With Parklands still getting looking to brush off Christmas fat the third match of the season offered a chance to test their progress. On a super weekend where Chelsea squared with Liverpool while Arsenal welcomed the incessantly noisy Kiburi FC Parklands welcomed a most discipline USIU staff to their hallowed grounds. Things seemed amiss immediately as there was no referee in sight while the Parklands goalkeeper was also nowhere to be seen. Of course, the ever-talented Nigerian Ogochee was at hand to be the referee on another day he would easily have donned the goalkeeping jersey and stepped into the goalkeeping department but an injury in the last game where he fractured his forearm would keep him out for two months. The injury couldn’t have come at a worse time albeit a blessing in disguise. A big congratulations to Onesmus Ogochee Murkomen for bringing a son into the world we are sure we will definitely be seeing him gracing the pitch soon. With his right hand in plaster, your guess is as good as mine that the left hand will have to learn how to kill a monkey. On the positive, there will be no diaper change for this warrior (well-played Ones). Wakili Ten Hag was left scratching his head over whom to place in the post and after much deliberation, he decided to go the 90s style “the fattest kid gets to go in the post” and Zlatan passed the test with higher grades than the Kisii schools. With an unfamiliar goalkeeper, the defense had one key task to prevent shots on goal but with the ever-dependable, Droopy, evergreen Kamdam, Captain Intelligence, and ball-playing defender Delle Mutua everything was well. Joel Mayele continued to be tested in big games starting as a CDM and as his younger brother game confidence seemed to be evading him, but if he is anything like Jonathan who started slow but when he got going he was unstoppable until he met Nairobi’s big nyash women – something must kill a man. He was partnered with top talent Johnny Walker who has been a man on form. And the man who did the impossible displaced Droopy and Mutua to be the most light skin player in the team, the man who confuses defenders with his reflection and deft touch, Mr Link up play, Double H was deployed in that 10 positions. He was flanked with runners on wings with Erico who started the year by visiting the barber shop instead of a saloon spotting a clean shaved look. (Ruto we need a quick solution to M23, washafika Kikuyu kufungua kinyozi) ER7 will be looking to chase the assist record against the top assist marker last season Tony Tiger who began the year like it did not stop already leading the scoring charts. No new uniform and no new boots for Tony Tiger as he started on the wing. Top Striker Doobiz looked to partner Double H upfront one of the greatest mismatches in PSC history. A control magnet and a striker who can’t run and think at the same time but is lethal in the six-yard box. Ten Hag Waire might have been hoping Doobiz face to face watching of Nketiah must have provided him with the poacher’s instinct that has been missing in his game. Anyway, water is wet and Parklands rarely send the crosses into the box.
The frailties of the goalkeeper were at hand to be seen, with Kamdam a bit too trusting of the keeper with a back pass that the goalkeeper was not psychologically prepared for. It was one of the cases where the body was willing but the mind was not. Zlatan galloped towards the ball and unleashed an untrusting clearance with his left foot safely into the midfield but it was returned in kind into the back of the net. 1-0 to the visitors. The two-touch football of USIU was proving threatening for Parklands who looked uneasy every time they were on the ball with the midfield unable to string passes to get together. It would have required something special to get Parkland’s confidence back and into the game. “Say no more,” said Delle Mutua, overlapping on the left wing, Joel Mayele set him up with Mutua having a defender to beat, but such talent does not require hard work. One of the best crossers in the team, Mutua didn’t need this asset, they may call him Mkamba but hizo zigwembe ni za mluhya zingekua black kiasi hakungekua na doubts. An early contender for goal of the season, the Kamba from Kangundo swung a stunner with his left foot a remembrance to Giovanni Van Bronckhorst over the keeper and into the back of the net. Even the fans of Lilac forgot that two small teams were on their screen and turned to cheer the goal. A few glasses were broken, more money for lilac. Breathless was the state of the bench. However, it was Zlatan stealing the thunder at the post proving indeed that his talents are not limited to only scoring as he stepped up making dives on the post to dent USIU chances including a two-on-one situation. With zero experience at the post, no gloves, and only sheer grit he was already the best keeper of the season. In what was turning out to be a bad week for Parklands internationals Joel Mayele followed his fellow brother into the treatment table with a groin injury (I will again repeat this to the foreigners do not employ frog style on this big nyash women, stick to haram styles). In came Captain Fantastic Collinso bringing experience to the center of the pack. With USIU using pace to their advantage it was a case of bibi kufunika aibu ya bwana as for once it was Droopy bailing out Kamdam when the dependable defender was beaten. Fast and sweet was the name of the game as the half came to an end.
The second half picked up where the first started, with Sisco being sent in for Doobiz and Waire for Erico 7. Captain intelligence was keeping things neat at the back and Droopy was stable, Kamdam was effective and Waire was sweeping it clean. Masoni was thrown in and we know what to expect when Masoni has his wife around, ataanguka mara mingi kuliko Lam akivaa boots. The theory maybe is that he wants to justify his consistent dirty playing kits. There was time for Hamuli to make a cameo but his injury was still way too significant to allow him to play. The sun was heating up and the game was tough with a particular Sudanese substitute proving too hard to contain. Kamdam called in a day and Drury was substituted in. Just one-word “sirahisi” as Drury was put to task to test the big shoes of the big man. It was pure suffering in the middle of the pack as the battles came in quickly and difficult but why worry when Munyaks is by your side? As Parklands pressed forward Tiger combined with Sisco to put Parklands ahead, a Westside connection that was the singsong of last season. The duo picked up where they left off like a cheating couple on campus. USIU was unrelenting launching attack after attack, with Drury quickly finding himself in the referee’s books, after his tussle with the USIU striker was deemed to be too physical. You can only hold on for long as USIU got their equalizer despite the best of efforts. As the game wore off, neither team had the effort to finish off the other and the referee had enough of the actions the game ended with a draw.