Harrison gets heave

2014-02-11 00:00

MARK Harrison yesterday became the latest PSL coach to be given the boot after he and Golden Arrows owner Mato Madlala reached a “mutual decision”.

Madlala and Harrison had been in talks over the weekend, discussing the Englishman’s future, and the coach was absent from the bench on Saturday during his side’s 3-2 win over Polokwane City at King Zwelithini Stadium.

Harrison replaced Manqoba Mngqithi in October last year, and he won two of his 10 games in charge as the club have failed to get off the foot of the table.

Madlala refused to comment to The Witness yesterday, instead referring us to her media officer Vusi Vilakazi.

“The team wasn’t doing well and we needed to know how the future of the club was going to be better,” Vilakazi said.

Bizarrely, Harrison was given the go-ahead to sign no fewer than seven new players over the Christmas break. His new-look squad were given just one game to prove their worth — a 2-0 loss at title-contending Mamelodi Sundowns last month.

Even more bizarrely, Vilakazi confirmed that the club had seen enough of the new signings to make up their minds about Harrison.

The coach said that he would be taking a few weeks out to contemplate his future.

“I need a bit of a rest, it has been pretty much non-stop for about three years now,” he said.

Assistant coaches Shaun Bartlett and Bheka Phakathi will take charge of the club until the end of the season, and Harrison said he has confidence that the club have what it takes to retain their PSL status for next season.

“In my opinion the squad now is good enough to stay in the PSL. There is enough depth and the quality of players means they should stay up by a mile,” he said. “I wish them all the best for the rest of the season.”

Harrison had come under fire for signing his son Ryan Harrison from Chippa United towards the end of last year, but both coach and club would not confirm that this issue had contributed to any decision.

“There will always be people that say things,” said Harrison.

“Ryan is his own man and he knew the deal before joining the club. He was signed for no reason other than his ability.”

Vilakazi confirmed that Ryan Harrison’s absence from the squad in Saturday’s match was due to a fractured thumb that he picked up at training on Friday.

“He will still be a part of the squad and he must fight to earn his place back,” said Vilakazi.

Veteran Arthur Bartman (41, who was one of Harrison’s January signings, started on Saturday and appears set to assume the number one jersey.

Arrows are next in action when they take on fellow relegation strugglers Free State Stars at Goble Park on Saturday.

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