Clive Barker can still take Bafana Bafana to Russia 2018 World Cup

Thandisizwe Mgudlwa

With two games to spare in the World Cup qualifying group, Bafana Bafana sit at the bottom of Group D with four points.

To be on the safe side, they would need all the 6 points they can get in the last two matches of the qualifiers if they hope to participate in next year’s Soccer World Cup in Russia.

The other teams in the group have to draw while Bafana Bafana need to win and end with 10 points.

But there is a twist. South Africa’s win over Senegal has been declared null and void by FIFA, and the match will be replayed. Thats three points replaced by an uncertain replay.

The South African Football Association demonstrated lack of perspective when they rehired Stuart Baxter, who previously failed to help Bafana Bafana qualify for the 2006 World Cup held in Germany.

Since his return, he has gone back to his old tricks, failing to win the COSAFA Cup and to qualify for next years CHAN tournament.

Within a space of days he lost to little Cape Verde 2-1 both away and at home.

Now it would make sense for SAFA, (if they have any logic), to reappoint the most successful coach to have mentored Bafana Bafana before.

And that person is Clive William Barker.

Clive Barker is one of South Africa’s most successful coaches, having won league and cup titles at club level and having led South Africa to African Cup of Nations glory in 1996.

He was the first South African coach in to qualify for the the World Cup. (Held in France 1998)

He is now well into his fourth decade as a professional coach and offers a wealth of experience at both club and national level.

As a player he had a distinguished career at Durban City and Durban United, making his professional debut at just 17 years of age. Barker was on the verge of signing for Leicester in England but a serious knee injury put pay to his playing career.

In 1973 he started his coaching career with amateur team Fynnlands, before joining the professional ranks with AmaZulu in 1974.

In 1976 he won his first title, as Pinetown Celtic won the NFL Second Division league championship and promotion to the top flight. He returned to the amateur ranks a year later with Juventus.

Between 1981 and 1983 he coached a highly successful Durban City side, which won the National Soccer League tile in 1982 and successfully defended the title a year later.

The league titles elevated him into the national spotlight and he was enticed away from the club to join city rivals Durban Bush Bucks. And in 1984 he won his third league title in three years.

Over the next 10 seasons he would coach at AmaZulu elevating the side into a dominate league-contender. While the league title would elude him he won the Coca-Cola Cup in 1992.

In 1992, South Africa returned to the international fold after years of isolation and received a rude awakening suffering crushing defeats to Nigeria and Zimbabwe in official World Cup and Nations Cup qualifiers.

In 1994 Clive was given the reigns and quickly turned their fortunes around, establishing the team as an African powerhouse, easily topping their 1996 Nations Cup qualifying group.

South Africa were awarded the rights to host the tournament after initial hosts Kenya withdrew and the team went on to win the tournament on home soil, beating Tunisia 2-0 in the final.

The team rose to the number one ranked team in Africa and the topped at 16 in FIFA’s World Ranking system, holding their own against the likes of Germany, Holland, Czech Republic, France and Argentina.

In 1997 famously led a star-studded Brazil 2-0 at half time, before succumbing 3-2 at the final whistle. They went on to qualify for the 1998 World Cup in France.

As African champions South Africa took part in the Confederations Cup, but administrative bungling saw second-string teams compete in the warm up matches and the tournament itself. Losses to UAE and Uruguay saw SAFA place pressure on Clive to resign, which he did.

It must also be remembered that in 1996 Bafana Bafana under Clive Barker were awarded by FIFA ‘Best Mover of the Year Award.

The national team has since than been on a downward spiral, and unlikely to reach the same heights again.

After returning to AmaZulu in 1998, Clive joined Santos two years later and won the Bob Save SuperBowl with the Cape Town team in 2001, beating Sundowns in the final.

Stints with Zulu Royals, Manning Rangers, Santos and AmaZulu followed before he took a back seat from coaching in 2010 and acted in a technical director role at AmaZulu.

At the beginning of 2013 he was enticed out of semi-retirement to take charge at Bidvest Wits, helping them finished an impressive fourth on the Absa Premiership table.

At the beginning of the 2013/14 season he joined Black Aces, finishing in seventh position, and qualifying the team for the lucrative MTN Top8 competition.

The following season he took on a role as development coach for the club overseeing the junior structures

He is considered the father of coaching, with a recent Kick Off Magazine report highlighting the fact that more than 70 percent of the players that were capped at national level under him have remained in the football, as coaches and administrators.

Club coaches such as Clinton Larsen (Golden Arrows), Steve Komphela (Kaizer Chiefs), Gavin Hunt (Wits), Eric Tinkler (Supersport United) Shaun Bartlett (Tuks) and Andre Arendse (goalkeeper coach at Wits) all played under Clive at some stage and recognize Clive’s coaching style as an inspiration to their own coaching careers.

SAFA bring back Barker now and stop the jealousy.

  • `Khuluma Afrika