By Petros Kausiyo
After getting a second bite of the cherry, Harare City are not taking any chances with their Premiership status and have been quietly going about strengthening their squad, including the recruitment of a teenage forward and an experienced goalkeeper, ahead of the start of the 2018 season on Saturday.
Interestingly, for Harare City and their fans, it will be a father-and-son affair as their new coach Mark Harrison has been joined by his son and goalkeeper Ryan at the Sunshine Boys
Harare City have roped in the 32-year-old Ryan as well as 16-year-old forward Calum English-Brown who was plucked from Farai Dhliwayo’s growing Legends Academy which is in Harare’s Eastlea suburb.
Ryan has previously played for Swansea City in England and South African sides Bidvest Wits and Golden Arrows before relocating to Zimbabwe recently.
Harare City were offered the slot that fell vacant following How Mine’s withdrawal from the Premiership and they seem to have grabbed that opportunity with both hands if the manner in which Mark Harrison and his new lieutenant Mark Mathe have gone about their preparations is anything to go by.
It will be a largely youthful Harare City, whose age averages 24, that will be on show this season.
Their English mentor, who also had coaching stints in South Africa and Botswana, has been insisting on blending youth and experience.
Mark Harrison earlier told our sister radio station Star FM of his ambitions for the season and reckoned that Harare City should have not suffered the ignominy of being relegated in the year they won the Chibuku Super Cup.
“It’s good, it’s exciting (to be back). It is where we want to be. We should never have been relegated last season, that was our own fault . . . we should never have been relegated.
“But look, we are back now. It’s where everybody wants to be. Wherever you are in the world you want to be playing at the highest level and in Zimbabwe the highest level is the PSL and we are really excited to be back in the PSL.
“We have made a few changes and we’ve got a squad of 28. We released a couple of players and we’ve promoted some of the youngsters from the cubs. A lot of good talent.
“Obviously, they need to be educated in football terms, tactically they have got to be more aware and that is my job and that of Mark Mathe, as the assistant, and we have been working with them for the last five to six weeks in our preparations and they are improving dramatically,” Harrison said.
He revealed he looked elsewhere to bring in new players after the club released such players like goalkeeper Tatenda Munditi who joined Ngezi Platinum and defender Jimmy Tigere who is at cross town rivals Dynamos.
“We have brought in four or five players from outside to bolster the squad and I think we have got a nice balance now which is a superb age for a squad and we will introduce the youngsters into the team over the course of the season and we’ve got some good quality experience by them.
“We cannot bring in a whole lot of the youngsters in one go because that will be suicidal, but we have good experience around and marrying the two will be my project this year and to develop the team into a good team,” Harrison said.
His son Ryan yesterday said he was determined to play a big part and help the team.
“I have been here for a short time so I don’t have much to say yet, but the people here have been more welcoming and very friendly compared to a place like Cape Town and we have started very well, exciting stuff and my father had been telling me about the project .
“I played for Swansea in England and Bidvest Wits and Golden Arrows about eight years ago and it’s exciting for me to offer some of my experience to the players here,’’ Ryan said.
English-Brown who represented Zimbabwe at Under-17 level was also naturally excited at securing his first professional contract after starring for Legends academy.
“I play attacking midfield and I am happy to be here. Harare City is a very good club and I have enjoyed the coaching, the training and it’s of a high standard.”
Harare City have also lured Moses Muchenje from CAPS United and recalled Munyaradzi Diro Nyenye from Yadah Stars. The Herald