‘I have unfinished business at Bosso’

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Godknows Matarutse
SPORTS WRITER
matarutseg@dailynews.co.zw

©️ HAVING developed a nomadic reputation in the past, English coach Mark Harrison has moved quickly to assure Highlanders fans that he will return to lead the Bulawayo giants once the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is over.

The Briton arrived at Bosso, where he presided over the Castle Challenge Cup final loss to FC Platinum, at the start of the year with the promise of returning them to their glory days.
His stay was, however, cut short after his two-year contract with the Bulawayo giants was “temporarily” suspended owing to the novel virus, which has had an unprecedented impact on the sporting world.
The pandemic has caused chaos in the global economy, with local football clubs also reeling from the meltdown.
And with Harrison sitting on a foreign currency-based contract it became unbearable for the club’s benefactors to continue bankrolling the coach’s salary.
While the assumption is that Harrison will immediately return to the club soon after things normalise, there were already growing fears among the club’s fans the former CAPS United and Harare City gaffer would no longer return owing to his reputation.
“I want to come back that’s for sure, one hundred percent. I’m desperate to return, I was enjoying working with Highlanders, the people there were great, I had a fantastic relationship with the executive, players and everybody,” Harrison told the Daily News shortly before his departure.
“We were excited about the season, truly excited but you also have to consider when business do start up again it’s not gonna be like it was when it ended. It’s gonna take two, three, four or five months for them to start generating money again.
“So, for the sponsors to bring me back they have to start generating money and again we don’t know how long it’s gonna take. It could be a month, it could be three months, we don’t know.
“We don’t know the answers to anything so we are just going to take one week at a time, one month at a time and see what happens. But the truth of the matter is that I want to come back, I want to work with Highlanders and finish the job I have just started.

“I feel I have an unfinished job there. We had big plans, we had exciting times ahead of us. You know, when I first came here, I spoke about winning the championship with Highlanders and that’s the way it is, I want to win the championship with Highlanders.

“We didn’t feel we were going to win it this year but we felt the second season we would be in a good position to challenge for the title and nothing has changed. I want to come back and do the job. Highlanders need to win the league; it’s been too long for the club.
“You can’t come in and change things overnight, it takes a little bit of time to make things work and if we were given that I’m sure we were going to succeed. I thought the players we had acquired would bring in something different to the club.”
Harrison said he will not be receiving any payment from the club during this period but that will not push him to look for another club elsewhere.
The 2020 season was supposed to have kicked off last month.
“No, not at all, I’m not paid during this period. I made a deal with the club, it’s basically suspension of the contract. I go sit at home in England instead of sitting here,” he said.
“People were already talking of me going somewhere, it’s ridiculous to say because nobody is hiring at the moment there is no football anywhere around the world, everybody is on hold…
“Look around the world and see what’s going on. There is Covid-19 and it’s killing people left, right and centre across the world and it’s not a game, it’s serious.
“Again, everybody’s business across the world has been affected…. Business has been shot down; they are not generating any income. And that goes for Highlanders as well as their sponsors.
“The fact of the matter is that the club had found a sponsor to bring me to Highlanders which was fantastic. But those sponsors’ business has been affected, they are not generating income. We are doing nothing in lockdown and it’s hard for them as it is for everybody.
“So, the sponsors, myself and the football club sat down in April and agreed I would take a 30 percent pay cut and we would review the situation again in May but obviously the lockdown has continued and it means we are inactive.”
Harrison continued: “Everybody is inactive, business is inactive, money generation is not happening. And they found it difficult to justify being able keep paying me to be sitting here doing nothing and at the same time not knowing when we will go back to training, not knowing when the league will start.
“The league could start in a month or two months, it could start in four or five months or maybe after 10 months, we don’t know, it’s an open end.
“So, in the end we sat down and we agreed financially it’s gonna be a lot better for the club if I returned to the UK.
“We made a deal for me to leave and go back to the UK and wait to see if things improve for the better and if it’s possible, for me to return and that’s the situation. I have a two-year contract…”

 

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