Steven Pienaar says he'll be nervous when he returns to the PSL next season
Steven Pienaar says that despite all his success in Europe‚ he will still have butterflies in his stomach as he prepares to turn out for BidVest Wits in the new Premier Soccer League season.
The league champions announced the capture of the experienced 35-year-old on Wednesday‚ a signing that is unlikely to be eclipsed for star quality in the remainder of this window.
Pienaar returns to the PSL for the first time since 2001 when he left Ajax Cape Town for Amsterdam‚ and then had spells with Borussia Dortmund‚ most notably Everton‚ Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland.
“As a player‚ you always have butterflies and if you don’t‚ you don’t love the sport‚” Pienaar tells Times Media Digital.
”It’s part and parcel of the game and playing in Europe so long‚ there will be a lot of eyes on me‚ but I will just have to take it in my stride.”
Pienaar said he chose Wits because the club made him feel wanted‚ and where he believes he can make a difference.
“For me the most important thing was to join a club where I feel welcome and appreciated.
"That was important. I wanted to come to South Africa and finish the last few seasons of my career here‚ I want to help the young players as much as I can.
“I’m joining a club that has just won the league‚ so it is going to be a challenge for me to show what I can do‚ because joining the defending champions is not always easy.”
Pienaar knows that much has changed in the 16 years since he last played in the PSL‚ and admits it will take some adjusting to.
“Coming from the [English] Premier League‚ I have spent the last 10 years there‚ so it is going to be a different level and I will have to get used to it as quickly as possible.”
He says he has shrugged off the ankle injury that kept him out of the end of last season.
“I have recovered from my ankle injury‚ it was just a pity I couldn’t finish the last few games at Sunderland‚ but I am now fully recovered. I just need to work on my fitness.”
Pienaar says he is looking forward to working with Wits coach Gavin Hunt‚ who he rates highly.
“I have worked under top coaches in the past and coming to work with coach Hunt gives me an opportunity to work with a champion coach‚ a great coach. He might even help me if I want to become a coach!”