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A chat with the Ghost: Chronicles of the Ex-Harambee Stars boss (Part 3)





His passion and desire to do more in the beautiful game only grew after leading Kenya to the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia, a historic year both for him and for the entire nation. Despite not being at the helm of a prominent club or the national men’s football team, former Harambee Stars Coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee is still very much involved in local football, which he has stated on numerous occasions has and always will be a part of his life.

In the last of a three-part exclusive series titled “A chat with the Ghost: Chronicles of the Ex-Harambee Stars boss”, we venture into this and a little more on his personal life.


The beginning of Liberty

“Liberty was actually born out of Harambee Stars frustrations,” Mulee began.

“In 2002, we were going to play our second last qualifier and we were to camp in Ghana for ten days and there was nobody to pick us up from the airport which was really frustrating.

Through connections in Ghana and the founding Liberty members from the West African region, Mulee was able to launch the academy in Kenya in 2008.

Mulee remains very actively involved with the running of the academy as he continues to coach young players who come with the dream of one day playing professional football.

Liberty Academy has produced and molded a phenomenal breed of players over the years with the most notable names being former UEFA Champions League winner, Inter Milan FC midfielder McDonald Mariga and the current Kashiwa Reysol striker Michael ‘Engineer’ Olunga.

“It has not been easy to run Liberty especially after the demise of my colleague a few years back but over the years, especially after producing Olunga we have been able to stabilize operations.

“We got Olunga when he was only 12 and it’s been an incredible journey for him as a player and for Liberty,” Mulee stated.

Before deciding to ply his trade in the Japanese League, Olunga played for Girona in the Spanish top flight where he made a mark and will always be remembered as the first Kenyan to score a hat-trick in La Liga.


Resounding statement

The lanky forward, who is an Engineering graduate, is a constant in the national team and got his name on the scoresheet most recently in a 3-0 home victory over Ethiopia in a 2019 AFCON Qualifier with a fantastic long-range effort.

“I am happy when I see Olunga doing great things in football and currently in Japan. I believe that this is just a stopover in his career because he has the capability to play in any major league in the world.

“Even as a 12-year old, we at Liberty knew that he would go on to become part of the future of Kenyan football and we thank God that it has come to pass,” Mulee underlined.

Mulee went on to assert his belief in the future of Kenyan football, stating that it is promising and the steps being taken by the federation and other individuals is key in ensuring that Harambee Stars can make a resounding statement to the world.

“There are a lot of emerging academies, talent searches and teams looking out for the young players and they have the patience to develop them.

“The federation has also taken a huge step to train many coaches which has always been an issue in this country. Talent is in plenty but developing it was the main problem,” Mulee underscored.


“Raw talent needs to be attended to so even when this breed of young players are brought into the national team, they have that level of football education.

Following past success of Jonathan Niva and Marshall Mulwa as coaches of the national team, Mulee burst out into hearty laughter when asked whether he and his fellow Kamba tribesmen had a secret that helped them succeed.

“I have tried to analyze why mostly Kambas can bring out that mentality and impetus that makes the national team a force to reckon with.

“I concluded that it’s merely due to the fact that we pick players without discrimination. One just has to be honest with himself during team selection,” Mulee stated.

“There is a perception that football in this country belongs to certain tribes but football is a God-given talent. It doesn’t matter which part of the world you are from, you can either play or you can’t,” he underlined.

Aside from his coaching prowess, Mulee currently works as a popular sports radio show host and a television commentator for local league and regional football matches.


Indigenous music

The father of three boys (Jesse, Jeff and Carl), confessed to not supporting any football team both locally and abroad but admitted to having a deep liking for Tusker FC, with whom he won three league titles during his 10-year stint with the club.

Mulee salutes the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and long-serving Arsenal FC manager, Arsene Wenger, for the decorated tenures they had with their respective clubs but none of them make it into his top three coaches of all time.

“I have to include Jose Mourinho in my all-time list. His philosophy seems to work everywhere he goes and I have seen him win many trophies with so many different teams.

“Stephen Keshi when it comes to matters of African football is a top manager. Those two are the ones who stand out the most for me,” Mulee confessed.

When speaking of some of the best players that he has managed, in the blink of an eye, the first name off the top of his head was the man who led them to the 2004 AFCON finals, Dennis Oliech.

“Dennis will never miss out on that list. He’s number one and a close second has to be Titus Mulama.

“Mulama is the most intelligent midfielder that I have ever coached, I’ve never had the privilege to manage a player with so much brain on and off the pitch.”

“The late Bernard Agunda will definitely have to be the last one. He was phenomenal and he could turn things around at any moment of the game, with the ability to score at will,” he added.

The 49-year old conceded his love for African food with matumbo, fish, kuku kienyeji and a side of ugali topping the list as his favorites.

A hobby that not many knew about the veteran coach is that he is a lover and collector of music, with a major focus on indigenous African tunes.

“Music is very important to me. I have countless albums in my house and the different sort of mood I’m in determines the music that I listen to.

“Every country I go to, I make sure to collect a variety of their tunes. I mostly listen to praise and worship when I wake up but when I’m in a real good mood I listen to Rhumba and some Teddy Pendergrass when I’m feeling romantic,” Mulee stated.


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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard




Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.


However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard




President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health




Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.


Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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