Legendary former Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker is not doing too well. His nephew and Stellenbosch FC coach Steve Barker has called for South Africans to pay tribute to the national sporting icon.
Barker remains the only coach to lead the South African men’s senior national team to silverware after winning the Africa Cup of Nations title on home soil in 1996.
The legendary tactician underwent heart surgery at the end of 2022 after suffering an aneurysm and was on the mend, but his health has regressed in recent weeks.
The 78-year-old was last week re-admitted to a hospital in Durban as he battles Lewy body dementia – a disease affecting the protein cells in the brain which can cause problems with thinking, movement and behaviour.
Steve, who has endured a relatively trying emotional and psychological period following the untimely passing of 19-year-old Stellies defender Oshwin Andries last month, is concerned for his uncle and has called for ‘The Dog’, as Barker is affectionately known in football circles, to be remembered during this trying time.
“I spoke to my cousin John Barker a couple of days ago and he [Clive] is in Intensive Care, it was not the best news when I spoke to him,” Barker said.
“So, just our thoughts and prayers from me, my family and our club [Stellenbosch] are with him. I mean, he’s an icon of South African football or just generally sport as a whole.
“Let’s hope that he can pull through and come out of this strong, but I think we must pay tribute, as a legend, as much as we can and as often as we can.”