Dylan Kerr embarks on a new chapter in his career after leaving the Spireites academy to take up the role of head coach at Kenyan club Gor Mahia.
In an exclusive interview with iFollow Spireites before his departure, Kerr explained how things moved very quickly after he was sounded out by a former colleague last week.
He said: “On Thursday of last week, I was contacted by a friend of mine who is a former goalkeeping coach, currently working for a club in Tanzania, who asked if I would be interested in going to work with him at a club in Kenya.
“On Tuesday, they made an official offer and I chose to accept. Then on Wednesday I received a message stating that I had been appointed as head coach for the club. I’ve been told in African football it’s very slow right up until something needs to be done so that is something that I might have to adapt to.”
Kerr, who has held various overseas coaching roles, is relishing the challenge he is facing in Africa. “It’s unbelievably exciting because it’s a massive club,” he said. “Gor Mahia are the biggest team in Kenya and they’ve always been in the top two over the past few years. They’re mid-season at the moment and they’ve still got 15 league games. They’re joint top, so it’s not going to be easy.
“The expectation level is massive, but I wouldn’t have accepted the challenge if I didn’t think I was strong enough or didn’t think I had the personal attributes to put over my point of view because it’s worked in South African, Vietnam and Tanzania.
“They’ve got a cup game on Sunday (today), which I’ll watch. Then on Thursday, we play in a pre-season friendly against Everton in Tanzania, which is going to be my first game in charge. I’ve been in Tanzania before with a team called Simba. They’re mad about the Premier League so I’m expecting there’s going to be 70,000 there!”
Kerr is looking forward to working with some talented players. “As you can tell just by looking at some of the top teams in the Premier League, there are so many English-African and American-African players and they are all so skilful,” he commented.
“They are gifted because they’ve played football from a young age and that’s all they’ve ever done. They haven’t got iPhones and iPads and all the luxuries like we Europeans have got.
“They are strong and powerful and they’ve got load of energy. Their endurance is outstanding due to the heat they are used to playing in. My belief is to go and give them a bit of a organisation and tactical nous, get them to enjoy their football and ultimately my remit is to finish top of the league.”
Kerr was only appointed lead coach for the professional development stage last November, but his time at the Proact was productive, helping a number of youngsters to progress to the first team. “They do promote from within and I’m proud to say that during my time with the club I’ve assisted five youth team players in getting their first pro contracts,” said the 50-year-old Yorkshireman.
“It was a tough decision to go because everybody at the club is fantastic and they’ve always made me feel welcome. I’d like to thank Ashley Carson for allowing me to go at such short notice and I’d like to also say a big thank you to the academy staff such as Mark Smith and John Knapper.
“I am disappointed to leave the guys here, but I will be keeping in touch with the club through Twitter as I am very interested to see how my boys get on. As I’ve always said, ‘Once a Spireite, always a Spireite’!”