Wits’ Pien­aar shrugs off crit­i­cism

Pretoria News Weekend - - SPORT - MI­NENHLE MKHIZE

DUR­BAN: Well trav­elled mid­fielder Steven “Schillo” Pien­aar is un­fazed by the heavy crit­i­cism he has been get­ting since re­turn­ing to South Africa.

Pien­aar (35) is cur­rently ply­ing his trade with Bid­vest Wits. He re­turned to the Premier­ship af­ter spend­ing so many years in Europe where he played in top leagues.

Wits are the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons of the Absa Premier­ship but they have en­dured a ter­ri­ble start to their cam­paign.

They have lost four games in 7 league out­ings. Wits have recorded a sin­gle vic­tory this sea­son.

They are at the base­ment of the league.

Wits boss Gavin Hunt has been crit­i­cised for tin­ker­ing with the side that won him the league last sea­son.

Pien­aar has been sin­gled out as one the main cul­prits for Wits’s poor start this sea­son.

Ad­dress­ing the me­dia dur­ing the soc­cer clin­ics at the Global Copa Coca Cola in Dur­ban he made it clear that he is un­fazed by un­fair crit­i­cism he has been re­ceiv­ing from the South African pub­lic.

“It not un­fair critism. If you are in a pro­fes­sional sports you have to face crit­i­cism and also deal with pres­sure. It is part of the game.

“When you play you al­ways un­der the big glass. Maybe I came here with Sun­der­land bad luck, who knows,” Pien­aar stated while laugh­ing.

Sun­der­land were rel­e­gated from the English Premier League. at the end of last sea­son, and Pien­aar was the part of the team.

“But on a se­ri­ous note, crit­i­cism is a part of the game. For me ev­ery­thing is blocked out. What­ever peo­ple say, I al­ways laugh it off. I came back here to en­joy my foot­ball. Ev­ery­where I play I play with all my heart. If I can’t, I walk away.

“We are go­ing through a dif­fi­cult patch at the mo­ment. The re­sults are not com­ing our way. As the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons the club is un­der the big glass. All eyes are on us. There’s a lot of ex­pec­ta­tions from us if you look at the sign­ings we made. In life you can to go through dif­fi­cult times if you want to reach the top. We are hav­ing bad luck at the mo­ment,” Pien­aar elab­o­rated.

It is been a while since Pien­aar tasted league suc­cess in his 18 years as a pro­fes­sional foot­baller.

“Yes it been a while. The last time I won the league was in 2004 with Ajax Am­s­ter­dam. I want to fin­ish my ca­reer on a high. We’ve only played seven matches, and if I re­call Chelsea didn’t have the best of starts last sea­son but they come back and won the league. We are not play­ing bad. We are not scor­ing goals. We are con­ced­ing from silly mis­takes. I be­lieve that we can still lift the league. If we can win six to seven matches in a row we will be back amongst the con­tenders,” Pien­aar said.

Pien­aar is look­ing to fol­low in the foot­steps of the likes of John Moshoeu, An­dre Arendse and Benni McCarthy, who all won the league in their first sea­son af­ter their re­turn from Europe.

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