Not enough was done to honour Clive Barker: Doctor Khumalo

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South Africa failed to honour the late Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker while he was still alive, that’s the sentiments of former Bafana Bafana player Doctor Khumalo.

Khumalo joined other soccer legends at Barker’s funeral service in Durban. He was granted a special provincial official funeral.

Barker remains the only South African coach to have won a major title with Bafana Bafana, the African Cup of Nations and also led the team to qualifying for their first FIFA World Cup in 1998.

Clive Barker’s decorated coaching career includes leading a number of KwaZulu-Natal based clubs, Durban City, Durban Bushbucks, Manning Rangers and AmaZulu.

He went further to coach the Bafana Bafana team that won 1996 African Cup of Nations. Two years later, in 1998 the national side qualified for the FIFA World Cup under his watch.

Former Bafana Bafana players paid emotional tributes. Many could not hold back their tears.

However, Doctor Khumalo says South Africa simply did not honour Barker while he was still alive.

“This is not just a coach that we bid farewell to, he is a father figure to many soccer players or former players. I just want to say that this man deserved better, we should have acknowledged him whilst he was still alive. If anyone in this hall can tell me who achieved much as Clive did then I will agree but at the moment I strongly believe that we failed him as a nation. Not only 1996 players managed to go on to greener pastures but I would love to say to Clive thank very much for putting smiles in all South African faces.”

Similarly former Bafana Bafana captain Neil Tovey highlighted Barker’s attention to being a father figure to many players.

“When we came into camp the environment was one of pure joy and happiness. And when you got enjoyment in your life you were certainly going to do it to the best of your ability you were going to play better. In 1992 to 1994 there was a Bafana team that was made up with club players that had been playing against each other and then we had a person like Clive Barker that would tell them that forget about your clubs you are now coming to camp to perform as one team and that was really important.”

Paying tribute to his father, Barker’s son, John described him as a patriotic South African.

“We grew up in soccer community in the south of Durban, it was magic and it was wonderful. We dreamed of one day playing soccer for South Africa and my mother especially made it possible for my father to become the great success he went on to become. It was truly beautiful, we know there were many up and downs in dad’s career but you stood by him, you loved him and you supported him and thank you for doing it for us and giving dad to this nation to be such a great coach and success and thank you mom. His other great passion was for South Africa and the people of South Africa, he was so patriotic he believed we were the best in the world.”

SAFA President Danny Jordaan says Barker used sport to promote social cohesion and nation building, forming a formidable unit bringing together players from different social backgrounds.

“In a period where the country needed social integration and created national team on a non-racial basis. Clive Barker knew what this nation wanted, knew what truly represents the nations team and team was built probably the most difficult circumstances. Those players played in four separate national associations at that time. So, it is probably most difficult job for any coach to bring players together with such diverse experience. Clive started building a family and then a concept of a united team.”

Clive Barker is survived by his wife, two sons and grandchildren.