Fish – One Of The Worst Coaches I’ve Ever Played For

January 17, 2022

Former Bafana Bafana defender Mark Fish has reminisced about winning the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations, and pin pointed where he feels the national team went wrong in the years that followed.

The former Orlando Pirates, Lazio, Charlton and Bolton Wanderers defender was a key member of Bafana in the nineties, and has great memories of lifting the 1996 trophy during the era that Nelson Mandela was president of South Africa.

Now 47, Fish has high praise for Clive Barker, who led the team to the 1996 triumph, but has less than kind words for Philippe Troussier, who was brought in to take the team to the 1998 World Cup in France.

“What we had achieved, for the nation, was more than just football,” Fish told Planetfootball

“It fed into Mandela’s idea of Madiba magic. He wanted to bring the country together through sports and he certainly achieved that.”

But Fish was disappointed South Africa couldn’t build from that, and he feels it all started when SAFA chose to replace Barker.

“Unfortunately, it’s always about ’96 and what we achieved,” he continued.

“(Barker) was everything you could want from a national team coach and was a lot more tactically aware than most people gave him credit for.

“Clive motivated us and made it feel like we could lead any team in the world and we certainly gave our utmost for him on the field. 

“He was a father figure and that led to us being like a family of warriors on the field, we all looked out for each other.”

Barker resigned in 1997, and Jomo Sono took over the interim at the 1998 Afcon, where Bafana were losing finalists.  But SAFA brought in Troussier for the 1998 World Cup.

“The federation decided they needed a foreign coach and put in Troussier who, for me, was one of the worst coaches I’ve ever played for,” he said.

“I’ve nothing against him, personally, it was just the way he treated players and how he looked at play.

“If we had had Clive, a local coach who knew the players, I think we would have done a bit better at that World Cup. Clive resigning had a big impact on South Africa as a footballing country.”

And it has been a disappointing story since, as the highs of the nineties seem distant memories.

“We’re playing catch-up to the rest of the continent at the moment,” Fish added.

“Because we were hiring and firing coaches there’s been no real national team development. 

“Whether it’s from the president of the federation or within the federation with the players and coaches, ex-players and coaches, we need to work towards a common goal and make the team the pride of the nation again.”

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