HARARE – Harare City have appointed former CAPS United coach Mark Harrison as their technical director as the Castle Lager Premiership side seeks to bolster their development projects.
However, the move of engaging an expatriate is likely to draw more criticism at a time the council-owned side’s expenditure is already under scrutiny from all sectors.
Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni is pushing for the Sunshine Boys’ annual budget of $2 million per season to be slashed to about $400 000.
In 2014, Harare councillor Allan Markham stepped down from his post as the capital’s finance committee chairperson, citing Harare’s huge allocation to football.
Residents are also up in arms with the local authority as service delivery is at its all-time low with the council failing to complete mundane tasks like refuse collection, providing safe drinking water and street lighting.
Harare City chairperson Alois Masepe confirmed Harrison’s appointment to the Daily News yesterday.
“We offered him (Harrison) the job at the same time we appointed Philani Ncube as the head coach,” Masepe said.
“What was only left was for his work permit to come through and it was granted sometime this week which means he can start his work.”
Masepe went on to describe the Briton’s scope at the Sunshine Boys which will see the former Makepekepe coach work to ensure that the club has proper development structures.
“Philani remains the head coach of the Premier League team and there is Rosemary Mugadza, who’s in charge of the women’s side; Elvis Chiweshe is in charge of our academy side which is in Division One.
“Harrison will be in overall charge of our development projects from the Under-13 to the academy side which is the Under-19s in Division One.
“Our vision is that we need to have proper structures so that we will develop our own players.
“Once this structure is in place, there will be no need for us to buy players from other teams.”
Masepe, however, defended the Sunshine Boys’ decision to appoint Harrison, who played as a goalkeeper for Southampton and Stoke City in England, at a time when there is an uproar regarding the team’s excessive budget.
“The council is a massive investor in sports. They have built stadia all over the city; we have Rufaro, Gwanzura and Dzivaresekwa Stadiums.
“They have also built swimming pools in almost every suburb from Mufakose to Mbare and this is big investment in sport.
“You cannot divorce this massive investment from the work we are doing at Harare City. For us sport is a necessity.
“Even the government has a stand-alone ministry for sports which receives a substantial amount from the budget and why don’t people complain about that?
“This clearly shows that sport is essential and for us as a local government body by our nature, we have to invest in sport. We cannot let these facilities sit idle when a lot of money was spent building them.
“Under our community services obligation, we have to capacitate residents’ recreational activities through sports.”
The Sunshine Boys’ boss said the Briton’s appointment will in the long run save the club a lot of money.
“Harrison is an experienced coach and he is well-travelled. We can also use his links in Europe to forge partnerships with other clubs,” Masepe said.
“Once he helps us put in the structures in place then very soon there will be no need for us to acquire players. We will be developing our own players and we might even end up selling those players abroad.
“The council has at least 32 schools across the city and we want to use these institutions as our nursery.”
Masepe added: “This is the first stage in building up a brand that will become attractive to sponsors. Sponsors will also see the value of the project that we are building at the club and they will be willing to come on board.”