Hartley had a promising career which never fulfilled its potential due to drug addiction, with the player having previously admitted to it himself. The Wits University product joined the Mother City outfit in 2002 following spells with Orlando Pirates and Moroka Swallows respectively. “When I joined Ajax, Gordon Igesund was the coach of the club.

Gordon had been the coach when I was at Pirates and waiting to be released, so he had insight into my ability… technical ability and commitment. He also had the background of the frustration that I had gone through and on what could have led to it. It was around the time I was addicted to ecstasy but people who know about ecstasy know that it’s not something that you can take every day,” said Hartley, speaking to the Siya crew.

*Are you enjoying our new online stadium? SNL24.com is Soccer Laduma’s new home. He said to me, ‘No problem, your ticket is at the airport and waiting for you already to fly down to Cape Town.’ I went to Cape Town, and I must say that the contract wasn’t as lucrative as the previous ones I had.

But the thing is I just wanted to play. For the first time in my life, I understood what people meant when they spoke of total football. Remember that at that time I had already been to overseas.

You can imagine what it could have done to benefit my career if I had the opportunity of learning such things when I started playing football,” he said. The first game I played for the club was against Sundowns at Newlands Stadium. We drew and I played well and got a Man of the Match award.

I went on to play 15 – 17 games in a row and it was the first time in my life that I did that at the highest level. I remember Khabo Zondo waiting for me in the tunnel after the game against Arrows to congratulate me on my performance. Khabo and I have known each other for years through football,” added the former crowd puller.

“Due to a disciplinary issue, I left the club. We had played a game in Jo’burg and I wanted to stay behind and thought that I would re-join the team in training the following Monday as we had already been given a day off for the Sunday. The team was flying back to Cape Town on Saturday, and I was sure that I would make it to training on Monday.

I insisted that I wanted to stay behind even though Gordon was against my idea of staying behind. Long story short, I stayed behind. When I later pitched for training, Gordon told me straight, ‘No chance, bro.’ He said he wasn’t protecting me or anybody.

That’s how my time with the club came to an end. It was so sad because based on my performances, it was one of my best seasons ever,” concluded Hartley. You must be [ to read and post comments.

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