South Africa will get better, says Pienaar

2010-06-12 08:29

South Africa’s talisman Steven Pienaar believes the host nation

will get better and better as the World Cup progresses after the host nation

battled to a 1-1 draw with Mexico in the tournament opener.

Everton midfielder Pienaar admitted Bafana Bafana struggled at the

start of the match at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium in front of a crowd of

nearly 85 000 raucous fans clad in green and gold.

“It was the first game, the opening game and it’s normal that

there’s a lot of pressure,” said Pienaar, who added that South Africa got into

their stride midway through the first half when they started playing their own

game.

The midfielder said that on the strength of the South Africans’

second-half performance “we deserved the victory.”

“I’m happy with the way it went. The first 20 minutes we were a a

bit nervous. It’s normal because if you look at our team it’s only Aaron

(Mokoena, the captain) who’s played in a World Cup,” he said.

“For the other 10 players it was our first game in a World Cup but

we’re quite satisfied with the way it went.

“We just have to go on and we can only get better now. We played

against one of the best teams in the world and to walk away with a point, I

think we must be proud of ourselves.”

South Africa, who sent their supporters wild when they took the

lead 10 minutes into the second half through Siphiwe Tshabalala’s superb

55th-minute shot, were pegged back by Rafael Marquez’s strike in the 79th

minute.

The hosts then went agonisingly close to sneaking a win right at

the death when striker Katlego Mphela hit the post after outpacing two

defenders.

Pienaar welcomed the backing of the crowd, who kept up a deafening

wall of noise with vuvuzela horns blaring throughout the match.

“I’m really proud of the fans for their support and I really

appreciate it.”

Pienaar was substituted towards the end of the match with coach

Carlos Alberto Parreira explaining the Everton midfielder had struggled with

cramp.

South Africa next face Uruguay in Pretoria on June 16 and then

France in Bloemfontein on June 22.


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