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Will Mourinho be at Man United next season?

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By BBC SPORT
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Jose Mourinho’s agent made a rare public statement recently to insist Manchester United are “very happy” with their manager. If that is the case, the only conclusion to reach is they are easily pleased at Old Trafford these days.

United’s negative, lame performance in their 3-1 defeat at Liverpool carried all the ominous hallmarks of a broken team and the unmistakeable sense of Mourinho’s managerial reign reaching an inevitable conclusion.

Mourinho’s job may not be in imminent danger but it takes a huge leap of imagination, or a transformation that currently looks impossible, to see the decorated Portuguese manager at the club beyond this season.

United have fallen 19 points behind Liverpool before Christmas, and Mourinho’s confidence that they will bridge an 11-point gap to Chelsea in fourth is a very optimistic, arguably unrealistic, view based on this grim evidence.

If, as agent Jorge Mendes claims, United’s hierarchy are “very happy” with Mourinho’s work, then times, targets and ambitions have changed beyond all recognition at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’.

In fairness, United’s loss should be placed in context. They were facing a rampant Liverpool team who are unbeaten at the top of the Premier League, and they were within 17 minutes of joining Manchester City as the only team to take points away from Anfield this season.

Mourinho will also point to the fact United’s board were unable to deliver the central defender he wanted in the summer, but there are clearly deep-rooted problems within his squad. For all the failings in the transfer market, he is not getting the best from the players he does have.

Mourinho and United are judged when placed alongside Liverpool and in games like this. On this occasion, the whole mood, performance and attitude of the two teams and managers were light years apart.

And this drives at the heart of Mourinho and United’s desperate malaise.

Mourinho’s morose demeanour is the sharpest contrast to Klopp’s driven, animated style and it is the German who currently possesses the managerial Midas touch.

Whereas Klopp adopted a strategy with an element of risk when he introduced the gifted match-winner Xherdan Shaqiri, Mourinho kept back Anthony Martial – arguably United’s best forward this season – until it was too late.

And once again Romelu Lukaku, another of Mourinho’s hugely expensive signings at Sh9.7 billion(£75m) from Everton, cut a disconsolate struggling figure grasping for old form.

Fred, a Sh6.7 billion (£52m) summer signing from Shakhtar Donetsk, was not even allowed the ignominy of sitting alongside Pogba on the bench. He has, for now at least, disappeared from view.

Mourinho’s decision to put Pogba on the bench and not even include Fred in his matchday 18 hardly strengthens his bargaining hand if he wants to demand more new faces.

Everything about Manchester United currently screams of a joyless experience. Watching them. Playing for them. Managing them.

This was a game that carried heavy significance.

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If Mourinho and United had come to Liverpool and made a statement it might have signposted a brighter future. It might have suggested there was some light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

Instead, the chasm between the clubs was brutally laid bare by a Liverpool team playing the sort of football United and their supporters, who suffered the inevitable taunts of The Kop in buoyant mood, can only watch with envy.

Liverpool are also led by a manager who carries his entire squad with him while Mourinho looks like the discontented captain of a very unhappy ship.

And this is why the overwhelming feeling at the end of this game was that it is now not a question of if Mourinho’s reign will end, but when it will.

Mourinho may be able to limp on helped by a lack of immediate alternatives but the clouds are building up around United and their manager. There were no rays of sunshine on this desperate night at Anfield.

This felt like the beginning of the end for Mourinho at Manchester United.

United were in bunker mode from the moment their team sheet landed, a ploy that was failing miserably until Alisson presented Jesse Lingard with an unlikely equaliser.

Their current ambition is now reduced to tilting at the top four and a cup run, but their stock has fallen so far they are now a side other clubs will want to be paired with in Monday’s draw for the last 16 of the Champions League.

Responsibility must lie with a manager

The succession of sub-plots swirling around Mourinho only add to the growing conviction he is now simply marking time until the end of his reign.

The biggest one surrounds Paul Pogba, a Sh11.5 billion (£89m) signing who was not trusted to start in a game that has long been the acid test of the character and ability of United’s players.

True, Pogba has not delivered in the manner expected but it is a brutal reflection of his current standing that not only did he fail to start a game of such importance but that he also remained glued to his seat once the tide had swung against United late on.

Nemanja Matic and Marouane Fellaini, when he came on for the second half, provide the sort of muscle and physical presence Mourinho believes he needs but they also sum up a United stripped of all imagination, only posing a danger when it was presented to them by Alisson.

Pogba must have watched mystified as to how he cannot win a place in this team.

These are the sort of games he was signed for, the sort of games he will have wanted to shape when he returned to United from Juventus, and yet his manager did not feel this was an occasion for him.

It is a damning verdict but also begs questions as to why Mourinho cannot bring more out of an unquestionably gifted individual with a World Cup winners’ medal with France to his name.

Mourinho’s United were, at the home of a Liverpool side heading in the opposite direction, creatively bankrupt and shackled to a spoilers’ game plan alien to the club’s traditions.

And the responsibility must lie with a manager who no longer looks like he is enjoying life at Old Trafford.



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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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