Avatar photo

By Cheryl Kahla

Content Strategist

Final whistle for Clive Barker: SA mourns soccer hero, ‘friend of the nation’

South Africa pays tribute to football hero Clive Barker, former Bafana Bafana head coach, who passed away following a battle with Lewy Body Dementia.

Clive Barker, celebrated former Bafana Bafana coach and the guiding force behind South Africa’s historic victory in the African Cup of Nations, is being laid to rest on Thursday.

Barker passed away after a battle against Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). He succumbed to the illness in a Durban hospital on Saturday at the age of 78.

Farewell to a football legend

Barker’s official provincial funeral is taking place at the Olive Convention Centre on Thursday, drawing attendees from across the country.

Dignitaries from local and provincial government joined family, friends, the football fraternity, and other mourners to pay tribute to Barker’s contributions to post-apartheid South African soccer.

Clive Barker memorial highlights

The solemnity of the occasion was deeply felt as police officers stood at attention while family members and colleagues filed in.

Distinguished figures from Barker’s career, including former soccer players and fellow coaches were in attendance to honour Barker’s memory.

Robert Marawa presided over the proceedings as MC.

‘Everybody loved him’

Delivering his obituary, Margaret Marnewick described him as one of South Africa’s most successful coaches, having led the country to the African Cup of Nations glory in 1996.

“Clive got on well with everybody, and everybody loved him. We say goodbye today to a successful and popular football player and coach.”

“We say goodbye to a dedicated family man, and we say goodbye to a friend of a nation”, Marnewick said.

His sons, John and Gavin Barker, also took to the stage and thanked those in attendance, saying their dad would have loved the turnout.

“He would have loved this turnout, I’m sure he would have said he got a real result today.”

‘Loving family man’

Barker’s sons described him as a charismatic and positive coach, saying he was no different at home.

“He was a great husband to my mother, an amazing father to Gavin and I, and a wonderful grandfather to his grandkids.

“The memories our children have of playing soccer, cricket, Gavin not playing so well…

“Swimming with their grandfather, will definitely help to shape their lives in the most positive way.”

READ: ‘Clive Barker will be remembered for uniting South Africans’

Clive Barker’s illustrious legacy

Barker’s illustrious career left an indelible mark on South African soccer.

His most renowned achievement was leading Bafana Bafana to a triumphant victory in the Afcon final against Tunisia in 1996.

The iconic match was held at the FNB Stadium and stands as a testament to Barker’s exceptional coaching skills.

EDITORIAL: Fly again, SA, in honour of Clive Barker

Read more on these topics

Bafana Bafana

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits