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How foreign-based Kenyan stars are coping amid virus chaos

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JEFF KINYANJUI

By JEFF KINYANJUI
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The coronavirus pandemic is threatening to bring the world to a temporary halt. So far it has claimed over 18,000 people while there are over 420,000 confirmed cases globally.

Juventus star Paulo Dybala, Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta, Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi and former AC Milan star Paolo Maldini are some of the famous sports personalities that have contracted the deadly virus that originated from Wuhan Province in China.

Kenya has a number of footballers plying their trade abroad and with all the leagues halted, they have found innovative ways to stay fit. Harambee Stars Strength and Conditioning coach Mike Igendia, who is also currently under self-isolation, says it is very crucial for all athletes to ensure they stay fit during this period.

“I had travelled to Johannesburg for a Caf workshop and even though I am perfectly healthy and have no signs of sickness, I am, just like everyone else who had travelled abroad, self-isolating for two weeks. It is absolutely necessary to do that even for my own good,” he told Nation Sport.

“It is very key for professional athletes to be innovative in their workouts during this period. Of course, there are those that have good programs from their respective clubs while others have enough space in their homes to work out normally but the majority live in small spaces. However, that doesn’t mean they cannot work out. Lunges and burpees are just some of the exercises they can do daily to stay fit.”

“The biggest challenge is that we don’t know how long it will be before normal sporting action resumes so it is really difficult to plan a training program. Periodization is key in such plans but I advise players to just ensure they work out on their own, no excuses,” he added.

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Nation Sport looks at how Kenyans stars are keeping fit:

Johanna Omolo, midfielder at Cercle Brugge in Belgium

Belgium has slightly over 4200 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 122 deaths from the epidemic. The First Division League has been suspended and the whole Cercle Brugge team has been placed on a 14-day self-isolation after one of the staff tested positive for the virus.

“The feeling here is pretty tense. Nothing has ever happened that disrupted the country and daily lives like this before and everything is on a lockdown. We are not supposed to go out. I am worried about the rising cases and my first thought was to move the kids back home but I can’t travel back to Kenya as all the players and staff members of my club have been put under quarantine since there was a member of the medical staff who tested positive for COVID -19. The only thing you can do is stay indoors and follow the hygiene guidelines,” Johanna told Nation Sport.

“We have individual training from the physical coach to do at home. As I said we are under 14 days of quarantine,” he added.

The midfielder has advised Kenyans to take all the necessary precautions during this period.

“We should take this seriously because of the rate at which the virus is spreading, you don’t know who could have it because symptoms might not be showing. The only way to try to lessen the spread and help doctors and nurses is to stay at home, social distances of at least 1.5m, avoid crowded places, wash your hands regularly using soap and avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth,” he added.

Eric “Marcelo” Ouma(defender at AIK in Sweden)

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Two thousand and three hundred cases of Covid-19 and forty deaths had been confirmed in Sweden by Wednesday. The Swedish Allsvenskan 2020-21 season is yet to kick-off as earlier scheduled due to the pandemic.

“The feeling is not normal and most activities have been stopped. It is worrying when you see the numbers keep rising and people die. With this, you never know when things will get back to normal but we hope it will be soon,” Ouma said.

“We have some training programs that were sent to us by the team which we use every day. You can train from home or outside where there are no people. My advice to Kenyans is to follow all directives and no one should be left behind because one person can infect a thousand or even millions of people,” he added.

Joseph Okumu (defender at IF Elfsborg in Sweden)

“It’s a sad feeling and the situation is devastating. I am worried because of the rate at which the virus is spreading is alarming,” Okumu, a former Chemelil Sugar defender said.

“We have specific programs and training from home as there are no team sessions at the moment. I urge my fellow Kenyans to follow the precautions because it is the only way we can reduce the spread, every county is doing the same. Hopefully, everything will be back to normal soon.”

Michael Olunga (striker at Kashiwa Reysol in Japan)

By Wednesday, 1193 cases had been confirmed in Japan while 43 people had succumbed to the dreaded virus. The J1 League remains suspended but Olunga and his teammates are still training.

“It’s a tough moment not only for football fraternity but also for all sectors across the world. In Japan, they have tried to contain the situation but the conditions are still not suitable for the J1 League to resume at the moment. The J league managers are trying their best to ensure we resume soon and we are hoping for the best,” he said.

“We are training weekdays as a team and have off days during the weekend. As players, we also try to keep fit and train from home. I would advise people to be more cautious and try to follow strictly the different ways that help in minimising this global pandemic. With Japan recording over a thousand cases, the public reaction has been really positive and most have followed the government orders and it has seen the recoveries of a lot of patients who suffered from COVID -19. I would like Kenyans to try and emulate the same,” he added.

