Tributes pour in for Barker ‘who brought excitement to football’

todayJune 12, 2023 52

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South Africa continues to pay tribute to the man who led the South African men’s senior national team to the Africa Cup of Nations title in 1996, Clive Barker.

The much-loved Africa Cup of Nations-winning coach passed away on Saturday after a battle with Lewy Body Dementia (LBD).

This type of dementia is caused by clumps of protein forming inside brain cells and can affect a person’s ability to think and process information. It can also negatively impact memory and alter personality.

“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the medical professionals who cared for Clive over the past six months,” the Barker family has said.

“He fought a brave battle and we are relieved he is now at peace.”

The 78-year-old Barker is credited with building a strong administration for his team and the captains.

Affectionately known as Clive ‘The Dog’ Barker, the former coach also spearheaded the country’s first appearance at the FIFA World Cup in France in 1998.

South African Football Association (SAFA) President, Dr Danny Jordaan, has described his passing as a huge blow.

“We are saddened by the passing of Clive Barker after a long illness,” the SAFA President said.

“Bafana Bafana winning the African Cup of Nations with a South African coach at the helm is still one of the standout moments in the history of African football. Clive Barker signaled the takeoff of Bafana Bafana to become the champion of Africa. He celebrated continuously on the touchline, spreading out his wings.”

SAFA says he is the only coach that had the entire Bafana Bafana team composed of foreign-based players, playing in the best leagues in Europe.

Sporting icon, Lucas Radebe, has also paid tribute to the giant.


Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Zizi Kodwa, says the life of legendary AFCON winning coach must be celebrated, as he played a pivotal role in uniting South Africans through sports.

The Minister is among a high-level delegation that visited the Barker home in Durban today.

The details of his memorial service are yet to be released.

The Barker family has meanwhile requested for their privacy to be respected as they mourn the legend’s passing.

Written by: Lindiwe Mabena

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