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South African fans at the stadium after Bafana’s win over New Zealand have singled out Steven Pienaar for praise…

Steven Pienaar played only a handful of minutes in South Africa’s first Confederations Cup match against Iraq, but this time his injury problems were put behind him and he started the match with New Zealand.

Just as well for Bafana fans, as his return to the team provided confidence and flair to the South African midfield, allowing them to dominate the match, and get a well-deserved win over the All Whites.

After the game, Goal.com spoke to some South African fans in the crowd, and they were pleased to have Pienaar back, confirming his immense popularity with the Bafana supporters.

Janine said, “Pienaar is our most important European export, but he does not forget where he comes from and he always reserves his best for the national team. For me he was the man of the match.”

Jerry believed that Bernard Parker was the top player tonight for Bafana, but he had kind words for Pienaar as well. “Parker stood out and scored as he always does, but I have to admit that Pienaar makes a difference whenever he is playing, it is a pity he is often injured.”

Sipho was delirious from his side’s victory, but he too attributed the change in attitude to the Everton man. “Pienaar pushed the side forward, he was talking to them always, leading them from the midfield and talking to the youngsters like Parker to make sure they kept their heads. He is a great player for South Africa, and he will be our only hope for any goals against Spain.”

Martin, a freelance journalist from America added his opinion during the match, saying, “Pienaar was phenomenal, he is a very mature player, very calm, they missed that in their first game.”

Peter Pedroncelli, Goal.com

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