Home Sport Back to basics for Bafana, says Barker

Back to basics for Bafana, says Barker

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Bafana are ranked 74 in the world Fifa rankings. They missed out in the recently-completed World Cup that was held in Russia

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BAFANA Bafana were once ranked in the Fifa top 20, during Clive “The Dog” Barker’s tenure as the senior national team coach, and the man who brought joy to the masses apparently has the cure for South Africa’s football problems.

Barker (pictured) is by far the most successful Bafana coach in the history of football in SA.

In 1996, Barker delivered the Africa Cup of Nations title for the country and then made history as he led Bafana to qualifying for their maiden Fifa World Cup appearance in 1998 in France.

Bafana are nowhere near the standards set by the legendary coach during his time in charge. They have dropped rapidly in the rankings, continuously failing to qualify for major tournaments, let alone winning minor cups like the Cosafa Cup and Chan.

Bafana seriously need assistance and the man who was once a darling in the football fraternity knows what Bafana need to do in order to get back to glory days.

He was speaking with Independent Media at the launch of his book (The Life and Soccer times of Clive Barker) in Umhlanga.

“I think we should start all over again. I thought we had the style and the way that we played. I believe we could have influenced world football but we didn’t. We lost an opportunity.

“We must start all over again, get a good amateur league, have continuity with the players coming through all the time. If we do that we will get back to where we were in the past,” Barker said as he offered some advice on what we need to do to be a dominant force in world football.

Bafana are ranked 74 in the world Fifa rankings. They missed out in the recently-completed World Cup that was held in Russia.

“The other thing is the amateur set-up at the club level where you will have clubs sending players through the whole time like the Durban City side that won the league twice in a row; and should have won it three times in a row.

So there’s definitely a reason – had they copied our way instead of copying the Dutch way, Italian or the Brazilian way, I think we could have got there much quicker.

“We might have to go a bit longer now. But I have no doubt about South African football,” he added.

Bafana are facing a mammoth task of qualifying for the Afcon in Cameroon next year. They began the qualifiers on a high note beating Nigeria 2-0 away from home.

Bafana still have to play them at home and Libya and Seychelles in two-legged encounters. It might look elementary as two teams qualify from each group but there’s nothing easy for Bafana.

“The more players we have playing in the big leagues the better. But there is no use of having players there sitting on the bench and not playing. They should rather be back here so that when they have to appear for the national team, they are fit,” Barker explained.

A positive move for SA soccer, for example, is Percy Tau who recently joined the English Premier League outfit Brighton and Hove Albion from Mamelodi Sundowns.