Cape Town - Dylan Kerr has become the first Black Leopards boss to be named Absa Premiership Coach of the month in over 10 years.
Along with Kerr, Black Leopards' main striker and leading Absa Premiership goalscorer Mwape Musonda was also named player of the month for the block period of December and January.
Kerr has only been in charge of Lidoda Duvha for a little over two months‚ but has managed to make an immediate impact, winning three of his last six matches to help revitalise the club and lift them out of the relegation zone and into 12th place.
Musonda's form has also been vastly improved under Kerr, and the Zambian now boasts eight goals in 15 of the 17 matches played by his team so far.
“When somebody told me that I’ve got the award I was obviously very delighted having got it at such a short time‚” said Englishman Kerr‚ who has previously coached Gor Mahia of Kenya and Simba SC of Tanzania.
“I didn’t want anybody to get carried away with it because even though we’ve done very‚ very well recently‚ we’ve won nothing yet.
“I want to keep it quiet and keep everybody’s mind on what we need to do week in and week out. It’s an honour to be given this award because before I came to Black Leopards everybody said I made a mistake and I was crazy.”
Musonda also expressed his delight at getting the nod.
“It’s such an honour to be voted player of the month‚” he said.
“Obviously when you go out to training you always want to be the best you can.
“When the hard work you’ve been putting in training and in games is noticed‚ it makes you happy and you even want to work harder.”
Kerr has much bigger plans for Black Leopards this season than just surviving the relegation battle, and even believes a top-eight finish is still within reach.
“We just have to keep going the way we are‚ playing good football and enjoying the football and playing with a smile on the face‚” he said.
“But we have to be very‚ very careful on how we do it.
“I keep saying to the players. ‘We are taking baby steps and we are climbing the ladder and we are doing it our way’.”
The Leopards coach was asked what has been his secret in transforming the team in the very short time he’s been in South Africa.
“It’s from playing in South Africa and coaching in Africa. You’ve got to give players the respect and trust‚” he said.
“If you do that then the players will embrace what your ideas are. That’s something that we’ve done from day one… I’ve told them they need to be honest to me.
“That’s an important factor in African football‚ to let the players believe in what you want and what you want to do for them‚ because it’s not about me. I’m just there to pick the team and to get the best out of the players.
“The rest is for the players to respond and do what we are doing… and so far we’ve done that very‚ very well.”