CAF Africa Cup of Nations-winning and former Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker has died  after a brave battle with Lewy Body Dementia (LBD).

The 78-year-old Barker led Bafana Bafana to the Afcon title in 1996. He also spearheaded the country’s first appearance at the FIFA World Cup in France in 1998.

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“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the medical professionals who cared for Clive over the past six months,” the Barker family said in a statement. “He fought a brave battle and we are relieved he is now at peace.

“Clive will be remembered by South Africans for his role in helping to bring a nation together around the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations, but for us he was a loving husband, father and grandfather, and he will be dearly missed.

“We have been overwhelmed by the enormous outpouring of love and support for Clive since he was first diagnosed with LBD, and this is a testament to the coach, friend and mentor he was to not only several generations of footballers, but also anyone who crossed his path in the sport he so dearly loved.”

Former Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker has died
Clive Barker with Bafana Bafana


SAFA President Dr. Danny Jordaan also sent his condolences to the Barker family.  “We are saddened by the passing of Clive Barker after a long illness,” said Jordaan.  

“Bafana Bafana winning the African Cup of Nations with a South African coach at the helm is still one of the standout moments in the history of African football. Clive Barker signaled the takeoff of Bafana Bafana to become the champion of Africa. He also celebrated continuously on the touchline, spreading out his wings.

“Barker has made a major contribution to South African football. He managed to build a strong administration for the team, the captains and the players of that side. It is no wonder that virtually every single one of those players was signed by the top clubs in Europe. This made him the only coach that had the entire Bafana Bafana team composed of foreign-based players, and playing in the best leagues in Europe. Clive has been a people’s person and may his soul rest in peace.”

“SAFA would like to take this opportunity to convey our sincere condolences to his family and friends. May his departed soul rest in peace.”

The Barker family will provide details of the memorial service in the coming days. They have also asked their privacy to be respected at this very difficult time.


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