By Godknows Matarutse
Harare City coach Mark Harrison is delighted with his team’s return to the Castle Lager Premiership as he declared themselves ready ahead of the pending 2018 season.
The Sunshine Boys were relegated from the Castle Lager Premiership last season after finishing in 15th place which ultimately cost coach Philani Ncube his job.
However, City were thrown lifeline by accepting an offer from the Premier Soccer League after How Mine, who went through some difficult moments last season due to some financial challenges, gave up their franchise to focus on core business.
And with the new season set for next weekend, Harrison, who was given the reins following the sacking of Ncube, declared his charges ready.
“It feels really good to be playing in the top flight. I have always said it from the beginning that City deserves to be rubbing the shoulders with the best teams in the country,” Harrison said to the Daily News on Sunday.
“I just have a meeting with players to tell them that we are back where we belong and let’s not waste this opportunity. I believe we have a team that can compete in the PSL and in terms of preparations I think we have done really well.
“We should be ready when the season starts. I have a squad of 28 players. We have a fusion of experienced and exciting youngsters. So we are definitely looking forward to do our best.”
Upon his appointment, Harrison roped in former CAPS United coach Mark Mathe to be his assistant while former Dynamos goalkeepers coach Tichaona Diya also joined the Sunshine Boys technical department.
On the playing personnel front, the club signed Moses Muchenje from CAPS United after his contract expired at the end of last season.
Muchenje once tried his luck in Egypt at the beginning of the year but opted to return home and joined the Sunshine Boys despite the fact that the club was set to play in the second tier league.
The club also roped in Denzel Chimwemwe from Herentals, Bright Chayambuka from Mufakose United and Ryan Harrison from an unnamed South African club. Ryan is son to coach Harrison and is currently waiting for his work permit.
Harare City chairman Alois Masepe was however quick to emphasise that the team’s core business will remain that of developing talent and will not exert too much pressure on their technical team to fight for the championship this season.
“Our vision remains of development of players,” Masepe said.
“We are not fond of competing for the title. That is why we have team from Under-13 up to Under-18. Under normal circumstances we should have leagues for all those age groups where they would compete.
“We remain loyal to our business of developing sport industry. You will find that recently our women’s team won promotion and will be playing in the Women’s Super League this season.
“So basically we are coming back to continue with our objective of developing players. We are not going to give our coaches any unnecessary pressure. The bulk of our players are Under-18 and some few older players for the obvious reasons to bring stability.” Daily News