The Bible says that “many are called but few are chosen” and this held as coach Nicko started to read his lineup. 21 confirmations but there are only a slot for 11 players to start in the derby, even though the true derby lay a few pitches away as Railway Wanderers, Parklands long age rivals played an internal derby, but that’s a match for another day. The Seniors game was meant to serve as a pre-match preparation for Kabarak University that had run rings around the team. Graced with cheering from some of the big five in Lameck and Davie Davie, Parkland legendary left-footer Conte, Maich, and evergreen Buffon who ages closer to retirement by day the PSC OOT was in high spirits.
“Kama kawa kama Dawa” Babu started in goal, Buffon had admitted that the game was too difficult for him which translated to “Okanyal” simply “Siwezani” highlighting that finally, he has come to terms that age is not only but a number but a sign of retirement. Whether he hangs his gloves or not we shall wait and see, like a Phoenix we have seen him rise before when we thought he was dead and buried but while he can dislodge “El Magneto Babu”. Droopy probably the first name on the coaches list continued to make the right fullback position his own. Having been one of the most consistent players over the past month not only in practice but also during match day. Ogochee a victim of his talents was tasked with the left-back position and with the coach deploying further away from the striking or winger role, he may soon find himself donning the gloves and challenging Babu at the back. Steve after a week’s holiday in Malibu returned to the heart of the defense but there was no place for Kamdam to partner him. Instead, Bassanga stepped in as the stopper to help control things from deep. Specialized in breaking bones in the theatre, on the dance flow, and also on the field of play Senji Dr. started in his preferred central midfield role. Zlatan got his reward from a consistent performance to partner the doctor while Parklands finest talent was tasked with linking the midfield and attack. Bill was tasked to continue his three-game scoring streak in one wing while Mark was a surprise inclusion on the right. Top of the scoring charts, Sisco was allowed to continue his exploits in front of goal.
The first chance almost fell immediately as Mark ran rings around his defender to set up Sisco but the strikers finish let him down. It soon became apparent that the wings held the key as Mark and Bill offered the most significant chances and opportunities in the game. It was no surprise when they combined for the first goal, Mark leaving his defender to the dust squaring the ball for Bill for the easiest of tap-ins. Almost immediately Mark copy-pasted the same move this time the ball to Sisco who skewed the ball wide. A foul on Johnny resulted in a free kick about 25 yards and Senji Dr. bent it like Beckham to the back of the net. Johnny then released Mark with only the keeper to beat only for him to shoot wide. Another chance came begging this time Sisco was the culprit with only the keeper to beat but his shooting failed. Seniors on their side won a free-kick, and the resulting take was calmly received by Babu. A swift counterattack followed with Johnny finding himself with the goalkeeper, feigning a delay he allowed a defender to press him, dinked the ball over him, and connected a volley but the keeper was close enough to parry it. However, there was no denying a second 1-2 combination of Mark and Bill as Bill recorded his second of the day. As more chances went begging Seniors introduced tricky winger Kinuthia to help bring in some goals. However, no sooner had he touched the ball than Ogochee welcomed him to the game with a much warning tackle.
As PSC OOT continued to squander chance after chance, Kinuthia beat the offside trap and his volley was saved by Babu, with no defender in sight Kinuthia looked to take a second bite of the cherry but Babu’s mistimed kick took him out. A yellow card for Babu and a penalty for Seniors. Babu dived the right way but the low hard hit penalty was too was not requesting to be saved. 3-1 game on. Seniors continued to press, PSC OOT midfield going missing, and the strikers being guilty of missing chances. Ogochee forward runs went unnoticed on the wings as the team appeared to slow down its gears. A miscue tackle from Steve gifted Seniors an opportunity with Bassanga just doing enough to cover his defense partner, luckily a cut back to opposing striker Kinuthia was kicked into the KCB rugby field with the player only having the net. Seniors picked momentum and another marauding run from Kinuthia had Steve throwing in the towel; his football brain was Stima Sports Club but his body was still chilled in Malibu. Kamdam who had foreseen the event had already been engaging in energy replenishing activities in form of devouring Chips and Chicken. They say the soul resides in the stomach and Kamdam’s football soul was in the right place as he smoothly saw off the remainder of the first half.
