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Shaun Bartlett planning to lead University of Pretoria back into the Absa Premiership

Posted: 1 August 2017 Time: 19:40

After missing out on promotion last season, University of Pretoria coach Shaun Bartlett is even more determined to get the club back into the top flight in the coming campaign.

The former Bafana Bafana striker feels the AmaTuks squad has what it takes to top the National First Division table, despite the challenges that come with coaching in South Africa’s second tier.

“Our goal is to be promoted to the PSL, not just to the playoffs, but that number-one spot. We know it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be tough. But at the end of the day, we think we’ve assembled a good enough squad to earn promotion,” Bartlett tells KickOff.com.

Bartlett will have to try win promotion without the man who captained the team last season, Sibusiso Mthethwa, who has moved to Platinum Stars.

“Our captain has moved on. His contract finished and he wanted to play in the PSL so he went to Platinum Stars,” the coach continues.

“We also had a couple of players on loan from Highlands Park and SuperSport United who had to go back to their parent clubs,” he says.

Bartlett, who enjoyed NFD success with Golden Arrows in 2015 when he led the KZN outfit to automatic promotion, is taking valuable lessons as a coach in the second tier.

“Obviously, you learn in the different divisions. I’ve been a couple of years now in the NFD, with Arrows before and with Tuks, so for me it’s about making sure I have good player and man-management. That is very important.”

Bartlett has been linked with the Bafana Bafana assistant coaching job but he denies having any contact with head coach Stuart Baxter.

“There are rumours going around mentioning a few names. Obviously, I’m being asked about it because I’m in the country and I’m coaching at the moment. That is something that they [Bafana] need to decide on as an organisation,” he says.

Right now, I’m just going ahead with my job, which is getting my club promoted to the PSL,” he explains.

AmaTuks’ first challenge in the new season will be hosting Mthatha Bucks on the 19th of August.

By Thaaqib Daniels

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