Shaun Bartlett: Sharpshooter

Shaun Bartlett: Sharpshooter

Player Profile: Shaun Bartlett

Date of Birth: 31 October 1972
National Team:
South Africa
International Caps:
International Goals:

Club Career

Shaun Bartlett was the spearhead of the South African national team for a decade. A skilful striker, Bartlett’s talent led him to stints in America, Europe and the British Isles.

It all started in the late 1980s, early ‘90s as Bartlett spent his early years playing youth football, first for Norway Parks and then Cape Town-based side, Vasco da Gama. Bartlett’s undoubted talent saw him quickly snapped up by Cape Town Spurs, a team plying their trade in the premier division of South African football.

That was in 1992 and for the next three years, Bartlett showed that he certainly had an eye for goal, with 48 goals in 116 appearances for the club. His time with Cape Town Spurs brought silverware as well as the club won the league title in 1995 as well as a cup, the Bob Save Superbowl in the same year.

His ability saw international scouts start to take an interest in Bartlett and in 1996, a move to the Major Soccer League in the United States followed when he was signed by the Colorado Rapids. He stayed at the Rapids for a season, scoring nine goals in 36 league appearances before moving to another MLS franchise, MetroStars.

Again, Bartlett only spent a year with the MetroStars, playing 13 times in the league and scoring just 2 goals. He returned on loan to Cape Town Spurs where he turned out in 18 league games, netting eight goals.

Bartlett was then loaned out to FC Zurich in the Swiss League. After a couple of seasons of moving clubs, he had now found a home. Bartlett remained at Zurich from 1997 to 2000. During that period, he helped the club to the Swiss Cup in 1999/2000 season. All-in-all, Bartlett played 77 league games for Zurich and found himself on the scoresheet on 27 occasions.

And then came the move to perhaps the strongest league in the world – the English Premiership, with Charlton paying 3 million euros for his services in 2001, after he had spent some part of the previous season on loan at the club. 

Bartlett, who joined up with fellow South African international, Mark Fish, might not have been the most prolific striker while at the English club but he showed his an  ability to hold the ball up and bring others into play. He soon became a regular under long-standing manager, Alan Curbishley.

One of his goals, a first-time volley from a long diagonal pass that came over his right-shoulder is remembered by Charlton fans still to this day. It came against Leicester City in the 2000/2001 season and was voted the Premier League Goal of the Season by the influential BBC television program, Match of the Day.

Bartlett stayed at the club till 2006 playing 123 times for in the Premier League and scoring 24 goals. After he was released that year, he returned to his native South Africa where he turned out for glamour club, Kaizer Chiefs from 2006 to 2008, scoring 11 goals in 31 appearances.

While with Chiefs, Bartlett won the MTN 8 and the Telkom Knockout Cup. He couldn’t quite help Chiefs land the league title, however.

Bartlett’s final move in South Africa saw him turn out on just eight occasions for Bloemfontein Celtic after coming out of retirement. That was in 2009 and he soon hung up his boots for good after that.

International Career

The second highest goal scorer in international football for South Africa – behind Benni McCarthy – Bartlett netted 28 international goals in 74 appearances.

Bartlett played his first game for the national side in 1995 and was part of the victorious South African team that won the 1996 African Cup of Nations. He also played in the 1998 and 2000 tournaments as well as the Soccer World Cup in France that year where he netted two goals during the competition. Both came in a 2-2 draw with Saudi Arabia.

His final goal for South Africa came in 2005 in a 4-2 loss in a friendly with Germany.

Where is Shaun Bartlett now?

After retiring, Bartlett has remained in soccer, both in a coaching role as well as a TV pundit at times.

In 2012, he was appointed as the assistant manager at Golden Arrows before taking over the reins later on at the club. Despite helping the club get promoted, he was sacked.

He then managed Tuks in 2016 and remained with the club until 2018. At the end of that year, Bartlett returned to Chiefs as the assistant manager, a post he still holds today.

Did you know? Interesting facts about Shaun Bartlett

– During the 2000 African Nations Cup, Bartlett was in prolific goal scoring form. In fact, his five goals during the tournament made him the leading scoring ahead of the likes of Samuel Eto’o, Hossam Hassan and Jay-Jay Okocha.

– By all accounts, Bartlett was excellent at another sport loved in South Africa – cricket.

– He was one of the first players to play in Major League Soccer when he moved to Colorado Rapids in 1996. It was the first year of the new competition.