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After quiet 2018, focus now on fight for Olympic tickets

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By AYUMBA AYODI
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As hockey takes stock of the 2018 season that had no major internationals for the national teams, 2019 promises to be busy for both the men and women’s sides with the qualifying tournament for next year’s Tokyo Olympics scheduled for August in South Africa.

The competition will run from August 12 to 18, after which the African Games, slated for October 14-21 in Morocco, take over.

But hockey will not be part of the continental games as the northern Africa hosts don’t have hockey facilities.

That means that the continental championships in South Africa will double up as qualifiers for Tokyo Olympics.

As usual, the men and women’s hockey Premier Leagues will be in focus locally where Butali Sugar Warriors and Telkom Kenya will be defending their titles in the action planned to start at the end of March.

The Africa Club Championships will also be held in December at a venue set to be announced, where Butali Sugar Warriors and Kenya Police will represent Kenya in men while Telkom Kenya and Strathmore University will carry the country’s flag in women’s event.

It’s envisaged that Butali Sugar and Police will honour the continental assignment this time around, having missed the last two editions in Accra and Abuja.

Last year, the focus was mainly on club action both locally and the Africa Club Championships.

Telkom Kenya claimed their unprecedented 21st hockey Premier League title with Butali Sugar Warriors recapturing the men’s title.

Telkom Kenya would then crown the season by recapturing the Africa Club Championships women’s crown after claiming revenge against Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) during the championship that ended on December 22 in Abuja.

As United States International University (USIU) settled for fourth at the continental event, Kenya was not represented in the men’s championship with Kenya Police and Butali Sugar choosing to stay away.

It was sweet and swift revenge for Telkom against the Ghanaians, who had beaten them 1-0 to lift the 2017 title in Accra.

The ever-green Jacky Mwangi and Audrey Omaido’s second and third quarter goals, respectively, were what Telkom needed to claim revenge and become the most decorated women’s club on the continent with the 10th continental cup success.

Telkom Kenya sealed their place in the final via a 1-0 win over hosts Kada Queens.

USIU, who were making their maiden continental appearance, settled for fourth after they lost to Ghana Police 2-0 in the play-off for bronze medal.

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Telkom won the diadem for the first time in 1998 then followed it up with victories in 2000 and 2001 then in 2009.

They won back-to-back from 2012 to 2017, lost to GRA in 2017 before reclaiming it this year.

Before heading to Ghana, Telkom Kenya had beaten arch-rivals Strathmore University 1-0 in the top of the league duel for the league success and uphold their unbeaten run locally to six years now.

Telkom, who are yet to lose the national title since reclaiming the crown from Sliders in 1999, only conceded three goals in their clean run in 12 matches of 36 points.

The only time Telkom conceded goals was when they beat Sliders 7-2 and Chase Amira 5-1.

Strathmore finished second with 28 points from nine wins, two losses and a draw.

They only lost to Telkom Kenya 2-0 and 1-0 respectively.

The men’s Premier League and Super League were full of drama what with the title chase, promotion and relegation battles going down to the wire.

Poor officiating and protests also marred the men’s Premier League during the season that saw a new format put in place.

By the end of the first leg, Butali Sugar and defending champions Kenya police had taken an unassailable lead from the chasing pack.

Butali and Police tied with 27 points each at the top of the league from 10 matches each with Wazalendo a distant third with 19 points from 12 matches.

The second leg was all set with Butali and Police toe-to-toe.Police requested to be exempted from the start of the second leg owing to a cash crunch.

The move saw Butali strengthen their league lead to 42 points from 15 matches while Police had 30 from 11 matches.

Butali and Police had lost one match each. Butali had crashed 3-0 to Police in the first leg with the men in blue going down to Greensharks 3-2 at the start of the second leg campaign.

As Butali lost to Parkroad Badgers 2-1 in a match that was poorly officiated, Police were zeroing in on the leaders. With four matches to go Butali were on 48 points while Police had 45 points with six matches to go.

Then on November 4, poor officiating and protest marred the Kenya Police and Wazalendo match. Wazalendo protested at how one of the umpires was handling the match as they allowed Police to score at will to eventually win 16-2.

KHU would launch investigations into the controversial match as the Union’s President Nahashon Randiek convened a meeting for umpires and technical officials on November 17 to discuss poor officiating and protest.



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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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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