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Nine things we learned in KPL Round Two

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By SAMUEL GACHARIRA
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Mathare United remained top of the SportPesa Premier League with a convincing 3-0 win over Nzoia Sugar while there was no reprieve for AFC Leopards in Round Two as they lost with a similar scoreline to Kakamega Homeboyz.

Bandari, Western Stima and Homeboyz kept pace with the leaders maintaining their perfect start to the season as record champions Gor Mahia, Kariobangi Sharks, Ulinzi Stars and Posta Rangers all chalked their first wins of the season.

Nation Sport presents the nine things we learned from the SPL this weekend:

Nyakeya could have one of his best seasons at Mathare

After a break-out campaign last term that saw him voted the Midfielder of the Year in the process scoring 14 goals and providing 10 assists, Cliff Nyakeya could go a notch higher this season if his bright start is anything to go by.

The youngster is finally playing at his preferred number 10 position thanks to the arrival of James Kinyanjui and Kevin Kimani who are now being deployed on the flanks. His prime instincts of speed, trickery and close control are being put to full use now that he is playing closer to goal and the returns are there to show.

So far, he is averaging a goal per match and considering the versatility of Mathare United’s attack he can even better his record. It was easy to man mark him as a winger last season but he now has more freedom in the final third in his new role. If he keeps finding the net, he will be a key contender for the Golden Boot and by extension the Most Valuable Player award at the end of the season.

One foreigner has to create room for Oliech at Gor

Reports indicate that former Harambee Stars captain Dennis Oliech is on the verge of joining record champions Gor Mahia. Oliech’s quality is not in doubt and once he hits full fitness, he will certainly be knocking at Hassan Oktay’s door for a place in the starting XI.

The big question however is who will pave way for the man regarded as Kenya’s alpha striker in the past decade. Upfront, Gor Mahia has four foreigners namely Burundian Francis Mustafa, Rwandese Jacques Tuyisenge, Ivorian Ephrem Guikan and Ugandan Erisa Ssekisambu.

While Guikan and Ssekisambu opened their accounts in the 4-0 rout of Zoo last Wednesday, Tuyisenge has already established himself as a regular following his exploits last season where he was the club’s top scorer in the league with 14 goals. Mustafa is still finding his feet after joining in June this year.

With Oliech in the picture and probably banging in goals, Gor will certainly have to offload one foreign striker due to lack of playing time. The big question is: Who will pave way for “The Menace”?

Depth makes Bandari genuine title contenders

There was no Bernard Odhiambo in Bandari’s defence but there were goals and three points against a formidable opponent, Sofapaka, on the road. What was billed as the highlight of Matchday Two culminated in yet another statement of intent from the Dockers.

Bernard Mwalala replaced Odhiambo with Brian Otieno handing the new signing from Nzoia Sugar his first start and bar Kepha Aswani’s early opener, his combination with Felly Mulumba at the heart of defence was one to admire.

Despite trailing at half time, Bandari rallied to win the match with the introduction of Wycliffe Ochomo proving to be the difference. To put it into perspective, Mwalala’s charges have scored four goals in two matches and all have come through four different scorers; Yema Mwana, William Wadri, David King’atua and Ochomo.

Thiong’o could be Nakuru’s new poster boy

Ever since John “Mo” Muiruri hang his boots, Nakuru has failed to produce a talent worth attracting admirers across the country. Ambrose Ayoyi is arguably one of the best talents to have come out of the town but days when Nakuru was considered a bedrock of talent are long gone.

Nakuru All Stars’ relegation from the second tier last season exacerbated the situation. In the recent past, John “Softie” Ndirangu and Boniface Akenga were tipped as the next big things of Kenyan football but they are yet to realise their potential since storming the top tier in 2014.

The brightest prospect from All Stars currently in the topflight, Peter Thiong’o, showed a glimpse of his talent against AFC Leopards at Bukhungu. He opened the scoring before setting up George Mandela and Maxwell Ravel for the 3-0 win.

If well nurtured at Kakamega Homeboyz both on and off the pitch, then Nakuru can dream of producing a key player for Harambee Stars in the near future.

His dribbling, decision-making, speed and touch bring back memories of the Golden Boy Ayoyi and the wizard that was Muiruri.

