Johannesburg – Golden Arrows boss Shaun Bartlett is adamant his side will fight all the way to the end of the season to ensure they avoid relegation to the National First Division next season.
Arrows suffered their 18th defeat of the season after going down 2-0 to Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Wednesday evening.
But despite occupying last place in the Premiership standings, the former Bafana Bafana striker felt confident of picking up more points and lifting his Durban outfit off the foot of the table.
“We still have quite a few games to go and I have to make sure that I re-instil that confidence in the players and the self-belief that we can still survive this fight,” Bartlett said after the game.
“I’ve got to continue with my battle as far as keeping this club in the Premiership, there are a lot of points still up for grabs.
“My priority is to make sure that we close the gap between ourselves and Polokwane City.”
Second half goals from Erick Mathoho and Kingston Nkhatha helped Kaizer Chiefs restore a three point lead at the top of the Premiership table, lifting the Soweto giants to 52 points, some 39
ahead of their opponents in the basement of the table.
Before the start of the game, the Arrows hierarchy seemed to have lost patience with Bartlett in charge, hinting that a poor result against Chiefs could result in his dismissal.
Bartlett, however, believes getting rid of him as head coach would not be a smart move for the coastal strugglers.
“That’s something that always happens in South African soccer. Every coach will always be under pressure.
“Whether 1/8firing me 3/8 will make a massive difference now, at this time of the season, I don’t think so.
“I have to continue working with this squad that I’ve inherited and make sure that we can work on some aspects of the game that we’re lacking at the moment.”
Wednesday’s disappointment marked the first of three games away from home for Bartlett and his troops, with tricky away fixtures against KwaZulu-Natal neighbours Maritzburg United, as well as Ajax Cape Town looming large for the team many believe are destined to get the axe at the end of the season.
“I can’t see why we can’t get points away from home. We’ve got to utilise what we have in our squad and see if I can make some changes on the weekend to get a positive result 1/8against Maritzburg 3/8,” a defiant Bartlett added.
The defeat to Chiefs was Arrows’ sixth in succession, leaving them just seven games to close the seven point margin between themselves and 15th-placed City. – Sapa