Absa Premiership

Pienaar: I wanted to finish in a nicer way at Wits

2018-03-01 12:49
Steven Pienaar and Gavin Hunt (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - After announcing his retirement on Wednesday, Steven Pienaar revealed that waking up at 07:00 for Bidvest Wits training was part of the cause of his decision.

Speaking to KickOff, Pienaar revealed that he and coach Gavin Hunt did not always see eye to eye.

"What I went through in the last five months tilted the bucket more towards me retiring," he said.

"I joined them in Cape Town for pre-season, but when we came back in my second week, I had already approached the coach and told him that 'coach I don’t think I can do this thing of waking up so early at seven in the morning to attend training. It is the first time in my career that I am waking up at 07:00 to go to training for a session that starts at 09:00.'

"He just said to me I will get used to it, but at my age, I couldn't put up with sitting in the car for an hour or an hour-and-a-half just to get to training. Every morning, I was complaining, and I just thought: 'This is not how I want to spend my last year playing football.'

"That was the point when I thought 'I can’t be waking up at seven o’clock because I have never in my whole career woken up at seven o’clock.' Sometimes I would wake up half past six just to go to training for a nine o’clock session."

Pienaar's spell at Wits lasted just under six months. He left the club during the mid-season break, just halfway through his contract.

Rumours surfaced that he had a falling out with Hunt during a changing room dressing-down delivered to the team after a loss with Pienaar hitting back at Hunt over his decision for the team to travel on a match-day.

Pienaar allegedly suggested to Hunt that he look towards himself and not just the players after a dismal start to the 2017/2018 season.

He revealed that his decision to retire was also partially motivated by a lack of playing time, but stressed that he respected Hunt's team selection decisions even if he did not agree with them.

"I wanted to finish in a nicer way than spending all my energy sitting in the car. So slowly, that hunger (to play) was just going away, and in the end, it just didn’t work out. However, I am grateful to the club (Wits) for giving me the opportunity to come back and play a few games in the PSL," the former Everton star said.

"I wanted to play more, but obviously, I am not the coach. If I was the coach, I was going to play every week, but he obviously had his own ways of doing things and I respect him for that. I never went up to him once and said 'why am l not playing?'

"I was always professional, even though some days and weeks, we wouldn't talk. I was always professional and would show up early for training and work as hard as any other player at training and then go home to spend time with my kids afterwards. I told myself that at 35, I don’t need to be moaning. I didn't want to start fighting with people - and so I decided: 'If it is not working for both parties, then let this be it.'"

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