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With league title safe in cabinet, complacent Gor lost the plot

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By VINCENT OPIYO
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That Gor Mahia clinched an unprecedented 17th SportPesa Premier League (SPL) title in a match against their eternal rivals AFC Leopards with six matches to spare will go down in record as one of the memorable events in the ending year.

It is common for the two teams, with 30 domestic league titles between them, to start the season as title favourites and when the unexpected happens, fans are left heartbroken as happened on August 25 at Kasarani Stadium in a chaotic match between the two teams.

A second-string K’Ogalo outfit retained the title with six games to spare, thanks to goals from Boniface Omondi and Bernard Ondiek.

The action-packed clash had to be stopped for 10 minutes after a section of AFC Leopards fans literally uprooted seats and threw them onto the pitch in protest at centre referee Felix Ekai’s failure to book Gor’s Samuel Onyango for a reckless tackle on Leopards winger Baker Lukooya in the build-up to Gor’s second goal.

Leopards had a chance to reduce the deficit through Whyvonne Isuza’s penalty but the midfielder blasted wide. Gor turned the game into a training session enjoying ball possession as thousands of their fans cheered every touch and tackle by their players before storming to the pitch in celebration after the final whistle.

Gor won 2-0 and went on to finish the season on 75 points, 13 ahead of second-placed Bandari while Leopards finished a disappointing seventh on 51 points.

Gor Mahia striker Jacques Tuyisenge celebrates his goal during their SportPesa Premier League match against AFC Leopards at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on July 22, 2018. PHOTO | VINCENT OPIYO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Gor Mahia striker Jacques Tuyisenge celebrates his goal during their SportPesa Premier League match against AFC Leopards at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on July 22, 2018. PHOTO | VINCENT OPIYO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The 17-time Kenyan champions extended their success in the year, beating Leopards in both meetings, 2-1 win in the first leg on July 22, followed by a 2-0 result in the second meeting.

The first leg of the ‘Mashemeji derby’ provided the stage for a show of might between the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and the Kenya Premier League (KPL) over whether or not the fixture would be postponed.

Initially, the match had been scheduled to be staged at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega County on May 26 but FKF through president Nick Mwendwa asked for a postponement on grounds that Bukhungu could not host such a high-octane encounter.

“There’s no need to risk playing such a match elsewhere therefore we’ve asked KPL to reschedule it to a later date when Kasarani will be available and we can arrange everything for it to be played safely,” Mwendwa said at the time and true to his word, the match was moved to Kasarani, much to the chagrin of Leopards officials who had made all preparations to welcome Gor in Kakamega.

Despite their league success, Gor’s 22-match unbeaten run in the league was brought to a halt on August 7 after a 2-1 loss away to 10-man Bandari at Mbaraki Sports Club in Mombasa.

Two first-half goals from Dan Guya and Yema Mwana gave the hosts a 2-0 lead at half-time, and K’Ogalo pulled one back late on through Jacques Tuyisenge.

The Dockers were reduced to 10 men when left back Fred Nkata received a second yellow card with five minutes to play as the visitors piled the pressure. Before that, the last time Gor had lost a league match was in October 2017 when they went down 1-0 to Mathare United at Thika Sub County Stadium.

After a five-match winless run, Gor halted the skid with a 4-1 win over Zoo Kericho at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos County, offering a big reprieve for Gor coach Dylan Kerr.

Gor’s poor run was occasioned by go-slows and protests at the club, with players protesting unpaid salary for the month of August and winning bonuses from six league matches and two Caf matches.

Leopards, Nakumatt, Chemelil Sugar and Thika United are some of the clubs whose players went on strikes to demand payment.

The 2018 season, that commenced on February 3 and ended on October 7, was also highlighted by the firing and resignation of coaches.

