at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Johannesburg - Clive Barker confirmed on Tuesday that he is leaving Bidvest Wits at the end of this season, adding that to his knowledge, Gavin Hunt will be taking over as coach at the Clever Boys.
Reports have been circulating for some time now that Hunt is set to take over at Wits next season, and Barker said on Tuesday: “I don’t want it to be an issue. It was discussed before that Gavin is going to be there.
“I read something alluding to it, it is the truth and I was aware of it. I am very happy to coach until the end of the season. We are going in the right direction”
Hunt, however, denied the rumours of his impending arrival on Tuesday.
“There is no truth in it, I have a contract with SuperSport and I am happy,” said the Matsatsantsa coach.
Barker took over at Wits in January, when Antonio Lopez Habas left after a short and mostly unsuccessful spell in charge.
The former Bafana coach has guided Wits to three wins, a draw and a defeat in five league games, lifting them to sixth in the Absa Premiership.
“It’s really gone well, what has impressed me is the quality of the players Wits have got,” said Barker.
“Tinashe (Nengomasha) is a warrior, I call him ‘Makelele’, he could play on concrete! (Sibusiso) Vilakazi is the next Doctor Khumalo, he is a wonderful player. (Mzikayise) Mashaba is a wonderful, left-footed player, with a lot of power, and if he harnesses it in the right direction I have no doubt he will be one of the first selected for Bafana.
“It’s been a lovely experience, these (Wits’) are the best facilities I’ve worked in in 35 years in football.”
Barker was speaking at a South African Breweries discussion on the future of the national game and the 1996 Nations Cup winner gave his backing to current Bafana coach Gordon Igesund, while taking a bit of a dig at former coaches Carlos Alberto Parreira and Joel Santana.
“I think we are lucky to have Gordon,” said Barker.
“He’s turned around the quality of football the national team has displayed. I have no doubt... he represents what all young coaches would like to aspire to. The selection (of coaches) is not for pals like it was, that was Santana into Parreira. Everyone should have been given an opportunity then to apply to become the national coach, we handled it wrong then. I think he (Gordon) is the right coach.”