Former Kaizer Chiefs and FC Twente striker Bernard Parker has opened up about the abuse he endured on social media during his career.
The 36-year-old Parker is one of the greatest players to have ever laced up his boots for Kaizer Chiefs, having made over 300 appearances and winning several titles along the way, while he is said to have “set himself up to stay involved in the game” by going into coaching when he retires.
Parker is set to start working towards his coaching badges, and is expected to one day move into the coaching ranks at Amakhosi.
Recently, Chiefs confirmed they would not renew Parker’s contract when it expires at the end of June 2022, but there has been talk that he will instead be offered a position within the club’s staff as he holds several qualifications in sports management and marketing.
“Parker, a bona fide Kaizer Chiefs legend, will leave the club he has served with distinction for 11 years,” a statement read.
“He joined Chiefs in 2011 from the Eredivisie side, FC Twente and his glittering career saw him play 359 matches for Amakhosi and found the net 62 times.
“His exceptional talent and leadership helped Amakhosi to win four major trophies, including two league titles.”
“His professionalism, both on and off the field, is an object example to any aspiring young footballer,” another statement read.
“Thank you for your great service and dedication to the Club, ‘Hond’. You remain a true legend.”
During a lengthy career, Parker has admitted there were both ups and downs.
“During the tough times, we went doing so well. I was the one who has been picked on the most,” Parker told Gagasi FM.
“I was the targeted one I would say who’s picked on the most, and the comments I see people would send me the comments and it ended up to a stage where I had to delete my social media apps and I deleted them all.
“I’ve seen it all, good and bad in my 11 years – from personal records, to becoming the club’s top scorer in my 11 years, I’ve won trophies,” Parker told Gagasi FM, as quoted by iDiski Times.
“I’ve seen the hardships, we thought we were close to winning the league title again and we suffered a set back.
“The team presented my with the armband and we’ve reached the CAF Champions League final, sadly we couldn’t win.
“But Bernard was always there, first to arrive and last to leave. It was a beautiful time at Kaizer Chiefs.”
His agent Mike Makaab has now spoken about what could lie ahead for Parker.
“We will unveil Bernard’s next ‘move’ in the next 2-3 weeks, whether as a player, a coach, or any other role,” he added.
“We didn’t speak to any other club in the last six months because Bernard loves and respects Chiefs, but we’ve had offers.”