While he might be new to some football fans, Harrison is a familiar face to those who have been following South African Premier League soccer. They may remember him as the temperamental Englishman who arrived at Mpumalanga Black Aces in 2010 but left before the end of the year.
Since then he has been on the road, taking charge at African Warriors, Bay United, Chippa United, Golden Arrows and Black Leopards. At all these clubs, Harrison failed to spend at least 12 months.
He arrives at Rollers after spending four months at Zimbabwean giants CAPS United. He was quick to set the record straight as soon as he arrived in Gaborone, saying: “I’ve read somewhere in the local media that I’m nomadic. But that is not true because I only left after all these clubs failed to meet my expectations. For example, I left CAPS United because they had financial problems and my family was suffering. I came to a point where I could not compromise my personal needs anymore.”
He pointed out that he is an ambitious coach who wants to succeed and work where things are done in a professional manner, adding that he settled for Rollers because they share the same ambitions as his.
“I’ve met with the boss (Shah) and I can tell we share the same dreams. I want to win, but that can only be achieved when things are done professionally. So far I am impressed with what I’ve seen at Rollers,” said Harrison.
While coaching a big club like Mapalastina comes with a lot of pressure and expectations, especially from their hard-to-please supporters, the Englishman believes he will be able to live up to expectations because he has an ambition to win.
“When I applied for this job I knew that Rollers is a big club. I’m aware that they are used to winning and I am confident that I’ll deliver. I want to leave a legacy at Rollers and I’m confident that can be achieved,” added Harrison.
While he does not know much about Botswana football, Harrison is confident that he will get a massive support from his assistant Teenage Mpote who has been at the club for quite a long time. “Botswana football is not shown on any international television so it was difficult to follow it. I’ve no doubt that my technical team would be of great help when it comes to that,” the former CAPS United boss said.
After meeting with the club’s players, he pointed out that he has been impressed with what he has seen. He hinted that he would like to work with a squad of 25 players and he will cut them before the season resumes. “We’ve a big squad at the moment; fortunately we’ve two months before the season kicks off. I’ll be able to assess the players before finalising the squad. I would like to build a team which will play attractive football not forgetting results. It is important that supporters spend their money to watch a certain brand of football,” said Harrison.
The Englishman stressed that there will be no room for indiscipline in his squad. He pointed out that he expects his players to behave like professionals. “If they’re professionals and paid well, I expect them to respect the club too. I expect my players to be punctual and action will be taken against those who’ll be on the wrong side,” he said.
Rollers’ boss Jagdish Shah could not hide his excitement at landing the ‘big fish’. Shah said he has no doubt that Harrison will bring back the glory days again. “We wanted to bring someone with a clean mind and who hasn’t been involved in Botswana football politics before. I think he’ll be able to give all the players a fair chance,” said Shah. Harrison has penned a one-year contract which is result oriented. At the end of the season, Rollers have an option of extending the contract by two years if they are satisfied with the end result.