Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
NEWLY appointed Highlanders head coach Mark Harrison holds the key to players that will be promoted from Bosso 90 to the senior team in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.
The Briton jetted into the country last Friday and is waiting for a work permit to officially start his duties as head of the Bosso technical staff.
Harrison revealed that he is a “firm believer” in young talent, giving hope to players that impressed for Highlanders’ development side Bosso 90 in the Southern Region Division One League in which they finished sixth in last year’s campaign.
“I’m a firm believer in young talent and this was our philosophy when I was at Harare City. When we played Highlanders (November 4, 2018, which Harare City lost 2-0 at Barbourfields Stadium), the average age in our team was 21. If there are talented players within Highlanders’ junior ranks, I won’t hesitate to field them. I won’t throw them to the deep end, but will introduce them gradually,” said Harrison.
Last season Highlanders only promoted goalkeeper Erick Nyathi to the senior team.
Players that have been consistent performers for Bosso 90 and waiting to break into the first team include 23-year-old attacking midfielder Dominic Jaricha and 20-year-old defensive midfielder Darlington Munkuli, who were voted among the 2019 Zifa Southern Region Division One League’s best 11.
Striker Dalubuhle Dlodlo, who turns 21 soon, attacking midfielder Donet Focho (21), Archford Faira (19), who can play at left-back or as a left linkman, and defender Cardwell Gavaza (22) are some of the players likely to be recommended to train with the first team during pre-season.
Highlanders have also recalled 23-year-old central midfielder Brian Jaravaza and 24-year-old forward Muziwakhe Dlamini from loan at First Division side Ciwu. Dlamini was also among the 2019 Zifa Southern Region Division One League’s best 11.
Bosso once had a vibrant junior policy that produced some of the country’s top players. That policy was somehow abandoned midstream and the club only moved to retrace its footsteps from the beginning of the 2018 season.
Defender Andrew Mbeba, who turns 20 next month, is a recent product of the club’s revived juniors policy and was voted the 2019 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Rookie of the Year only in his second year in the topflight league.
“The development coach (Melusi Sibanda) will recommend players to work with the first team and they’ll be assessed during pre-season training. Some players that were loaned out have been recalled for assessment by the technical manager, who will decide whether to promote certain players or not,” said Ronald Moyo, Highlanders’ spokesperson.
Concerns have been raised in the past by some Highlanders members, who feel the club is incurring “unnecessary expenses” by funding the Bosso 90 project, which they claim is failing in its role as a feeder to the senior team.
Mbeba shot straight into the first team from the Under-18s, while left-back Mbongeni Ndlovu and defender Charlton Siamalonga were the only players promoted to the first team from Bosso 90 in 2018. — @ZililoR.