Barker was a professional footballer in the 1960s, playing for Durban City having made his debut at the age of 17. He had a trial with Leicester City, but a serious knee injury quickly ended his career.
He became a manager in the 1970s, coaching numerous clubs in South Africa, including Durban City, Manning Rangers, AmaZulu and Santos. During his club career he won two league championships and two league cups. He was one of the first white managers in the South African league.