HARARE – Caps United supporters have hailed the appointment of Mark Harrison as the new Green Machine gaffer.
Harrison who was on Wednesday unveiled as the Green Machine’s new coach on a 3-year contract, and Caps United faithfuls are fully behind him.
“He is a good coach, he has just resigned from Black Leopards in South Africa,” said Zenzo Mashira.
“He is a good coach, let us rally behind him,” said Rocqui Chimene
Other fans have however urged the club’s authorities to ensure players receive their bonuses to keep the motivated.
“They can afford to pay a foreign coach while players are wallowing in poverty? That’s a joke, Twine (Phiri) get your priorities right,” said Elison Kombora.
“Pay players and see if we will not win the league. It is not right to just pay this, already rich, foreign coach handsomely while you don’t want to pay our local coaches, let alone players,” Matthew Chitanha said.
Harrison takes over from Taurai Mangwiro on a three year contract.
The Englishman will be assisted by Fungai Tostao Kwashi and Brenna Msiska.
It is not the first time, Caps United have hired a foreign coach after Irishman, Sean Connor had a stint with the Green Machine.
Connor left Makepekepe after the club’s management terminated his contract in 2012.
The 54-year old former Southampton and Stoke City goalkeeper, who only resigned as South African National First Division outfit Black Leopards’ coach earlier this week, has penned a three-year deal with Makepekepe.
Harrison, who Caps United chief executive Joe Makuvire said would also be the club’s football manager, will be assisted by the club’s former goalkeeper Brenna Msiska and ex-attacker Fungai Tostao Kwashi.
Makepekepe are also currently finalising a deal with another coach who is set to join the Harrison-led technical team.
As football manager, Harrison will also oversee all football affairs at the club in addition to taking charge of the senior team.
The Green Machine had taken their time in choosing a new substantive head coach since the resignation of Taurai Mangwiro last November amid speculation the club was considering a number of options, among them Wilfred Mugeyi, Kalisto Pasuwa, Jostein Mathuthu, Lloyd Mutasa, Gishon Ntini and Lloyd Chitembwe.
But yesterday, the club management unveiled Harrison as Mangwiro’s successor, ending weeks of gossip over the Makepekepe technical team set up.
“We felt it was important for us to pursue and recruit a highly qualified coach and we settled for Mark,” said Caps United chief executive Joe Makuvire.
“A lot might be asked as to why we chose a foreign coach, but Caps United is a big institution, a big institution in the game and in terms of ambition. We identified Mr Harrison for the sole reason of having a capable individual running football affairs at the club. As a club, we believe Mr Harrison is going to take us back to the glory days. We believe the programme of action we have agreed upon will in the future result in financial stability for the institution.
“Harrison is joining Caps United on a three-year contract and we are happy to say that we have successfully lodged an application for his employment (work permit) here since he is a foreign coach. We are hopeful that he will be able to begin work in the shortest possible time.”
Caps United club president Twine Phiri explained the rationale behind Harrison’s appointment, and exhorted the Makepekepe faithful for their patience.
“It was not easy for me to come up with the decision to hire a foreign coach, coming from a scenario where we had lost our coach Taurai two months ago.
“Let me applaud our fans for being patient and I think to the Caps United family we have put in the right person to fit in Taurai’s shoes. I think Mark will do a wonderful job for us.”
Harrison said: “I am happy to join Caps United, the reason behind this decision being the ambition, the desire to grow the club and desire to make it the biggest brand in Zimbabwe, the desire to take it into Africa. That’s why I want to be here.”
Harrison however moved to quell expectations, warning the Makepekepe fans that turning around the club’s fortunes will not happen overnight.
“I am confident I will succeed. But this is not going to be a quick fix. I am not here to build a title winning side in three months. People have to get that mentality out of their minds. We are trying to build something for the future…and if we do things correctly, Caps United will be a club that stands up and be counted.
“We have to build a squad that will be competitive. I am an absolute winner and I demand and expect high performance.
“It’s a big challenge and it’s going to take a lot of hard work and patience and support from everyone associated with the club. If we work together I believe we can succeed.”
Among the sides that Harrison has coached are Stafford Rangers in England, the Bangladesh national team, South African clubs Mpumalanga Black Aces, African Warriors, Bay Stars, Chippa United and Golden Arrows.