Absa Premiership

Pienaar reveals why he failed at Wits

2018-06-24 06:48
Steven Pienaar.(Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Former Everton star and Bafana Bafana skipper Steven Pienaar says age is the main reason players who return from duty at overseas clubs fail to make a mark in the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

The difference in playing styles between European and local clubs is another contributor.

'Schillo', as he is affectionately known in football circles, said many players return from stints abroad when they are already past their prime.

"It depends on when you come back," said Pienaar.

"When you are 22, you still have 10 years to do well. But when you come back aged 35, your best days are behind you and it depends on who you are working with."

He played in Europe for 16 years as midfielder for Tottenham Hotspur, and for Borussia Dortmund and Ajax Amsterdam.

He was speaking on the sidelines of his annual off-season tournament in his home suburb of Westbury in Johannesburg.

On his return to the PSL last year, he joined Wits, which released him earlier this year.

He is one of few local players to have lasted so long overseas. These days, few South African players stay away from home for such extended periods of time, he said.

"I think it's every player's desire to go overseas and better themselves, but, obviously, the challenges they face both on and off the field make it tough. For some, when the going gets tough, they take the quick option, which is to come home, and they think they have solved the problem."

He said players from other African countries had a greater hunger to do well overseas because they came from poor backgrounds.

"But South African players, because they get good money here at home, are in a comfort zone."

It has become the norm to see local players returning after short stints overseas. Andile Jali is the latest - he signed up with league champions Mamelodi Sundowns last month.

Pienaar travelled to Ireland earlier this month to enrol for a UEFA A coaching licence, which is one level below the UEFA pro licence.

However, he is not sure if coaching at the highest level is what he wants to do.

"I think every former player would like to work at a professional level, but I don't know. I think if I get my badge, I will start at a community level."

He said he wanted to pass his knowledge about the game on to children.

Although he doesn't yet have his licence, Everton has already contacted him to coach its Under-15 and Under-18 teams.

Read more on:    wits  |  absa premiership  |  psl  |  steven pienaar  |  soccer


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