In fact, the methodical 1996 African Cup of Nations-winning mentor, has tipped Kaizer Chiefs to finish in pole position at the end of the title chase.
Perhaps this is a ploy to unsettle Downs ahead of the clash, but “The Dog” insisted he was not just barking mad.
“I have a feeling that Chiefs will come back,” said Barker. “They are a classy team, a classy unit, and they know how to win this league.
“Chiefs have a great ability to win things. I think I have played against them since 1974, and I think at one stage I lost six cup finals in a row to them before I won one eventually. They always turn up for the party and I think they will answer the questions and get out of the line.”
Downs are at the summit of the Premiership having collected 55 points after 26 league appearances. But Barker believes that Sundowns’ loan policy, which has barred on-form Themba Zwane, Abel Mabaso and Method Mwanjali from this evening’s encounter, should be scrapped.
Barker, who was announced the winner of Q3 of the Q-innovation system yesterday, issued a stern warning to Pitso Mosimane’s charges ahead of their clash this evening.
AmaZayoni have managed to the beat Orlando Pirates, Chiefs and Downs in the first leg of their return to top flight football. And Downs will be without attacking trio of Khama Billiat, Lebohang Mokoena and Bongani Zungu.
“It’s going to be a very tough encounter and I think we might have to park the bus,” quipped Barker. “I think the only way we can beat them is that if we can score more goals.”
The game kicks off at 7.30pm.