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Kane, Salah in spotlight as struggling stars clash

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Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah have the perfect stage to end their unexpected slumps when the superstar strikers go head to head at Wembley on Saturday.

Just four months ago, Tottenham striker Kane and Liverpool forward Salah were being hailed as Europe’s most feared marksmen after the pair tore through Premier League defences on a weekly basis.

Yet they go into this weekend’s eagerly anticipated clash between Tottenham and Liverpool with concerns about their ability to maintain that breathtaking form in the midst of a post-World Cup malaise.

Kane and Salah slugged it out for the Premier League’s Golden Boot prize right up to the last game of the season.

The Egypt international, with 32 goals, pipped his England rival to the coveted prize despite Kane’s first 30-league-goal season.

Salah bagged an incredible 44 goals in all competitions in his debut year with Liverpool, earning him the Professional Footballers’ Association and Football Writers’ Association player of the year awards.

But Salah’s season came to a bitter conclusion in the Champions League final when he suffered a shoulder injury after a cynical challenge from Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos.

Leaving the pitch in tears, Salah’s departure triggered Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat and ultimately cast a cloud over his World Cup, where he missed the first match and was unable to stop Egypt crashing out at the group stage.

The 26-year-old returned to Merseyside to kick off the new campaign with a goal in the demolition of West Ham.

But while Salah has scored twice in four games so far for Jurgen Klopp’s high-flying Liverpool, he has not been the effervescent figure that tormented opponents last term.

The combination of lethal finishing and off-the-cuff inspiration that made him such a joy to watch has been replaced with a more subdued demeanour that gives the impression he has lost his mojo for now.

Replicating the sky-high standards of 2017-18 was never going to be easy for Salah and, ironically, he was warned of the potential for a sophomore slump by Kane last May.

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“For me it is about doing it year after year. Any player wants to do it on a consistent basis and that’s what defines a good player from a great player,” he said.

Kane and Salah have a respectful relationship, but their rivalry intensified when Salah questioned the decision to award Tottenham’s second goal in April’s 2-0 win at Stoke to Kane, after it had initially been credited to Christian Eriksen.

Kane may have been hurt by the perception he was greedily hunting individual accolades but, undeterred, the England captain finished as top scorer at the World Cup with six goals.

Yet, by his own admission, Kane was not quite at his best in Russia despite England’s run to the semi-finals and the hangover has continued into the new campaign.

The 25-year-old has just scored two goals in six games for club and country this season, with the statistics behind those numbers making for even more unsettling reading.

Sky Sports statistics released this week show Kane averaged 6.7 shots per 90 minutes by the end of August 2017, whereas he currently averages 2.6 shots per match.

Amid fears Kane is nearing burnout, England boss Gareth Southgate was forced to defend his decision to bring on his captain as a substitute in the 1-0 friendly win over Switzerland on Tuesday.

Ankle ligament damage suffered at the beginning of April, fatigue after such a short summer break and opponents taking extra care to snuff him out have all been mooted as reasons for Kane’s problems.

“I’m concerned about Harry Kane. Since 2015, Kane has played 175 matches. Forget the physical side, he needs a mental break as well because he’s struggling,” former England assistant coach Gary Neville told Sky Sports this week.

Salah’s dip has not stopped Liverpool climbing to the top of the Premier League after four successive wins, while Tottenham are just three points behind.

Even so, it would be a comforting sight for Reds manager Klopp and Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino if their star men were back on song this weekend.



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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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