Former Baroka FC coach Wedson Nyirenda was among those whom Swallows FC considered for their head coach position before settling on Dylan Kerr on Tuesday.
The Birds’ coaching post became vacant after the club fired its entire technical team, led by head coach Brendan Truter, at the back of a 3-1 defeat to Kaizer Chiefs in the Soweto derby at Dobsonville Stadium on Sunday.
According to Swallows owner David Mogashoa, Nyirenda was interested in the job, but Kerr became the club’s overwhelming choice for his proven record of saving local teams from relegation.
“He’s [Nyirenda] one of the people who showed interest in the position, I must be honest. But we had to go for someone who is already here and with a proven record against relegation.
“There were many coaches from Europe and, interestingly, one from Botswana. There was a lot of interest,” Mogashoa told City Press, without revealing the identities of the other applicants.
“We received a lot of CVs, but we looked at Kerr’s record and decided that he would be the right man to take the club away from where it is now. And this is through his experience of having saved a number of clubs from relegation and also winning the Nedbank Cup [with Marumo Gallants when the club was still known as Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM)]. I think he can save us as well.”
Englishman Kerr, who is also a former Baroka head coach, previously rescued the Polokwane-based club, as well as their Limpopo rivals, Black Leopards and TTM, from relegation.
Thanks to their Nedbank triumph, which was largely credited to then caretakers coaches Mpho Maleka and David Mathebula, Gallants are now contesting the CAF Confederation Cup.
Meanwhile, Kerr, who attended Swallows’ first training session on Wednesday, will watch the team’s next league game from the grandstands should his work permit not arrive on time.
Legendary striker Fani Madiba, who was until recently Swallows head of development, took charge as a temporary measure and he could be on the bench when the Birds host Maritzburg United in Dobsonville on Saturday.
“Kerr will be sitting on the stands, unless if his work permit is sorted out by Friday. His application went in today [Wednesday],” explained Mogashoa.
“Fani took the team through training on Tuesday and today the new coach is here observing. Fani was the head of development in Truter’s era, but now the new coach wants to work with him. So he’s going to be assisting Kerr.”
Swallows’ heavy defeat by Chiefs plunged the Birds to the bottom of the DStv Premiership log.
The Birds have won one league game in 12 outings, while they drew five and six ended in loses. This awful record is a far cry from the team’s debut season, when it was among contenders for the league title and finished sixth at the end of the 2020/21 campaign.
Truter, who took over in October 2019, steered the Birds to promotion to the elite league two seasons ago.
Mogashoa had hinted at a looming overhaul in an interview with City Press last week and the mass axing of the technical team was inevitable.
The Bahwiti Investments boss, however, said he was grateful for having had Truter at the helm and has paid gratitude to the 44-year-old tactician from Mitchells Plain in Cape Town.