Mohamed Kheri is a reknown figure the coastal wide just as much the Indian Ocean depth. The West Germany trained coach has had the most difficult task handling the national team in his numerous stints.
However he came out alive in most occasions and delivered the goods against all odds. Surreptitiously, his success hasn’t been accredited to him fully. Some have even gone on board to claim that he must have ridden his luck whenever he had success with the national team. Indeed a prophet is never honoured in his own home. A humble man at heart and nature, so was his beginning. From 1968 to 1970 he led Bandari to win the coastal provincial league title. A club which forms a large part of his coaching life and he is endeared to it.
When Kenatco joined the Kenya national football league in the early eighties, it caused ripples. He was highly responsible of unearthing great talents like Jamal Sketty, the late John ‘’ Arieno’’ Papa, Abbas’’Khamis ‘’ Magongo , Douglas Mutua,George Onyango,Ben Oloo, Issa Suleiman to name but a few. With the 1983 league heading for a cliff hanger between Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, Kenatco under the guidance of Kheri defeated Leopards at the city stadium to outright hand the league title to Gor Mahia. Ironically ,Leopards had defeated Kenatco to win the 1982 league title.
With the company under receivership, and various of it’s stars joining bigger clubs, relegation was inevitable and Kheri decided to switch camp to Bandari . In 1986, Bandari almost caused the biggest upset of Kenya soccer history by becoming the first provincial side to lift the then Moi Golden Cup. Gor Mahia would defeat them 1-0 but the victory was achieved by skin of their teeth. His reputation was on the radar.
The West Germany –trained tactician in the mid 1970’s, was named the Harambee Stars coach late in 1988 after the dismissal of the late Chris Makokha and James Sianga. In his first stint he led the stars to win a bronze medal in the 1988 CECAFA Cup hosted and won by Malawi.In 1989 He was a man in demand apart from executing his duties for the national team,he was also in charge of coastal provincial side Bandari Fc who were eager to secure promotion to the national league.
Later when Gor Mahia Danish tactician the late Jack Johnson resigned, Kheri handled Gor Mahia in the latter stages of it’s campaign in the African Cup winners, Moi Golden Cup and national league matches. In his brief spell at the club that lasted precisely ninety days, he enabled Gor Mahia to reach the African Cup winners semi-finals where they were eliminated by Sudanese outfit El Merriekh. They also bowed out of the Moi Golden Cup after surrendering the title they had won in 1986, 87 and 88 to Kenya Breweries and ended the league campaign in the runner up spot.
His provincial side Bandari had secured their top flight league campaign so Kheri was left to concentrate on the national side where he almost propelled the stars to their final round of the 1990 World Cup qualifiers before they succumb to eventual finalist Egypt. As a great consolation, he ensured stars qualified for the 1990 African Cup of nation’s stage in Algeria where they were eliminated in the preliminary stages. The late Gerry Saurer replaced Kheri as the national coach in mid-1990. However with Kheri posting impressive league results with his club side Bandari in the 1990, 91 seasons.
Kheri was reinstated back to the Stars fold when the late Gerry Saurer passed on in mid-1992. Leading the nation for the 1994 African Cup of Nation’s, Stars almost qualified for the finals but were DR Congo qualified for the tourney due to goal difference. In 1993 Harambee Stars under Kheri never lost any competitive or friendly match hence their 72nd position ranking when FIFA officially introduced the national team rankings. In the local scene, his club Bandari earned a fourth position in the 1992 league rankings one place better than in 1991.
After three years with the national team Kheri was relieved off his duties late in 1995 after Stars were eliminated in the CECAFA Cup semi-finals by Uganda Kobs. He would make his final bow with stars ten years later when he led them in their second phase of the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Mohamed Kheri despite the setbacks that he has
encountered with Stars management he has indeed contributed immensely towards the growth of soccer not only in the coastal region but also in the country.