NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 31 – Former Gor Mahia head coach Dylan Kerr says he regrets turning down a chance to coach the club in 2014, having been approached by fellow Scot Bobby Williamson when he left the record Kenyan champions to take up a job with the national team.
Williamson resigned from Gor after Football Kenya Federation offered him the Harambee Stars role, but when Kerr declined, they ultimately turned to Frank Nuttall who took up the chance and enjoyed considerable success with the club.
“Bobby approached me in 2014 and asked whether I could take up the job since he was leaving but I declined. That is something that I regret but all in all I am happy because Frank took it up and did some good work,” Kerr, who now coaches South African top tier side Baroka FC told Capital Sport.
The former Leeds United fullback however eventually got the job in July 2017 after leaving Tanzanian side Simba SC and went on to win the Kenyan Premier League title in the two seasons he was in charge before leaving in November 2018.
Coincidentally, his first match in charge was a friendly against English Premier League side Everton FC in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in July 2017 while his last match in charge of the club was in November 2018 again with Everton at their Goodison Park home-ground in Liverpool.
He left K’Ogalo to join South African side Black Leopards and he has also disclosed before leaving, he had declined several other offers.
“Before I left for South Africa, I had received several other offers but I turned them down because of the respect I had for Gor and the chairman Ambrose Rachier who was very good to me during my time at the club. Even when I took the Black Leopards job, I asked for his permission and he allowed me to leave,” the tactician disclosed.
Despite the challenges he faced during his tenure with the record champions, Kerr says he carries only positive memories during his stint.
At his time, the club struggled financially when sponsors SportPesa halted their financial aid, and he admits it was hard to motivate the players to put in their best, something they always did.
“In a way many coaches would never accept things I had to deal with but I had to adapt and get on with my job because I’m professional and proud and understood that sometimes things happen at clubs in Africa you as coach have no control,”
“Things happened that I didn’t like but that was out of my hands. My apartment at some point had no electricity or water, not having a car, training strikes by players, horrendous continental matches preparation, salary delays and no training facilities were out of my control but I along with Jolawi (Obondo) my TM we tried and 90% found solutions,” the tactician further offered.
Away from the pitch, Kerr loved the life and would often walk from his apartment in Kilimani to town and sometimes even to the club’s training ground.
He loved mingling with the people, the food and most often than not, a bit of the pint to take him into jolly mood. His relationship with Gor supporters was also something to behold.
“I have got too many amazing memories from my time at Gor and in Kenya and being with the fans, enjoying time with them, the food… everything was amazing including beating Bobby (Williamson) at pool,” joked the tactician.
Kerr went on to join Leopards in 2018, helping the avoid relegation before resigning the following year to be with his ailing mum, who unfortunately passed on last year.
The tactician described that as a trying moment in his life, noting the bond he enjoyed with his mum Gloria Jean.
“Please take a very nice photo of me. I wanna send this to my mum; she will be excited. She is my inspiration and motivation,” Kerr, clad in a full crisp clean suit told this writer while leading Gor for the friendly against Everton in Liverpool in 2018.
At Baroka now, he is faced with a familiar task of rescuing the team from the threat of relegation. They are placed at 13th in the standings with 23 points, only separated from the play-off slots by goal difference.