Bartlett joins Bafana, Baxter calls for more legends

Shaun Bartlett (Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

Shaun Bartlett (Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

Footballing legend Shaun Bartlett is joining the national team’s coaching staff, head coach Stuart Baxter confirmed on Monday.

Players have been flying in from around the world since the weekend and the squad is now almost fully assembled ahead of the crucial Afcon qualifier double-header against Seychelles.

Speaking from Bafana Bafana’s hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg, Baxter elaborated on the decision to bring in the former Charlton Athletic and Kaizer Chiefs striker.

“People like Shaun and Andre [Arendse] have the experience and we want them to match that experience with knowledge and their coach education,” he said.

“It would delight me if some of these players from the past invested in their future, and it would delight me to draft in even more because I think we have such an untapped reservoir of experience. Once that is turned into the ability to communicate then I think there is a lot we can benefit from.

“That’s what I’m beating the drum for, and I hope we as an organisation can follow.”

Bartlett, with 29 goals in 74 appearances, trails only Benni McCarthy in Bafana’s all-time goalscorer list. He also enjoyed an exciting club career, representing teams across South Africa and turning out for sides in the US, Switzerland and England.

For now, Baxter said, his contract will be on “a game-by-game basis, this will give us a chance at first to see if he likes us and if we in turn like him”.

South Africa take on Seychelles at FNB Stadium on Saturday before travelling to Victoria, their capital, on Tuesday.

Luke Feltham

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