Steven Pienaar stands by Bafana retirement decision

Everton midfielder has no regrets over ditching South Africa before the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations

Former Bafana Bafana skipper Steven Pienaar has reiterated his desire to retire from international football, despite a visit from national coach Gordon Igesund last week.

Igesund and his assistant Serame Letsoaka were in England to visit a number of players and their managers to discuss Bafana’s preparations for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

The pair met with Pienaar, but it seems they were not able to change his mind over his decision last month to call time on his national team career.

“The most important thing was for me to think about myself and my body,” the Everton star was quoted as saying in the Chester Chronicle. “To be honest I’ve got a reason why I retired from international football and it was for my health.

“I think it was a good idea not to go back and hopefully I can stay fit for the rest of the season.”

It leaves a gaping hole in the creative midfield department that Igesund now hopes to fill with Thulani Serero, though it is unlikely that the Ajax Amsterdam youngster will be 100 percent fit for the tournament.

Despite Pienaar’s decision, he remains a cheerleader for the side and tweeted for fans to get behind Bafana Bafana at the 2013 Afcon following the 1-0 loss to Zambia on Wednesday night.

"SA supporters have to give GI [Gordon Igesund] and the team time, judge after the Afcon please people of Mzansi. They will do well," he said.