Victor Wanyama, (midfielder at Impact Montreal)

The Harambee Stars captain moved to Canada to join Major League Soccer (MLS) side Impact Montreal from Tottenham Hotspur recently. Canada has slightly over 2700 confirmed cases of Covid-19 while 26 people have succumbed to the virus. The USA, where most MLS sides are based, has been hit hard with 54,935 confirmed cases and 784 deaths as of Wednesday.

Impact Montreal suspended training at their centre but shipped stationary bikes to every player, including Wanyama, to train at home. The Kenyan international has used his official social media accounts to spread awareness during this period, urging his followers to take the necessary precautionary measures to combat the spread of the virus.

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Urithi Housing seeks to raise Ksh 1.5b to complete stalled projects – KBC

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Urithi Housing Cooperative Society members who have defaulted in paying for their houses now risk losing them altogether after the society invited fresh investors to buy them off.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Society Chairman Samuel Maina says the housing giant has also reduced its branches across the Country by almost half due to the hard economic times.

The Society will now operate with 11 branches instead of the previous 21. Maina says a number of factors among them failure by members to honor their monthly payments as well as the prevailing economic cash crunch has forced the Society back to its drawing board where reorganization is key.

The closure of the branches means that the Society has also reduced its workforce considerably due to financial constraints.

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Maina says he is convinced that the Society will soon be back on its feet saying, “We are where we are because of a variety of reasons however the fact that a majority of members have defaulted on their payments means we can’t complete the project on time.”

He said the Society doesn’t intend to venture into a new project saying they intend to first complete the ongoing ones and ensure members have their houses as earlier planned.

Maina said, “We have engaged a private company to inject an estimated Ksh 3 billion in exchange of stake in our projects.”

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According to the Chairman, Members owe the Society over Ksh 2.5b in default but they are currently seeking to raise Ksh 1.5b by disposing off the houses to new members to enable them complete the projects.

“As a matter of fact once we sell of the houses belonging to members who have defaulted, we will ensure we pay them back their initial investment but after deducting our expenses.” He said.

Maina added that the same will be done in phases saying it’s their intention to restore Urithi Housing Cooperative Society to its glory days.

“We have faced serious financial ramifications due to the defaulting members but am confident that using the current business model we will be able to complete the stalled projects within one year.” Maina said.

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Nairobi County Govt embarks on massive fumigation exercise – KBC

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Nairobi County Health workers embark on a massive fumigation exercise in the streets of Nairobi.

The Government has embarked on a massive fumigation exercise on the streets of Nairobi on Saturday night, as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

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The initiative which is a collaboration between the Ministry of Health and Nairobi County Government kicked off one hour after the curfew period began Friday evening.

County Executive member Hitan Majevdia said that the County team will start the fumigation exercise from Eastleigh at the General Waruinge and 1st Eastleigh Avenue.

The exercise will continue until all the high-risk areas are covered.

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“We are upscaling the fumigation exercise in Nairobi. Therefore, I would like the public to give way for officers to access and effectively fumigate all the required places,” said Hitan Majevdia.

He urged members of the public to continue adhering to the instructions from the Ministry of Health on prevention and control and support Government initiatives to curb the spread of the virus.

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County officials sprayed the streets and buildings which remained empty owing to the start of the curfew.

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Wanyama donates sanitizing kits in Mathare

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 28 – The Victor Wanyama Foundation in partnership with Kenya Red Cross, Africa Yoga Project and the Gina Din Foundation donated sanitizing kits and foodstuff to over two hundred families in Mathare, Nairobi.

The donations were coordinated from the Billian
Center and Cynthia Wanyama, the Victor Wanyama Foundation CEO, says they intend
to reach out to more families in informal settlements in the coming days.

“It’s very important to listen to what the health
experts are saying over this issue. Let’s wash our hands regularly, minimize
our movements and interactions and basically just follow what the government
and health experts are advising,” Wanyama said.

“My foundation, its partners such as the Kenya Red
Cross and the Africa Yoga Project will do all they can to help during this
period,” he added.

The Harambee Stars captain who recently moved to
Canadian side Impact Monreal has also urged Kenyans to follow the set
guidelines as the government through its various arms tries to stop the spread
of the deadly virus.

“We were overwhelmed as more numbers kept trickling
in but we are glad to have played our part. This will go a long way in ensuring
the 200 families in Mathare observe hygiene during this period that everyone is
fighting coronavirus,” Cynthia said.

Coronavirus has claimed over 27,000 people globally
while there are slightly over 600,000 confirmed cases of the virus.

In Kenya, there 31 confirmed cases while the
government announced the first death on Thursday evening.

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