Muchiri’s spark could ignite Tusker’s campaign

The league is a marathon but the early days tend to shape the race for the title. As it stands, Tusker – who have only one point from two matches – are already playing catch up.

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What’s even more worrying is the nature of opposition they have dropped points against. The brewers have lost five points against Western Stima and Sony Sugar. This season, Robert Matano has preferred new signings upfront ahead of the reliable Boniface Muchiri who was at the centre of Tusker’s resurgence last campaign after a horror start.

Michael Madoya and Bill Oporia have all earned places in the first eleven ahead of Muchiri and the lack of attacking threat from wide areas has been telling.

With a measly return of one goal in two matches against inferior opposition on paper, Tusker need to recall Muchiri to his first team.

If his form might have dipped in preseason, his statistics last term – 11 goals and nine assists – make a strong case for his inclusion. After all, class is permanent!

Ouna needs to shore up defence

KCB could have easily won against Ulinzi Stars at Afraha but they gave away cheap goals.

Elijah Mwanzia’s opener came from the spot after Baraka Badi needlessly fouled Daniel Waweru on his blind side while defending a cross. Despite Clinton Kisiavuki drawing level, the bankers’ defensive woes persisted as Ulinzi knit up a flowing team move from custodian James Saruni that culminated in a free header for Ezekiel Okare at the back post.

Peter Manyika’s howler gifted Ulinzi a third as Okare dispossessed him before Enos Ochieng’ finished into an empty net.

That loss means KCB remain without a point and have now conceded four in two games. Once again, they dominated the first half but had nothing to show for it. In fact, they trailed the soldiers at the break courtesy of Mwanzia’s penalty.

Frank Ouna now has two things to address; the organisation of his side defensively and scoring. While you need luck to score, defending is an all-round team function that the bankers need to master or else their poor run could stretch into their next three games where they face Bandari, Tusker and Mathare United. Tall order indeed!

Pamzo might stick with youth

Posta Rangers’ first win of the season came courtesy of two youngsters – Francis Nambute and Ken Mutembei. The pair started ahead of Gerson Likono and John Nairuka and they made their impact felt scoring in the 2-1 win.

Sammy “Pamzo” Omollo spent the transfer window shopping for fresh blood to revamp his ageing team. Francis Manoah and Brian Juma also joined as part of concerted efforts to give the team a new face. While it normally takes time for young players to settle in a different environment, this Posta side looks like the perfect blend for youth and experience.

With the young players already off the mark, it’s an encouraging sign for Pamzo to field them. If they keep on seizing their opportunities and scoring then why not?

Mwendwa ripe for Harambee Stars return

At his best, Harrison Mwendwa is a defender’s nightmare. Blessed with electric pace, trickery and an eye for goal, he is arguably one of the best wide players in the country at the moment.

After scoring in the season opener against AFC Leopards, Mwendwa came off the bench to inspire Kariobangi Sharks to their first win of the season. First, he produced a trademark run to slalom past several Sony Sugar shirts and set up Henry Juma before lobbing home over Kevin Omondi.

His second goal told the story of his resurgence at Sharks since joining them in January this year. Having regained his confidence, Mwendwa is slowly getting back to his peak and a return to the national team should have crossed his mind by now.

With Harambee Stars having qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations, he needs to restore consistency in his game. In 2015 while at Mathare United, he was a regular call up during Adel Amrouche’s stint. If he can carry on with his form he might just as well catch Sebastien Migne’s eye.

Baraza has his work cut out

While Francis Baraza has a reputation of working with young players, his latest gamble with Chemelil Sugar might prove costly.

Only Nicholas Akoko, Musa Oundo and Dominic Kiprono have topflight experience in his team as currently constituted. After falling to Mathare United in their first match, a moment of brilliance from Gilbert Wangulu prevented them from suffering a second consecutive loss against Vihiga United at home.

That the Millers have now conceded thrice in the first half should be a cause for concern for Baraza because he could end up losing if his opponents close shop. Wangulu scored with only seven minutes left meaning that had the visitors held on, Vincent Wonder’s opener would have handed them maximum points.

Chemelil’s youthful side is certainly talented but the topflight demands maturity in key moments of the game. Baraza’s charges need time to gather experience but whether they’ll pick points as well as experience along the way remains to be seen.



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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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