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HomeSouth African SoccerClive Barker should have coached Bafana in 1998 – here’s why

Clive Barker should have coached Bafana in 1998 – here’s why

Many soccer fans still believe that Former Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker should have been on the bench during the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

The 78-year-old, who passed away on Saturday, led South Africa to their only continental triumph at the African Cup of Nations finals in 1996.

After that, Barker led Bafana to a maiden World Cup appearance in France but was fired a year before the tournament kicked off.

After helping Bafana get over the line, Barker’s task was to take them out of the group stages however, he still had the 1997 Confederations Cup to compete in.

Bafana’s chances in ’98 would have been higher had Barker coached

ALSO READ: ‘A father’: Bafana Bafana ‘old boys’ remember Clive Barker [photos]

In what was his biggest international tournament to date, Barker’s Bafana displayed a below par performance that saw them getting eliminated in the group stages. They finish last below United Arab Emirates, Uruguay and Czech Republic.

Shortly after, the former AmaZulu coach was given the boot by SAFA just before the 1998 African Cup of Nations.

Bafana performed well at the tournament under new manager Jomo Sono, but lost to Egypt in the final.

With a few months to go until the 1998 World Cup, Philippe Troussier was appointed as the new Bafana coach.

That proved to be a bad appointment as Bafana after Bafana were destroyed 3-0 by hosts France in their opening game. Their next games were against Saudi Arabia and Denmark, but they failed to win any of those matches as they were eliminated in the group stages without a single win.

ALSO READ: ‘A hero’: Clive Barker’s son shares emotional tribute [photo]

Without Barker, the team went backwards.

The Confed Cup was preparation of what was to come and had Barker stayed, Bafana would have at least won against Saudi Arabia which would have been enough to see them through.

A quarter-final showing was a big possibilty given Bafana would have faced Nigeria in the round of 16.

Looking at Ghana 2006, their golden generation went on to reach the last 16 in their maiden World Cup. They went a step further in 2010 when they reached the last eight.

Bafana under Barker, could have had a similar run as the team would have gained a lot of experience by playing international teams and tournaments.

ALSO READ:  Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker passes away

Following his death, tributes poured in for the 1996 Afcon winning coach

“Thank you Uncle Clive for everything you have done for our Country. You bought happiness & joy to everyone you met. Your legacy as a legend & gentleman of South African Football will forever life in our hearts,” said his nephew Steve Barker.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ARTICLES BY ELIOT MAHLASE

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