Bafana Bafana

Pienaar explains Bafana snub

Steven Pienaar (File)
Steven Pienaar (File)

Johannesburg - Former Everton midfielder and Bafana Bafana skipper Steven Pienaar has revealed why he retired from international football in 2012.

Pienaar, 34, made his Bafana debut in a 2-0 win against Turkey in an international friendly ahead of the 2002 FIFA World Cup under Jomo Sono’s reign and went on to win 62 caps for the national team, scoring only three goals.

“Schillo”, as he is affectionately known, said he felt that he was letting a lot of people down as Bafana were going through a rough patch at the time he retired and he did not have the strength to continue donning the country’s jersey.

“That was a personal decision which I took and it was a decision I have been thinking about for two years before I announced it,” Pienaar said in a televised interview on SABC last week.

“I spoke to a lot of people close to me about it and to make such a big call was not easy at all.

“We were playing against Ethiopia in Rustenburg and after that I went to coach Pitso Mosimane and said to him, this is it for me.

“There was no energy on my side anymore. Yes I wanted to continue but I opted not to push myself because I felt that I was letting a lot of people down, my family as well.

“It was the perfect time to walk away, I was satisfied with everything I contributed to the national team and I must admit that playing in the national team was not easy.”

The Westbury-born attacker made the Bafana squad for two World Cups - the 2002 event in Korea and Japan were he made no appearance and in 2010 on home soil where he featured in all three games.

Pienaar made his final appearance in a 1-all draw against Ethiopia in a qualifier for the 2014 World Cup.

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