The Big Interview: Goal speaks to Black Leopards coach Dylan Kerr


Black Leopards coach Dylan Kerr says beating Orlando Pirates two weeks ago was not just his highlight since making his move to the South African Premier Soccer League (PSL).

Speaking exclusively to Goal, the English mentor said the PSL is more organized and professional where a foreign coach is under scrutiny unlike in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL).

“Yeah look, it’s a big experience to coach in the PSL. The football obviously is of the highest standard. The expectations are a lot higher than in the KPL,” Kerr told Goal.

“There are two football federations like Safa and the PSL that are more organized and professional. So, as a foreign coach, you are under scrutiny and there is more money pumped into the game and the clubs prioritize success in terms of results. So, it’s very tough here,” he said.


Ivan Mahangwahaya of Black Leopards challenged by Musa Nyatama of Orlando Pirates during the 2019 Nedbank Cup match

Having bagged three wins since arriving at Lidoda Duvha, including a Nedbank Cup win over the Buccaneers, Kerr said the Cup win was just another victory for his men.

“Look, I didn’t see that as a highlight. We take each game as it comes and the agenda was to play, enjoy the game and win against Pirates,” he continued.

“We wanted to play to score goals, not to concede and we all know the quality of the PSL clubs. There is a vast gap between us in terms of quality and wealth of experience, and some of the top teams,” he explained.

“Our ambition is to win our games, focus on staying in the PSL because the club has been in the NFD (National First Division) for a long time. We don’t want to go back there,” he responded.

“We just have to fight harder and keep fighting and honestly, it is not about facing top teams like Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns where we get to do better,” added the manager.


Dylan Kerr and Mwape Musonda, Black Leopards, January 2019

Kerr recently won the PSL Coach of the Month for December/January, and he revealed that he doesn’t want to win the accolade again, and he revealed why this is the case. 

“I want to stay in the job at Leopards for as long as I want and the club wants me, but we all know football is all about results,” he said.

“The chairman wants the results and we have to deliver on the field of play. Look, we saw how Muhsin (Ertugral) left Maritzburg United; it was purely because of results. It doesn’t matter how good you play,” he noted.

“To be honest, I was happy to win the award, but I don’t want to win it again because you dip in form after winning it. I mean coaches can tell you in the United Kingdom, once you win it, you will never win your next games,” he responded.


Nedbank Cup trophy, May 2018

In addition, the Thohoyandou-based club will want to return to winning ways when they take on Bidvest Wits in the Nedbank Cup on Wednesday. They lost to Bloemfontein Celtic and the Brazilians in their last two matches. 

“It is a tough one. Wits are one of the top teams in the league. The mission is to reach the quarter-finals and we will have to fight harder," said the ex-Leeds United defender.

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“The league form goes out of the window and for me, it’s about winning the Cup and not the money. We are going into this game with a positive mindset and we know Cup games are all about who wants it the most,” declared Kerr.

“We will have to apply ourselves and have the right mentality because we also want to go to the final. You know as coaches, players can make or break you. I believe any top coach can come and coach in South Africa, but if players are not responding, then you will definitely fail,” said the former Gor Mahia mentor.

“You can take Pep (Guardiola) to come and coach here, he can get a job, but his success will be determined by how his players respond to his methods and ideas,” concluded the 52-year-old.