‘Sizwe Motaung’s BMW was petrol bombed’ – Clive Barker recalls a political fight between AmaZulu and Sundowns fans in an excerpt from Coach
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Jacana Media has shared an extract from Coach: The Life and Soccer Times of Clive Barker.

Author Michael Marnewick’s book offers a first-class glimpse into the life of one extraordinary South African – world-renowned soccer coach Clive Barker. Coach covers everything: from Barker’s pre-coaching days and how he avoided bankruptcy by driving taxis, to his early coaching jobs and making it into the professional ranks and ultimately to the position of national soccer coach.

Read the excerpt:

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Troubled Times

Kaizer Motaung was a very elegant footballer, mature, with extraordinary balance. He played upfront and was able to score a lot of goals. He brought the famous gold and black colours back from America where he played and excelled. I have the highest regard for him and, as a player and later administrator, he had no peer.

Kaizer made huge sacrifices and I wonder how much pressure he was under, politically. But he called the right shots and built a very successful football team, as well as a name for himself and his family. He always put his family first and I can’t say enough good things about him, as a player and an administrator. Kaizer Chiefs’ record speaks for itself, and of course I have personal links, having played them so many times in cup finals – even though we were beaten nearly every time.

He was more than able to run and administer the best side in Africa, but lost out on playing opportunities, given our status as a political pariah and the associated sporting isolation at the time.

When we eventually became a democracy, we turned away from dark times. The country was a fireball; everyone wanted change.

The IFP supported AmaZulu while ANC members were for Pirates or Chiefs or, for that matter, anyone from Joburg. At one stage, AmaZulu were playing Sundowns, who were top of the league; we were in second place, and we never touched the ball that match. They hammered us and with that, having lost the game, the IFP supporters turned on the ANC supporters and all hell broke loose.

While cars were being smashed – Sizwe Motaung’s BMW was petrol bombed – we were rushed into the changing rooms for our own safety. The fighting continued outside, but it was getting later and later and we were still stuck inside. Eventually we decided to make a run for it.

We had the bus brought closer and climbed aboard. The players pressed their bags up against the windows for protection – and not for the first time either; we had had to do it years before. With that, George Dearnaley, turned around and said, ‘Hey, coach, but in those days they had sticks and stones, now they’re armed with AK47s.’

Albert des Neves, our director, had been sitting next to me, but following George’s words was now cowering under the seat in abject terror, mouthing, ‘We’re going to die, we’re going to die.’

The driver put his foot down and we were able to escape.

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Categories Non-fiction South Africa

Tags Book excerpts Book extracts Clive Barker Coach: The Life and Soccer Times of Clive Barker Jacana Media Kaizer Motaung Michael Marnewick Soccer Sport


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