Bafana's Key Men - Steven Pienaar


Pienaar is returning to the form that once made him one of the most talked about midfielders in Europe. He is currently on a season-long loan at English Premiership side Everton, where he has become a fixture in the side under coach David Moyes.

It is a pleasant change of fortune for a player whose star had dwindled in the past few years. After a bright start to his career at Ajax Amsterdam, a serious knee injury put him out of action for four months in 2005.

In truth, he never regained his form on his return to the side and in June 2006 moved to Germany to join Borussia Dortmund, where he was seen as the ideal replacement for Tomas Rosicky, who had left for Arsenal.

Things didn’t pan out for the 25-year-old, however, and after a season of disappointment, he decided to join Everton in a 12-month deal. And how he has flourished in a side that is trying desperately to shake its tag of being a ‘long-ball’ team and play with more craft in the midfield.

Pienaar’s eye for a pass has already seen him link up well with Everton’s chief playmaker, Mikel Arteta, and he has fast become a crowd favourite at Goodison Park.

He remains also the most potent midfield attacking weapon for Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, who is likely to build his side around the diminutive star for the 2010 World Cup finals.

Able to play either on the right, centre or left of midfield, the Westbury-born player add significant options to the coaches arsenal.

Position: Attacking MidfielderCurrent Club: Everton, EnglandDate of Birth: 17/3/1982Caps/goals: 28/2South Africa debut: South Africa 2 Turkey 0 (23/5/2002)First goal scored: South Africa 2 Burkina Faso 0 (3/7/2004)Career history: 1998-2001 Ajax Cape Town, 2001-06 Ajax Amsterdam (Holland); 2006-07 Borussia Dortmund (Germany), 2007- Everton (England)Honours: 9 Under-20 caps, 13 Under-17 caps; 2002 Hong Kong Reunification Cup winner; 2001/02, 2002/03, 2003/04 Dutch League champion, 2001/02 Dutch FA Cup winner; 2000 Rothmans Cup winner; 2004 Dutch Super Cup winner