Ryan opens up on Hre City move

HARARE - The desire to see his father’s project become a success and hunger for new challenges, pushed goalkeeper Ryan Harrison to sign for Castle Lager Premiership side — Harare City.

While most local players aspire to play in South Africa’s Absa Premiership or anywhere outside Zimbabwe, for Ryan, it’s the other way round.

For him what’s more important at this stage of his career is to share the experience he got and probably inspire youngsters especially at his new home at the Sunshine Boys.

The 32-year-old previously played for Swansea City in England and South African sides Bidvest Wits and Golden Arrows before relocating to Zimbabwe to link with his father Mark at the Sunshine Boys.

“A lot of players here in Zimbabwe want to go and play in SA and Europe but for me I have experienced all of that,” Ryan revealed to the Daily News on Sunday.

“I know what it takes to succeed if you like or to get to that kind of level so I am hoping I can pass on that experience to players around especially at Harare City given the direction they want to go on developing young players.

“So I feel I can be part of that and offer that knowledge and experience which I have gained as a player. I am also here to learn as much as anybody else. I started my career in England, played for Swansea and a couple of teams in between before moving to South Africa.

“I played in PSL for Wits and Arrows and enjoyed my time there for about seven years roughly. God gave me the opportunity to come here and try something different. I hope to offer what I have learnt over the years to other people.”

For Ryan, the list of people who helped him shape his career is a long one, from friends to youth coaches.

But, one man who played the most instrumental role in helping him navigate the pressures of the sport is his father, Mark himself a former goalkeeper too.

“I have learnt a lot from my dad. I was embroiled in that life since day one, I woke up into the world when he was playing and shortly after that he started coaching, so most of it I learnt from him at a young age,” Ryan said.

“He also never put any pressure on me since I was young. He allowed me to choose my own path and make my own decisions for my future. However, there was no other way for me other than football since I was at school. So yeah, I have learnt a lot over the years.”

Ryan’s father apparently arrived at City last year having been engaged to take the club to a new level especially following his heroics during the short but eventful stint with CAPS United in 2015 before off the field troubles forced him to leave for Botswana where he proceeded to lift the league title with Township Rollers that same year.

The Briton, a holder of Uefa A, Caf A and Diploma in Football Management was then tasked to lead the team this year following the sacking of Philani “Beefy” Ncube.

Ncube was shown the exit door after the team was relegated at the end of last season only to be thrown a lifeline after How Mine, who went through difficult financial challenges last season, gave up their franchise.

Mark opened his account as City coach with an encouraging goalless draw against former club CAPS United.

Ryan, who is still waiting for his reverse international clearance, is already training hard every day to make sure he is ready to play an important role.

“If given an opportunity to play I would love to do my best and help the team move forward. I am here to play, not to sit around and make friends. I’m here to do well. I want to succeed because I am a professional that’s always my drive,” Ryan said.

“I hate losing. I hate conceding goals even it’s not my fault. I think my team-mates have seen that already. I always want to win.”

Ryan, however, feels working with his father brings complications.

“I think working with my dad comes with complications rather. But I am a professional the same as he. It’s very easy for people to assume that I might get favourable treatment. It’s very easy to assume. But I would want to try work hard and eliminate that,” Ryan laments.

“There is no disrespect on the training field from myself towards the coach because we have a relationship beyond the field. On the field I am a player, he is the coach, that’s how it works.

“I think we both bring a level of professionalism and it can’t really be questioned. Our approach is professional and I don’t think there is going to be special treatment for anybody.

“I believe for one to play you really need to work hard and prove yourself, it’s the same way in England and everywhere. I can’t sit back and relax in training because it’s not how it works.”

Reflecting on his career, Ryan does not have any regrets.

“I think you can always look at your career and feel there are things that you could have done better. I have been lucky enough to have longevity, have a rather relatively injury-free career up to now,” he said.

“I have had problems here and there but I don’t think regret is the word I would want to use to describe anything. I have enjoyed my time as a player. I have enjoyed the experience.

“There are always things you look back on and times where situations maybe didn’t go your way and you say to yourself ‘I could have done this or didn’t say that’ probably things could have come different that time.

“But I believe you live by the decisions you make so to look back and regret is the wrong thing.”

On his future Ryan is not closing the door to other opportunities in the future.

“The thing with football is that you never know what tomorrow brings. We all know the unfortunate story of a member of CAPS United (Hardlife Zvirekwi). It was something that we can’t control or change and I wish him all the best hope that he recovers and play the game,” he said.

“It’s something difficult and you never know what tomorrow brings. So one way you would rather keep your options open and take it one step at a time.”

Mark believes his son is coming with experience that can benefit a lot of youngsters at the club.

“I think he will play a big part,” the City coach said.

“He is coming with a lot of experience and I think that will bring a lot of stability to the team. He played in the UK and had also some good seven or eight years in South Africa. He is 32 now and probably looking to end his career.

“But he is a great professional who will influence a lot of youngsters at the club in a good manner. But obviously we also need to manage him because he needs to learn first.”

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