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AFC Leopards coach Robert Matano explains a point during an interview with Nation Sport on October 24, 2017 at St Paul's University ground, in Limuru. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

AFC Leopards coach Robert Matano explains a point during an interview with Nation Sport on October 24, 2017 at St Paul’s University ground, in Limuru. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Robert Matano was the first to be sacked from his position as head coach at AFC Leopards in March. The veteran tactician was later unveiled at Tusker in April, replacing Ugandan Sam Timbe, who had been shown the door earlier.

In the same month of April, Sam Ssimbwa, another Ugandan, resigned as Sofapaka coach following a 2-1 defeat to Thika United on April 8.

“He (Ssimbwa) claims players are sabotaging him and opted out despite the management’s commitment to fully support him,” a frustrated Sofapaka president Elly Kalekwa said at the time. John Baraza was appointed on an interim basis and led the team to the SportPesa Shield final but dramatically lost 3-2 to Kariobangi Sharks on October 20 at Kasarani stadium.

This was Baraza’s final match as interim coach despite leading the team to a fifth place finish with 53 points. He was demoted to an assistant role under Egyptian-born American Medo Melis who arrived from Nakumatt in November.

Francis Baraza and Nicholas Muyoti are other coaches who left their jobs at Tusker and Thika United respectively. Baraza rejoined Chemelil Sugar while Muyoti took up Nzoia Sugar’s coaching role after Bernard Mwalala moved to Bandari.

Bandari’s coaching position had fallen vacant following the resignation of Ken Odhiambo who opted out to link up with former Harambee Stars coach Adel Amrouche in Libya as assistant coach. Amrouche later quit the North African country.

Argentine Rodolfo Zapata also lost his job at AFC Leopards in October, to be shortly replaced by Serbian Nikola Kavazovic. The Serbian however lasted on the job for a week and took up coaching role at Free State Stars in South Africa, leaving the coaching position to his assistant, 25-year-old Marko Vasiljevic early this month.

Briton Kerr resigned from his position as Gor coach on November 15, ending a fruitful 16-month spell where he won back-to-back titles.

The 51-year-old Kerr was in charge of the club for 79 matches where he managed 51 wins, 16 draws and 12 losses.

He took charge of 34 premier league matches in 2018, recording 23 wins, six draws and five losses.

Once again, the closure of Nyayo stadium for a year posed a threat to premier league teams which had settled on the venue for their home matches.

Teams were forced to make long trips to Machakos and or Thika United and Narok County Stadium, two hours drive from the capital city of Nairobi to honour fixtures.

Kasarani reopened in May, thanks to betting firm SportPesa who had worked round the clock to prepare the playing surface for Gor Mahia’s friendly match against English championship side Hull City on May 13.

In terms of revenue, Gor and Leopards were the worst hit by the closure of the two venues.

Nakumatt players Timothy Wanyonyi (left), John Njoroge (second left), Cornelius Juma (second right) and Kelvin Thairu celebrate one of their goals during their SportPesa Premier League match against Thika United at Thika Sub-County Stadium on July 28, 2018. PHOTO | VINCENT OPIYO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Nakumatt players Timothy Wanyonyi (left), John Njoroge (second left), Cornelius Juma (second right) and Kelvin Thairu celebrate one of their goals during their SportPesa Premier League match against Thika United at Thika Sub-County Stadium on July 28, 2018. PHOTO | VINCENT OPIYO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

After a season-long battle against relegation, Thika United were chopped from the topflight for the first time since their promotion in 2003 after finishing bottom of the 18-team log with 23 points from 34 round of matches. The Thika-based outfit eventually lost Brookside Dairies as their shirt sponsors.

Wazito was also relegated to the second-tier league after a season in the top-flight league.

Nakumatt, currently Mount Kenya United, successfully retained their top slight status after beating Ushuru 3-0 on aggregate in the promotion/relegation playoff.

Nakumatt had beat Ushuru 1-0 in the first leg at Camp Toyoyo grounds a week before posting a 2-0 score line in the reverse fixture on October 28 at Kasarani stadium.



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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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