The KwaZulu-Natal side got relegated at the end of last season and with four players remaining from the group that played in the PSL, Bartlett is delighted that the new players are showing hunger to get the team back where it belongs.
“I must be honest we have surprised a lot of people, but we’ve always had the belief and my players have shown over the last seven games that we are capable and willing to fight. Like you said, we’ve gone seven games unbeaten and we haven’t conceded a goal,” Bartlett tells KickOff.com.
“It is a good platform for us to continue and achieve our goal which is to get automatic promotion. We got to make sure we keep picking up the points,” he continues.
“From last season, we have about four players left and I’ve got a squad of about 35 players, so it gives you the number in terms of the new players that we had to bring in from the amateur ranks. We promoted some players from our development team and we brought in quite a few from the lower divisions and amateur clubs – it is a brand new team. It is a squad of young players and for me that has been the difference; the young players are willing to learn, they wanna achieve and they wanna have success and that has made my job a lot easier.”
So what’s been the motivation?
“The NFD is very difficult and I said to someone on Saturday that this is not the League where you have to go and play pretty football - that’s not gonna get you points on the board. That’s the NFD and you have to travel far distances, drive six hours and get to the match venue, where maybe the pitch conditions are not the best. That’s probably the motivation I keep giving my players, because we are very fortunate to be training right opposite Moses Mabhida Stadium and I keep telling them, that stadium over there is where we want to play next season. The NFD is not the League where you want to spend more than one season,” Bartlett concludes.
Most of Arrows’ players were born in 1993/94 with the youngest being midfielder Sekela Sithole, who was born on 24 September 1996.