Kick Off - - FEATURE -

Over the years, claims have per­sisted that Pienaar hardly gave his best in the Bafana Bafana jer­sey as he held his per­sonal in­ter­ests above that of the coun­try’s, of­ten be­ing crit­i­cised for his lack­lus­tre dis­plays. How­ever, the for­mer na­tional team skip­per re­buffed such spec­u­la­tive at­tacks and ex­plains that the con­stant chop­ping and chang­ing of coach­ing and play­ing per­son­nel was the rea­son be­hind some of his sub­dued per­for­mances. “When you play for the na­tional team, you al­ways give 100-per­cent, but a lot of peo­ple don’t re­alise that when we come to the na­tional team, there are al­ways 15 new play­ers and you never get time to work to­gether. There were never the same 22 play­ers in the team and when you come back you played with some­one whose sec­ond name you didn’t even know. It was al­ways dif­fi­cult, but like I said, I al­ways gave 100-per­cent, in fact all the play­ers did be­cause it’s about de­fend­ing your pride and hon­our as a coun­try. You’ll never play well in all the games, and some­times as a player you have to just take crit­i­cism be­cause it’s part of the game.”

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