28 May 2019 – Coach Stuart Baxter said bringing in celebrated former National Team defender Mark Anthony Fish as part of the Bafana Bafana technical team would benefit the entire set-up.
The 45-year old defender was roped in as Bafana Bafana’s player liaison man and Baxter said Fish’s years of playing at top level will come in handy for the team.
Fish together with coach Baxter and assistant coach Molefi Ntseki joined the COSAFA team coach, David Notoane in Durban on Tuesday where they will help him train the team ahead of Sunday’s clash with Botswana.
“Mark (Fish) brings in massive personality within Bafana Bafana. He is a winner and that is what we need within the Senior National Team set-up,” he said.
“He has played at the highest level and has won lots of awards during his playing career. The team needs his fighting spirit which he attained playing for the national team, for top clubs here at home (Jomo Cosmos and Orlando Pirates) and overseas (for Lazio and Bolton).
“We want him to impart some of that knowledge among the youngsters within Bafana Bafana. They must learn from him because his experience is priceless,” added Baxter who said Fish would be part of the AFCON delegation where he will mainly be used to scout on opponents and write reports.
“We are really happy that we managed to get his services because here is an individual who has a great personality, likes winning and will definitely play a massive role within our Senior National Team,” said Baxter.
Fish started his career under coach Steve Coetsee, playing for Arcadia Shepherds, an amateur team based at the Caledonian Stadium in Pretoria. He was spotted by then Jomo Cosmos coach Roy Matthews and turned professional as a striker. It was at Cosmos that he was converted into a left back and went on to become one of the most promising defenders in South Africa at the time.
In 1994 Fish was signed by Orlando Pirates after Cosmos were relegated. At Pirates he arguably played the best football of his career under the tutelage of Mike Makaab. He also won the league title at Pirates, as well as the BP Top Eight Cup in 1994, the 1995 CAF African Champions League and the 1995 Bobsave Super Bowl (then the premier cup in South Africa).
He captained The Buccaneers when they beat JS Kabylie in the 1996 CAF Super Cup and same year he was part of the history-making South African national team to have won the African Cup of Nations at the first attempt after South Africa’s readmission to FIFA in 1992.
Soon foreign scouts came knocking and he was signed by Lazio of Italy, after he turned down an opportunity to play for his boyhood club, Manchester United.
However, he did move to England after just one season at Lazio to become the highest paid player at Bolton Wanderers. Fish was a mainstay in Bolton’s back four for much of their first season back in the Premiership.
He received praise from both teammates and those whom he played against, most notably Manchester United forward Andrew Cole. Despite Fish’s efforts Bolton were relegated on the last day of the season despite having accumulated 40 points, normally enough to stave off the drop.
Fish returned to football when he signed a six-month contract with his first club Jomo Cosmos in early 2007 but did not play an official game due to his low level of fitness.
Mark Antony Fish Profile:
Date of Birth: 14 March 1974
Place of Birth: Cape Town