Apr 18, 2024

“The biggest difference compared to the PSL that I noticed was how physical the league is here”: Former Maritzburg United Goalkeeper Jethren Barr shares experience of playing in Northern Ireland league

Jethren Barr

Former Maritzburg United goalkeeper, Jethren Barr, currently playing his trade at Portadown FC in the Northern Ireland Football League, has revealed to Africa Newz his experience in adapting to playing in Northern Ireland.

Jethren Barr, 26, has told Africa Newz that he has found his time playing in the Northern Ireland Football League more physical than it was during his Maritzburg United playing days in the PSL.

” When I first arrived here, the biggest difference compared to the PSL that I noticed was how physical the league is here. The players are a lot taller and very aggressive, set pieces play a big role in this league and their finishing is also very good. Here the young players are trained to hit the back of the net from the age of 5,” Barr said.

The former South Africa U20 goalkeeper revealed that he has had to improve a lot in his physical presence in the box as he had to deal with “6ft6, 6ft7” strikers for Ariel balls.

Barr has been a mainstay in the Portadown FC goal since his arrival at the club as a free agent in the 2021/22 season and has been a key player for the club in their bid to stay in the top flight of Northern Ireland football making 30 appearances across all competitions.

The Portadown FC first choice goalkeeper, whose contract expires in June this year, had attracted interest from a club in the league but Portadown FC considered the player to be untouchable in their bid for NIFL survival. Portadown FC currently sit in 11th place (second last place) in the Danske Bank Premiership.