Clive Barker's Biography

Clive Barker is one of South Africa’s most successful coaches, having won league and cup titles at club level and lead South Africa to African Cup of Nations glory in 1996.

He was the first South African coach to qualify for the World Cup.

He is now well into his fourth decade as a professional coach and offers a wealth of experience at both club and national team level.

As a player he had a distinguished career at Durban City and Durban United, making his professional debut at just 17 years of age. He was on the verge of signing for Leicester in England but a serious knee injury put pay to his playing career.

In 1973 he started his coaching career with amateur team Fynnlands, before joining the professional ranks with AmaZulu in 1974.
In 1976 he won his first title, as Pinetown Celtic won the NFL Second Division league championship and promotion to the top flight. He returned to the amateur ranks a year later with Juventus.

Between 1981 and 1983 he coached a highly successful Durban City side, which won the National Soccer League tile in 1982 and successfully defended the title a year later.

The league titles elevated him into the national spotlight and he was enticed away from the club to join city rivals Durban Bush Bucks and in 1984 won his third league title in three years.

Over the next 10 seasons he would coach at AmaZulu elevating the once sleeping giant into a dominate league-contender. While the league title would elude him he won the Coca-Cola Cup in 1992 beating Kaizer Chiefs in the final.

That year saw South Africa return to the international fold after years of isolation and received a rude awakening suffering crushing defeats to Nigeria and Zimbabwe in official World Cup and Nations Cup qualifiers.

In 1994 Clive was given the reigns and quickly turned their fortunes around, establishing the team as an African powerhouse, easily topping their 1996 Nations Cup qualifying group.

South Africa were awarded the rights to host the tournament after initial hosts Kenya withdraw and the team went on to win the tournament on home soil, beating Tunisia 2-0 in the final.

The team rose to the number one ranked team in Africa and the top 20 in FIFA’s World Ranking system holding their own against the likes of Germany, Holland, Czech Republic, France and Argentina and in 1997 famously led a star-studded Brazil 2-0 at half time, before succumbing 3-2 at the final whistle. They went on to qualify for the 1998 World Cup in France.

As African champions South Africa took part in the Confederations Cup, but administrative bungling saw second-string teams compete in the warm up matches and the tournament itself. Losses to UAE and Uruguay saw SAFA place pressure on Clive to resign, which he did.

The national team has since than been on a downward spiral, and unlikely to reach the same heights again.

After returning to AmaZulu in 1998, Clive joined Santos two years later and won the Bob Save SuperBowl with the Cape Town team in 2001, beating Sundowns in the final.

Stints with Zulu Royals, Manning Rangers, Santos and AmaZulu followed before he took a back seat from coaching in 2010 and acted in a technical director role at AmaZulu.

At the beginning of 2013 he was enticed out of semi-retirement to take charge at Bidvest Wits, helping them finished an impressive fourth on the Absa Premiership table.

At the beginning of the 2013/14 season he joined Black Aces, finishing the newly promoted team in seventh position, qualifying the team for the lucrative MTN Top8 competition.

The following season he took on a role as development coach for the club overseeing the junior structures

He is considered the father of coaching, with a recent Kick Off Magazine report highlighting the fact that more than 70 percent of the players that were capped at national level under him have remained in the football, as coaches and administrators.

Club coaches such as Clinton Larsen (Golden Arrows), Steve Komphela (Kaizer Chiefs), Gavin Hunt (Wits), Eric Tinkler (Supersport United) Shaun Bartlett (Tuks) and Andre Arendse (goalkeeper coach at Wits) all played under Clive at some stage and recognize Clive’s coaching style as an inspiration to their own coaching careers.

His nephew, Steve, is the highly rated coach at Stellenbosch University.