Harrison raises fitness concerns


HIGHLANDERS coach Mark Harrison will measure the strength of his squad ahead of the Castle Challenge Cup against FC Platinum next month, and the league with a planned friendly match against Black Rhinos at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.


Harrison yesterday said the players were adapting to his philosophy, but he fears his team may play underdogs to FC Platinum on match fitness, with the Zvishavane-based side having been active in the Caf Champions League.

“We are shaping up; everything is going on well. We are trying to organise a friendly match against Black Rhinos on Sunday just to pick up on our style of play. The application has been top class so far. With the pre-season it’s all about implementing my style of play and we have to work hard on match fitness. We have a game against FC Platinum (the Castle Challenge Cup) and they have an advantage over us because they have been active. We will try to have as many of those friendlies,” Harrison said.

The Castle Challenge Cup match will be played on March 14.

On arrival in the country in January, the Briton, who has declared he wants to compete for the league title, said he had come to bring his style of play to Highlanders which is keeping the ball on the ground, moving it, being creative and entertaining.

“People pay good money to watch the team, so we need to entertain them at the same time win games and put Highlanders where they need to be, at the top of the league.”

Harrison is still hopeful of capturing five players who are training with the club who include Mkhokheli Dube, Michelle Katsvairo, goalkeeper Chris Mverechena, defender Collin Mujuru as well as former Bulawayo City striker Humphrey Ncube.

Highlanders retained most of their players, save for MacClive Phiri and Denzel Khumalo, who left as free agents after their contracts expired with the former debuting for South African side Bidvest Wits when they bundled out Chippa United from the Nedbank Cup on Monday night while the latter crossed the floor to FC Platinum.

They released Zambian forward Peter Nyirenda, Russell Chifura, Vincent Moyo, Ben Musaka, Munyaradzi Chitambwe, while Mbekezeli Sibanda and Wellington Muuya left on their own.

Last Friday, Highlanders played a training match with Talen Vision and club spokesperson Ronald Moyo said they were organising more friendly matches.

“This (Black Rhinos) is one of the friendly games. After that, we will be organising more but that will depend on the availability of the teams. Black Rhinos said they are available for this weekend. The game has not been cleared as yet,” Moyo said.