Pienaar on the hunt for PSL ac­tion

Mid­fielder wants to end his ca­reer where it all started

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

For­mer Bafana Bafana mid­fielder Steven Pienaar has sent a come-and-get-me plea to will­ing PSL clubs. Af­ter spend­ing 17 years in dif­fer­ent Euro­pean clubs, the 35-year-old says he is back home for good.

Pienaar says he is open to of­fers as he wants to end his ca­reer here, where it all started.

The mid­fielder, who was part of rel­e­gated English Pre­mier­ship side Sun­der­land last season, says he is ready to daz­zle South African sup­port­ers one last time be­fore hang­ing up his boots.

“I am home for good till Je­sus comes,” he jokes when we meet out­side the West­bury Oval sports grounds, where his an­nual com­mu­nity tour­na­ment is tak­ing place.

“My time in Europe is over, and I knew when I signed for Sun­der­land that it’d be my last club there. I think I have done my time and I have no more am­bi­tion to play abroad.”

He says one of the rea­sons he wants to come back home is to be closer to his mum, Denise.

“Maybe Benni [McCarthy, the new Cape Town City coach] will give me a call to come play for him,” he says with a smile.

How­ever, he says a lot will de­pend on whether his three lit­tle girls get ad­mit­ted to lo­cal schools.

“They are ev­ery­thing to me and I must make sure they live com­fort­ably. I’m work­ing on their pa­pers to make sure they get per­ma­nent res­i­dence per­mits.” Last season, he was linked with moves to ei­ther Or­lando Pi­rates, Kaizer Chiefs or Mamelodi Sun­downs, but noth­ing ma­te­ri­alised. He says he will not say much un­til there is some­thing in black and white. “I haven't heard any­thing from my man­ager [Rob Moore].” How­ever, hinted he might be will­ing to stay in Jo­han­nes­burg and join one of the Gaut­eng clubs. “It will de­pend – if the of­fer is good, I will say yes be­cause I can’t work for free; no one works for free as they have to pay the bills.” He says he has en­joyed his time in all the coun­tries he has played in – Hol­land, Ger­many and Eng­land. His over­seas ca­reer started at Ajax Am­s­ter­dam be­fore he moved to Ger­many’s Borus­sia Dort­mund, then to Eng­land, where he fea­tured for Ever­ton, Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur and Sun­der­land. “My kids are Dutch, and Am­s­ter­dam has been my sec­ond home. Ob­vi­ously, Ajax is a mas­sive club and I won tro­phies there. I have made lots of friends and will miss [the city of] Liver­pool too.” “There are lots of things I want to do away from foot­ball and I just have to put all my en­ergy into them.” He has no in­ten­tions of be­com­ing a coach be­cause he has no stamina to go through the cour­ses. “I have plenty of study ma­te­rial, but couldn’t get to go through it. Be­fore I open a book, I think I have been away from my kids and it is not nice to come home late and leave early, some­times go­ing to camps. Be­ing a coach, you must be at the ground early. Maybe I can be­come an agent or a mo­ti­va­tional speaker for kids,” he chuck­les. He says he was sur­prised by Bafana Bafana’s per­for­mance against Nige­ria last week­end and says they should build on that. He says host­ing his tour­na­ment on Youth Day was very sig­nif­i­cant to his life. “Most peo­ple went through a lot to make sure we have this spe­cial day of free­dom. I want to make sure my chil­dren know what it means to them – not just a pub­lic hol­i­day, some­thing more than that. A lot of peo­ple sac­ri­ficed a lot.”

PHOTO: DAVE HOWARTH / PA IM­AGES

TIME UP Steven Pienaar says his time in Europe has come to an end

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