Harrison has a point, but expectation high

Harrison has a point, but expectation high

There were electrifying sights and sounds at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on that December 17 afternoon last year when Mighty Mukuru Wanderers ended their three-year silverware drought by winning the Airtel Top 8.

That they won the tournament  after beating their fierce rivals Nyasa Big Bullets in post-match penalties was the stuff  of footballing fantasy.

The Nomads also won the tournament without conceding a goal, adding extra spice to their feat as they bathed in the sunshine glory.

The man behind their revival, Mark Harrison, appeared to be floating on air.

Nomads players celebrate after a recent victory

But after all the excitement had died down, the Briton said despite the Airtel Top 8 success, the Nomads still had a long way to go.

The 62-year-old tactician, who doubles as technical director, said the Nomads needed to strengthen their squad dramatically if they were going to challenge Bullets’ superiority next season.

He said: “We still have a long way to go. Of course, it is not a hopeless situation, but we got work to do.”

Harrison, who has coached a number of top teams in Southern Africa, said while there was excellent potential at Wanderers, the squad wasn’t good enough.

“There is no depth, we need to be able to rotate the squad,” he said.

And so, at the end of last season, he made recommendations on which players he wanted and the club’s president Thomson mpinganjira responded by giving him an open cheque, leading to the acquisition of all the coach’s targets.

And the message from the business mogul and philanthropist was loud and clear: “We have signed all the players that they [technical panel] recommended and we expect nothing short of the league title and at least a cup or two next season. No excuses.”

They have signed red-hot winger Gaddie Chirwa from Blue Eagles, goalkeeper Dalitso Khungwa and defender Emmanuel Nyirenda from Mighty Wakawaka Tigers, midfielder Mphatso Kamanga from Karonga United, striker Christopher Kumwembe from Civil Service United and, more recently, defender Lawrence Chaziya from Jordan top-flight outfit Al Hussein Irbid.

But Harrison has changed his tune, saying there should not be an aweful lot of expectation.

He said: “I still maintain that it will take us a while to reach Bullets’ level. We should not raise our expectations very high as we are still in the transition process.

“It’s not just about having quality players. The next step is to get the players adapt to the style that I want. It’s about changing their mindset to suit my system and it won’t come tomorrow morning.

“Obviously, it will take a bit of time to get them gelled whereas Bullets are already in that groove.”

On how long the process could take, the Nomads tactician said: “I am not sure, it could take three months or six.

“I am not denying that we have a very good squad now. We have a deep squad, but we will have to be realistic in our expectations.”

So, yes, while there is an awful lot of expectation after the Nomads’ impressive showing towards the end of last season, coupled with the acquisition of quality players, Harrison is right as the players need to gel and it certainly won’t happen overnight.

Whatever the case, Harrison has been given the tools and  he has to deliver as that is what he was hired for and the big shots at Lali Lubani Road will be desperate for results.

The post Harrison has a point, but expectation high first appeared on The Nation Online.

The post Harrison has a point, but expectation high appeared first on The Nation Online.

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