2015-12-23 06:00

MAYBE I care too much about elderly people, but can I ask the respected coach, Clive Barker, to retire in peace.

It really pains me to see our former Bafana Bafana head coach, the veteran in the coaching business, going high and low or getting fired left, right and centre.

This week I counted all the teams Barker has tried to coach, and I lost count. I think this old man needs to sit down, take stock and enjoy his pension.

I remember my high-school days in the early eighties. I was one of those lucky youngsters to receive football lessons, or at least a short football coaching clinic by the great Barker. After a few touches during the session Barker was able to see that I was a good header of the ball, good kicker and my height was an advantage. I am not blowing my own trumpet and I must point out that I was not special or skilful, just an ordinary player who believed in hard work and my strengths were my speed, ball control, ball heading and height.

At that time Barker was head coach for Durban Bush Bucks. During our short training session with our high-school team, Barker motivated the players and saw our strength. It was the first time I heard somebody called a “professional coach” saying “well done, magic and I’m proud of you my boys”. Barker is a natural motivator.

I grew up respecting Barker and when I became a journalist in 1991, I admired everything about him. At that time he was coaching AmaZulu and in 1992 he won the Coca-Cola Cup after beating Kaizer Chiefs.

Barker then improved in his career by winning the African Cup of Nations with Bafana Bafana in 1996.

Fast-track to 2015 when PSL side Maritzburg United hired the old-looking Barker. I was the first one to say he was the wrong person to take the outfit to the next level. I did not say that because I hated him, but I knew he was now too old.

About two weeks ago, when the Team of Choice officially announced that Barker had been told to step down, I was the first one to celebrate. I was not celebrating for his downfall, but the end of his self-inflicted torture. Nowadays soccer has changed, it is sophisticated and different. Also coaching ways are different and always need to be upgraded. With all due respect, the Team of Choice management took a wise business and professional decision to part ways with Barker, and I support them.

Barker must now officially retire in peace and enjoy his time with his grandchildren.

Bye-bye Clive “Mr Magic” Barker.

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