The Afcon-winning coach helped Bafana Bafana qualify for their first ever finals of the global competition, but did not make it to the tournament
Former South Africa defender Mark Fish feels that ex-national team coach Clive Barker was let down by his country after he was denied the opportunity to lead the team at the 1998 Fifa World Cup finals.
A year after guiding Bafana Bafana to claim the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) title, their only continental crown, Barker ensured qualification for the World Cup in France.
But his time with Bafana Bafana ended in December 1997 following a poor outing at the Fifa Confederations Cup.
Phillipe Troussier ended up presiding over an uninspiring World Cup campaign which saw South Africa drawing 2-2 against Saudi Arabia, 1-1 against Denmark and losing 3-0 to the hosts in Group C, amid reports the Frenchman was unpopular with players.
Fish who was a regular under Barker and also helped South Africa being crowned African champions feels all the legacy built by the coach was disregarded when he was fired.
“We failed Clive Barker’s legacy but we also failed South African football’s legacy in general,” Fish told Far Post.
“In the sense that, if we go back to 1992 when we got re-admitted into international football, in the space of four years we won the biggest cup in the continent when we came from nowhere. Instead of backing the coach, let him carry on and go to the World Cup and he [Barker] should have been given that opportunity.”
Since then, various coaches have taken charge of Bafana including Carlos Queiroz, Stuart Baxter, Joel Santana, Ted Dumitru, Gordon Igesund and incumbent Molefi Ntseki.
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The likes of Jomo Sono, Trott Moloto, Ephraim Mashaba, Stuart Baxter and Carlos Alberto Parreira have each had more than single stints at the helm of South Africa.
“Unfortunately when we talk about the national team coaches now since 1992 we have had close to what? 22 coaches? I even lost count of the different coaches coming in and out,” said Fish.
After Barker, the only other coach to help South Africa qualify for the World Cup was Carlos Queiroz but he too faced the same fate of failing to complete his Bafana World Cup journey as he did not make it to Korea/Japan 2002.