Clive Barker was not only the first Bafana Bafana coach to qualify for a FIFA World Cup but he also remains the only coach to win the Africa Cup of Nations in the history of the national team.
It was also during The Dog’s reign that South Africa achieved their highest FIFA ranking (16) to date and number one in Africa.
The consensus amongst football loving people of South Africa is that the 75-year-old was robbed of an opportunity to finish off what he had started in 1994, when he was forced to resign after the Confederations Cup in 1997, prior to France 1998.
Barker had qualified for South Africa’s first ever World Cup and had assembled one of the best national teams since re-admission to international football in 1992.
Although the class of ’98 in Burkina Faso led by Jomo Sono came close to emulating what Barker had achieved, the progress of South African football has hit a downward spiral since then.
“We failed Clive Barker’s legacy but we also failed South African football’s legacy in general,” Fish tells FARPost.
“In the sense that, if we go back to 1992 when we got re-admitted into international football, in the space of four years we won the biggest cup in the continent when we came from nowhere.
“Instead of backing the coach, let him carry on and go to the World Cup and he (Barker) should have been given that opportunity.
“Unfortunately when we talk about the national team coaches now since 1992 we have had close to what? 22 coaches? I even lost count of the different coaches coming in and out,” He said.
“Unfortunately even the legacy of players before, let’s talk about the Jomo Sonos or the ‘Ace’ Ntsoelengoes – those players that never had an opportunity to play for the country and what we have now. Do we have the continuation of the legacy for football? No. if you look at how our football is run, it is so negative and unfortunately it doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon,” concluded Fish.
The only other coach to help Bafana Bafana to a FIFA World Cup was Carlos Queiroz but was also fired before he could take them to South Korea and Japan and instead Jomo Sono took the team.
By Ofhani Munyai