Bartman looking forward to Chiefs reunion

Arthur Bartman, the Maritzburg United goalkeeper coach, is looking forward to his reunion with Kaizer Chiefs so soon after his retirement, but insists his loyalties are firmly behind his new club as they look to add more misery on the Soweto giants.

The 41-year-old spent four seasons at Naturena before hanging up his gloves at the end of last season - when his days as a player ended on a high following Amakhosi’s double winning campaign.

He was afforded a chance to make an instant return to the game in the city of his birth, returning to work under Ernst Middendorp at the Team of Choice where he has settled quickly after some showing some nerves early on.

“It’s good to be home and it’s a nice place to be starting with my coaching career, back home in the place I’ve been for most of my life,” he told about his first few months in the job. “I was nervous initially, but I’ve had a fantastic welcome from everyone here.

“From the players to the coaching staff, they’ve all been very good to me and I’m now settled in nicely.”

His arrival came after an emotional departure form Chiefs a few months earlier and he will travel back to the FNB Stadium with United for an Absa Premiership meeting on Saturday night.

“I only have special memories of Chiefs,” he recalls. “They’ll always be close to my heart, but I’m going there as part of the coaching staff of Maritzburg United now and will concentrate on my job at hand.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the club I am at, going there and hoping we can beat them to get the three points.”

Bartman has vast experience from his playing days with SuperSport United, Free State Stars and Moroka Swallows, all being amongst his previous clubs.

However, his role at Maritzburg is his first assignment as a coach and he is grateful for the opportunity.

“I’m an opportunist and not a lot of clubs will give a former player the chance to step in right away, especially in this kind of job,” he says. “So I’m just grateful for the platform. They gave me the opportunity and hopefully I can use it to the best of my ability. Hopefully I can grow with the club and we can help each other.”

United won their opening game of the season and that was followed by a loss and draw. Bartman is satisfied with the start and is confident they can now kick on against Chiefs.

“If we apply ourselves, we most certainly can beat them,” he added. “But we have to be wary of them in spite of those two defeats (in their last two games).

“They are a quality side and can score at any team. So we’ll have to be ready.”