Pressing Issues: Pienaar is no big loss

2012-10-06 19:03

Steven Pienaar announced his “retirement” from Bafana Bafana this week.

And strangely, the sky did not fall, nor did we see the chicken eating the sun – the latter part might sound a bit strange, but it’s a translation of an isiZulu saying.

His announcement did not spark loud calls for him to reconsider his decision, and rightfully so.

Even national team coach Gordon Igesund did not extend the same olive branch he had offered Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs.

There are a few interesting things about Pienaar’s retirement:
» The timing of his resignation letter – right on the eve of Igesund announcing his squad for the international friendlies against Poland and Kenya.

Could this have been meant to steal the thunder from Igesund’s announcement?

» Secondly, just glibly writing a letter to an association that has given him the honour of leading his country, without having even the decency to sit down with them and explain his situation, is similar to saying: “You can take your captaincy and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.”

The Everton midfielder said that his “body was tired” and he was “struggling to balance the demands of playing in England with the number of games required by the national team”.

He says this comes after “having given more than 10 years’ service for the national team”.

That’s quite interesting.

Since 2002, Schilo has made 57 appearances for South Africa, scoring a mere three goals.

In the same period, Bafana have played more than 160 matches, which means he has played in fewer than half.

Pienaar is arguably our best export among the current crop of players, but his performances for Bafana have not been earth-shaking, while he has produced glittering showings for The Toffees.

He has missed quite a number of Bafana matches, especially when the national team had to venture into the continent.

Talented as he is, it will be difficult to compile a list of “Steve Pienaar’s 10 greatest Bafana moments”.

Those with an inside track on the goings-on within Bafana claim that his appointment as captain was part of Pitso Mosimane’s way of trying to make him avail himself more often for the national team.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have worked and the spoilt brat is now throwing his toys out of the cot as it became obvious Igesund was not going to keep him as captain.

While it might be extreme to say good riddance, I agree with a colleague who said it’s high time we thought carefully about this habit of “leaving the door open” for players who turn their back on the country willy-nilly.


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