitau covering excellently for Lameshi who was joining in attacks, Kamdam and Mitch making crucial boxes to deny any scoring opportunity. With the game up for grabs, Rasco curved the ball beating the keeping only for it to hit the post. That marked the end of his in-field contribution as he was switched for Ogochee in goal. The attacks continued with the cheering team which not only consisted of cuzos but also Embu fans who had fallen in love with the way of play of PSC OOT. But as the game dragged on with many caresses with no penetration it became clear that this was going to be a massage with no happy ending. The referee had enough of the action on the sunny cloudless sky and the two teams settled on a draw and a first clean sheet of the season. A great game, impressive link up play between Rasco and Lam, great leadership from captain Collinso, good midfield play from Mutua and Chubar who played deeper than usual but managed to control play, a solid defensive performance, great effort from Sisco ran throughout the game, a tireless run by Tiger. Ogochee and Rasco performed well in goal as also on the field of play. Impactful sub Doobiz. Grateful for all the people who made it to the game at Embu National Stadium; the big five Pherroh and Davie davie, the cuzos who cheered us thoroughly, the cartel who sponsored lunch, and the massive people who volunteered their cars to transport teammates. It was a game well played and significantly enjoyed by all and sundry and from the writing desk, we hope that it will be the first of many games to come.