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SA SOCCER NEWS
Bafana Star Bartlett Quits 28/10/03
Charlton striker Shaun Bartlett has quit international football in a bid to lengthen his club career.

The former 'Bafana Bafana' skipper was constantly at the centre of a succession of club-versus-country rows and is hoping his decision to retire from the highest level will win him a new contract with the Premiership side.

Bartlett, who won 66 caps and scored an impressive 27 goals for his country, is out of contract at the end of the season and wants to impress his club sufficiently to secure a fresh deal.

"I'm in the last year of my contract and am playing for a new deal," he told the club's official website.

"I've spoken to the South African authorities and explained my decision. I told them it was time for me to concentrate on my club career.

"They tried to talk me round but I'd already made up my mind."

The 30-year-old would have missed at least three Premiership matches in January when South Africa participate in the African Nations Cup, and that is without even taking into account pre-tournament preparations.

He said: "The main thing is that the African Nations Cup is coming up again which could have been a real interruption to the season, and I didn't want a repeat of what happened last year.

"The only option for me was to retire so they couldn't call me up."

Addicks boss Alan Curbishley, who pushed Bartlett to quit international football, told Sky Sports: "We were in a ridiculous situation where he'd go missing for six weeks over Christmas.

"We said to Shaun it wasn't on. We pay his wages so asked what his priority was."

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