Mark Harrison insists he only leaves a club when there has been a breach of contract. As he rolls up the sleeves to work at Township Rollers, it is clear he is already counting trophies that he will win and that his contract will be extended, going against the tradition of his short-spell undertakings. ONTAMETSE SUGAR reports
Township Rollers new coach Mark Harrison has rubbished suggestions that he is nomadic man and insisted on the task at hand - to take Rollers to the next level of professionalism. Harrison told Patriot Sports said that there have always been valid reasons for him to leave teams in short period of time, because mostly as a coach, he needs good working conditions in order to do his best. He said that he has always moved from one club to the other only because of breach of contract in one way or the other. He said that one thing that always ruins relationships between coaches and teams in Africa is because of the interference of the management in the selection of squad, which he said can then be a major problem. “After speaking to Jagdish Shah it doesn't seem to be that way here. He has already told me that he does not interfere in team selection,” he said. He referred to that relationship as the most vital one, because at the end of the day if there are no results it is the coach that is fired. He wants to be left to do things his own way so that he can be able to answer for the consequences himself.
Harrison said it is his ambition to make sure that he fulfils what Shah wants, which is to grow the team professionally. He revealed that he is open to share ideas with him, though some require finances. He said those steps that do not require finances will be implemented immediately, and work on the ones that require finances as they progress. Though he is aware that things cannot be done overnight, he knows that slowly they will get there. Being a player and a coach that was brought up in the UK, he revealed that he is used to running on a day to day basis, but he has seen that as a challenge in Africa because even in the big teams in South Africa where he has been, they can't just do that. What impressed him when he got to Rollers is just how organised everything looked; something that he said definitely proves what kind of businessman Shah is. “I was like if the chairman got all this, then he surely is a serious businessman who works hard,” he said. Rollers have entered into a 1-year short-term contract with him, which is performance based and also open to renewal for additional two-years.
He revealed he is looking forward to getting to know the players better. The British man, who has 38 years in active professional football both as a player and coach, said that he is positive that with the experience that he has he can help take the local team to another level. He said that his aim is to make sure that he wins trophies for the team. He shared that he is a very determined man who always want good results. He reiterated that with the time that he spent with the chairman of the team Jagdish Shah, his ambition and his seem to be on one note. He boasted that he is here in Botswana to be successful. “It is totally different from Zimbabwe where I am just coming from and I am happy to be here,” he said. On the style of play he prefers and coaches, he revealed that he plays possession football, but at the same time he makes sure that they do not conceive goals when doing that. He said it is all about enjoyment of the game because football is a game of entertainment. “I want us to put the ball on the grass, move the ball around and play highly technical possession football,” he said. In his days as a player one of the teams that he has played for is Stoke City, and as a coach he has coached Bristol City, Bangladesh national team, and in SA he has coached Mpumalanga Black Aces, Chippa United, Golden Arrows, and Caps United in Zimbabwe. He said with his vast experience of coaching around the world he is very sure that he can bring positive results to Rollers. He said that professionalism and honesty is what has kept him for 38 years in his career. He referred to football as the game of love that even his wife always joked that he loved football more than her. He said he believes in everything that he does and is very prepared to take the challenge ahead of him. He assured the fans that he is coming in to win with the biggest margins though he knows that other coaches will also want that more than him. He said that he is happy that he has about eight weeks to get to know the players so that they also understand his philosophy before the league starts. He said that he will also make sure that he has a great relationship with supporters because they are an imperative player in the game. “I am not fazed by anything but rather I am just excited,” he said.