Pienaar bows to Safa's tough stance

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The 25-year-old midfielder had requested to delay his departure to play in the first-leg semi against Chelsea on Tuesday.

Everton will now call on Nigeria’s Joseph Yobo and Yakubu Aiyegbeni who will leave late for the Ghana tournament.

Pienaar has been told to join up with his team-mates Aaron Mokoena (Blackburn Rovers), Nasief Morris (Panathinaikos), Tsepo Masilela (Maccabi Haifa) and Thembinkosi Fanteni (Ajax Cape Town) are also due to arrive at the same time to complete the side.

Safa’s director of communications Morio Sanyane said a tough decision was needed to be made on attendance.

_quote “Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira wanted to help out domestic clubs but realised that if he allowed Pienaar to stay, he would have to let the other players attend late as well. This would not be in the best interest of the team.

“I’m sure Pienaar will be disappointed that he is missing out on this game, but the consolation is that he will have the opportunity to play against the greatest players in Africa.

“It was a difficult decision to make, but at the end of the day, your country must come first. Logistically speaking, we are very happy with our preparations, the majority of the players have arrived; it’s so far so good. We will know more though when we play our friendly matches in the coming weeks.”

Bafana is set to play friendlies against Mozambique on January 13 before facing Botswana three days later.

Bafana manager Sipho Nkumane, who arrived back from Ghana yesterday from a final inspection tour, confirms that the overseas-based players will arrive in camp by Sunday.

“All the players are now in camp with the exception of a few overseas based players who have all confirmed that they will be arriving. The squad had training today in Johannesburg and will be leaving for Durban afterwards.”

Nkumane added that they are expecting all the players to submit their contract forms this evening.

“They never had time to submit them because as soon as they arrived at camp, they went straight into training. But we are expecting them back this evening.”

Meanwhile the South African Football Players Union reveals that it will meet Bafana players today and tomorrow in a move aimed at advising them on their contracts with Safa.

Sapfu organising secretary Cappy Matutoane says the union is exercising its advisory role and wants to listen to the national team players’ ‘grievances’.

“The players want advice from us and it is our role as a union to offer them that,” Matutoane adds.

SAFA have meanwhile rubbished such reports.

The union wrote to Safa requesting a meeting on the issue but the mother body has turned them down.