Maties Football host breakfast with Shaun Bartlett

Maties Football hosted a fundraising event where former Bafana Bafana footballer Shaun Bartlett shared his experience and insights on his football career both as a player and how he later transitioned into the role of a coach.  

South African football legend Shaun Bartlett has had an illustrious career both as a player and as a coach. He started his playing career in 1992 with Cape Town Spurs, and went on to play for some of the biggest clubs in Europe, including Feyenoord and Charlton Athletic. In 2002, he returned to South Africa to play for the national team, and retired from professional soccer in 2004. Since then, he has become a successful coach, first with Ajax Cape Town and most recently with Cape Town Spurs.  

As head coach of AmaZulu F.C. and Cape Town Spurs, Bartlett led both teams to promotion to the South African Premier Soccer League (PSL). As a coach, Shaun Bartlett has achieved a number of accolades and awards, including being named the Coach of the Year by the Premier Soccer League, the South African Football Association, the African Football Confederation, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee. He has also led teams to success in domestic and international competitions.  

Chief Director at Maties Sport, Ilhaam Groenewald said, “The purpose of the event, whilst as an effort to fundraise, is more to create spaces where we as football and sport communities can connect and develop meaningful partnerships that will allow us to further boost our football programme, with as aligned to our Maties Sport Vision ‘To be a leading university, contributing towards a holistic and diverse experience through sport.’” 

Maties Football has 800+ campus sport members, now boasting more members than netball, hockey and rugby as per Maties Sport recent updated membership data. Lesley van Rooi, Maties Football Chairperson echoed the club’s excitement in having a world-renowned player and coach in football make time for an event of such magnitude. “Shaun remains an example and an inspiration to many South Africans. It is an honour for our club and university to host him as speaker, thought leader and sportsman,” he said.  

Some key insights from Bartlett’s talk included:  

Bartlett attests that there is an importance of writing things down as a reminder about where you are going. Bartlett had 3 goals he wrote down at the age of 10:  

  • To become a professional footballer 
  • Appear on TV 
  • Play in England 

All three were seamlessly achieved in his career as a player and is a true testament of his dedication to his goals.  

Putting his coach’s hat on Bartlett shared his advice to young players in the audience saying, “Your responsibility as a player is to be better than what you were the day before. Your effort is not a sacrifice but an investment so that you are able to progress and reach your goals,” Bartlett remarked.   

An true inspiration on and off the pitch, Bartlett has remained true to his character which he regards ‘will protect your life’. The 51-year-old still has dreams of coaching Bafana Bafana and in Europe but also hopes to help another local team gain promotion to the PSL. The biggest lesson that can be learnt from the star is to never stop dreaming and have tunnel vision for your goals.  

As the event came to an end, Ellroy Smith, Sport Manager for Football said: “It was indeed an honour and privilege to have hosted a South African icon but most importantly an immensely humble human being in such a stature of Shaun Bartlett, I think his humility supersedes his fame. In his own words I believe his character has been protecting him, I believe people were inspired by his story and his knowledge which was shared with our guests.” 

A big thank you to Shaun Bartlett for an enriching morning and engagement with the local students and coaches of the Winelands! 

By Kimara Singh