Steven Pienaar announces retirement

After ten years of service Steven Pienaar has resigned from playing for the national side citing his physical condition being the reason behind his decision to retire
Steven Pienaar officially retired from international football on Tuesday.

Bafana Bafana's captain was in Gordon Igesund's squad until five PM yesterday evening however the coach received a letter from the star midfielder announcing his retirement from the national side. Pienaar believes he cannot continue to play for both Everton and Bafana Bafana without comprimising his physical condition.

In his letter Pienaar stated, "It is with regret that I wish to advise you that with immediate effect I am no longer available for selection to represent South Africa.

"After having given more than 10 years to the national team, I am struggling to balance the physical demands of playing in England and playing for the national team.

"I am proud to have represented and captained my country. I sincerely thank you and wish the team all the best for the future."

The letter was read out at the squad announcement press conference in Johannesburg on Tuesday afternoon. Pienaar's talent and experience will be sorely missed by Bafana Bafana, as they prepare to qualify for the upcoming World Cup in Brazil and host the African Cup of Nations next year.

Gordon Igesund expressed his dismay at the news but called for people to respect Steven Pienaar's choice. He believes that it was a tough decision for the player who must be struggling to juggle playing for Everton and the national side.

"From the coaching point of view and country's point of view it is very disappointing beacuse I think Steven Pienaar would have played a huge part in our success in the AFCON and going forward.

"I think I need to ask you to respect his decision, there is no doubt in my mind that this was a difficult decision.

"He deserves the respect, he has made the decision. I think we just need to move on.

"We need to give Steven the credit he deserves. Steven has given ten good years."

Bongani Khumalo was named captain of the national side following the announcement of Pienaar's retirement.

The Everton midfielder has been Bafana Bafana's most successful internationally-based player for years and he is still considered to be one of finer midfielders playing in Europe.

Bafana Bafana's new impetus may be affected by the loss of one of their most important players.