Everton give Pienaar a break
London - Wayne Rooney, Fernando Torres and Cristiano Ronaldo might have emerged with the dubious honour of becoming the World Cup's most notable flops -and "World Footballers of the Year" Lionel Messi and Kaka also ultimately failed to come up to expectations.
But on a more modest scale, South Africa suffered a jarring and deflating disappointment of their own in the failure of Everton's engaging midfielder, Steven Pienaar, to emerge as the pivotal influence in directing Bafana Bafana's on-the-field strategy towards a place in the second round.
Now Everton have given Pienaar a break from soccer along with most of their World Cup participants as they complete a three-game tour of Australia - with only Tim Cahill, who is a national hero in Australia, a World Cup participant in the touring party. And even Cahill is there on what has been termed "semi-leave" and might only make one or two sporadic appearances as a substitute.
Pienaar,on the other hand, has not finalised his future with Everton, with his contract having only a year to run and the Merseyside club seeking to extend his stay before he becomes a free agent.
Everton manager David Moyes, in South Africa as a broadcasting consultant during the World Cup, took the opportunity to offer Pienaar an improved long-term contract - but as yet there is no word of the South African accepting the new deal.
Pienaar, meanwhile, has expressed a disappointment over his form during the World Cup, explaining he had felt unaccountably worn-out and listless after the English Premier League season.
And while it is reported that other clubs in the Premier League are interested in acquiring his services, his World Cup form will certainly not help him in securing a lucrative transfer and remaining with Everton seems his best option for financial and playing reasons.