It was clear that the game should have been at least 6-1 up by the time the whistle went and the animated debate from the players indicated the frustration. Droopy frustrated by the strikers immediately demanded a commission of inquiry and audit of the midfielders and strikers. Coach Nicko had few happy words for the bench as he ordered thorough warm-ups for the substitutes. The press unavailable for the halftime talk can only describe it as hot and heavy; words were exchanged, blamed pelted out, and faces developed wrinkles with anger. In matched Mitch, Waire to help solidify the defense. Dubiz who has been enjoying a great game of late came in for misfiring Sisco, while Karani and Ras came in for Bill and Mark. Senji Dr. was deployed at the back as Bassanga looked to stabilize the midfield. Seniors with the moment were being contained as the subs looked to put a foot into the game. Mutua came in for Zlatan and Ericko for Senji Dr.
The changes seemed to have worked as Waire contained Kinuthia down the right and the midfield came into the game. Dubiz at his best-received a great ball from Karani turned to beat his marker and drove into the box. The defender with no options chopped him down allowing for a penalty of which Bassanga stepped up to take. Bassanga stepped up to take it. Breathe in, breathe out Bassanga with a hard shot right in the middle. The goalkeeper dived to the right but his trailing leg nicked the ball which instead deflected on the cross back and back to Bassanga. He took a breather, watched the keeper, leaned back and set his body, and achieved what Collins Injera would deem perfection. Converting the ball at 150 miles an hour a speed that only a bazooka is known to accomplish. Luckily the pitch was far away from The Moi Airbase or he would have brought an airplane down resulting in another Alshabab fiasco, instead, Conte had to send a few local boys in search of the ball in the nearing Mathare slums. Buoyed by the missed penalty Seniors came back roaring Kinuthia first to receive the ball and squaring it in for the simplest finish. 3-2. Another mistake from Mitch resulted in Lenny being isolated by a pound-for-pound opponent and Mayweather wrestled him to the ground resulting in a free-kick. The resulting free-kick saw a bullet header to the back of the post. 3-3 comeback complete. The game intensity picked as PSC OOT faced the continuous problem of holding the ball too much resulting in high turnover.
Bassanga at the back made amends with his recoveries and tried to start attacks from the back a move that benefitted Mutua and Johnny in midfield. As the defense stabilized under Kamdam and Bassanga, Mutua also took center stage as the deep-lying midfielder showing his creativity in switching play. Kamdam receiving the Ball from Babu provided a deep cross for Dubiz whose one-touch released Rasco on the wing. Rasco did what he does best run the defense and provide a great cross, this time missed by all but fell into the oncoming run of Johnny. The first touch to control the ball, a second touch to leave the opponent in a heap, and a third for the ball to kiss the top bar and into the net. 4-3. Seniors however had other ideas as the restart saw a wild effort from midfield tipped over the bar by Babu in what would have been a definite goal. Bassanga proving effective again took charge receiving the ball from Babu and made it easy for Mutua whose perfect first touch allowed him to control turn and provide an eagle eye assist as he pulled off a Moses parting the sea of Seniors players and playing Johnny who had only the keeper to beat. No mistake from the man of the match as he had it in the back of the net. Seniors frustration continued to boil over as the uphill task of recovery continued. Waire with a late tackle received his third yellow card in three matches setting him to the top of the disciplinary chats as Seniors players decided to be babies and throw tantrums. A late foul by Karani saw the tiring Seniors go berserk ending the match with 3 minutes of play left.
Johhny stepping up in the absence of Chubar to provide a win and PSC OOT is guilty of making the game more difficult than it should have been. Bill and Mark ran the show in the first half with the wings again proving as the best outlets. The game should have been 5-0 within the first 20 minutes with many chances going begging. The team was guilty of downplaying the opponents and may be accused of not showing enough respect or just being casual. The key strikers have again failed to score a goal in a second match running a concern that the coaches may look to address. Sisco is slightly out of form and Dubiz who despite providing strong performances over the months has been unable to apply the finishing touches. Another rising problem is the midfield inability to control play which has resulted in a lack of fluidity in the game. The problem stemming from holding the ball too much and that has resulted in high turnover. This is evident by the strikers’ lack of clear-cut opportunities and wingers’ lack of enough balls. With the coaches looking to instill a three-touch discipline to increase ball movements there may be the hope of a positive outcome. Clean sheets continue to be an Easter egg as the team again allowed three goals to be shipped in. In all the team has greatly improved and can confidently play at the highest level however, there is a need to limit the many mistakes that have proved to be our undoing. Next up is Kabarak University “Jogoo wa Shambani hawezi wika mjini”