Bafana coaching legend Clive Barker recovering in hospital after serious illness

Clive Barker coaching Maritzburg United in a premiership match against Polokwane City at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg in 2015.
Clive Barker coaching Maritzburg United in a premiership match against Polokwane City at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg in 2015.
Image: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images

Bafana Bafana coaching legend Clive Barker is recovering in a Durban hospital after suffering an aneurysm.

Barker was the coach who led the national team to their one major international title — the Africa Cup of Nations on home soil in 1996.

On Thursday, his family said the 78-year-old former AmaZulu and Bidvest Wits coach is in good spirits as he undergoes rehabilitation and is expected to be discharged soon. 

“lt feels like I’m in one of the preseason trainings that my players had to endure when I was coaching,” Barker was quoted as saying. 

He was apparently first admitted to hospital about two months ago. 

“On behalf of our family we would like to give an update on the wellbeing of much-loved former Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker,” the family said.

“Clive recently underwent an operation to restore normal flow through his aorta, the main artery that carries blood away from your heart to the rest of your body, after suffering an aneurysm.

“He is now undergoing rehabilitation in a step-down facility and it is hoped he will be able to return home soon.

“Clive is positive about his journey to recovery.

“The Barker family would like to express our sincere gratitude to the doctors and healthcare professionals at St Augustine's and Entabeni hospitals who have worked tirelessly in their treatment of Clive.

“We are deeply moved by the prayers and support that have been expressed by colleagues, players, friends and fans.

“We acknowledge there is a keen public interest in the wellbeing of Clive, but request the family’s privacy be respected at this time. The family will update on his health status via a press statement later.”

TimesLIVE understands Barker has battled health issues related to knee and back injuries for a few years. He had to give up a promising playing career in the 1970s due to a debilitating knee injury.

Aneurysms form when there is a weak area in the artery wall. Untreated aneurysms can burst open, leading to internal bleeding. They can also cause blood clots that block the flow of blood in your artery, says medical website clevelandclinic.org.

In a 42-year coaching career at professional level that began at AmaZulu in 1976, Barker has led teams including Durban City, Durban Bush Bucks, Santos, Manning Rangers and Maritzburg United, where he had his last top-flight assignment in 2016.


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