Wanted: A team saver Wanted: a team saver

2015-12-09 06:00
PHOTO: gallo images Clive Barker has been sacked as Maritzburg United’s coach after picking up four points in 11 games.

PHOTO: gallo images Clive Barker has been sacked as Maritzburg United’s coach after picking up four points in 11 games.

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CLIVE Barker has become the latest coach to learn just how big Steve Komphela’s shoes are, and how difficult it is to fill them.

Barker, the former Bafana Bafana­ boss has been sacked by the Team of Choice, and the reason the club gave was that he was too old to cope with the rigours of top flight football.

After just two months on the job, and despite coming so close to upsetting champions Kaizer Chiefs at Harry Gwala Stadium two weeks ago, United chairperson Farook Kadodia felt the pressure was too much for someone of Barker’s age.

The 71-year-old Barker took over from rookie boss Mandla Ncikazi, who was fired just six games into the season.

Even though the club had put up improved performances since, Kadodia saw otherwise and decided he had had enough and pulled the rug from under Barker’s feet.

“They called me in to a meeting yesterday [Monday], and felt that I would not be able to deliver eight points in the club’s next four games,” Barker said. “It was then decided that I would have to resign.

“It was a shock, especially after the Chiefs game where we came close to beating them, and I thought we had a real chance of picking up points and moving up the table,” Barker said yesterday.

The club’s performances of late had been impressive, and after the Kaizer Chiefs game, where they were mere seconds from beating the Soweto giants, fans would have got the impression that the club were on the up and would move off the foot of the Premier League table in no time.

“I thought we were heading in the right direction, and you saw that against Chiefs, where had it not been for the referee’s optional time, we would have beaten them,” he added.

But, the Old Dog, as he is affectionately known around the country, held no ill feelings towards the club’s hierarchy, adding that their relationship “ended amicably”, and he was fully paid out the two-year-contract he signed towards the end of September.

Kadodia, who hailed Barker as a “great motivator” questioned the former Bafana mentor’s ability to handle the pressure of guiding the club to safety.

“We have five points after 11 games, and the question that needs to be asked is ‘can he handle the pressure?’ Kadodia said. “I need somebody here that can handle the pressure.

“We were looking for the best solutions that would help us get out of the current situation because five points from 11 matches is not ideal. We then came to a conclusion that there was too much pressure for someone at Barker’s age,” he was quoted by KickOff.com.

“My interest is the state of the club and I have a responsibility to the people of Maritzburg,” Kadodia, who has stated in the past that he wants to make sure top flight football remains in the city, said

The club find themselves in a worse position to two years ago, when Clinton Larsen was sacked after a lengthy run without a win.

Following Larsen’s dismissal, United appointed Steve Komphela, who spent two years at the club, leading them to their highest ever finish in the league.

In a bid to find another Komphela, Kadodia said: “I’ve got to see who is available locally and see who has a record of saving teams.

“Steve left big shoes that have been very difficult to fill.”

For the time being, assistant coach Fadlu Davids once again takes charge of the team.

But, according to Kadodia, the club’s record goalscorer and former captain was not going to be considered as a full-time replacement as he “needs to get some experience” under his belt.

The need for more experience is something Davids spoke about when first asked to step into Ncikazi’s shoes earlier this season.

Kadodia said he was hoping to find a replacement for Barker within the next two weeks.

coaches since 2009

First stint: 16 months, sacked

Ian Palmer:
Second stint: 10 months, sacked


Second stint: 21 months, poached by Bloemfontein Celtic

Clinton Larsen:
3 months, sacked

Steve Komphela: 17 months, poached by Kaizer Chiefs

Mandla Ncikazi:
2 months, sacked

Clive Barker:
2 months, sacked

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