“Obviously I’m very happy to have returned to the starting line-up. I think the most important thing for me was to use my experience in midfield,” the midfielder said.
Pienaar, who has come off a superb season for Everton, was noticeably
vocal and busy throughout the match as he linked up play often from
right to left or vice versa.
“The coach just told us to go out there and enjoy ourselves and we did,
but I also tried to help my team-mates out there with advice and a bit
of coaching," he said.
“When I had a few words with Bernard [Parker] during the second half, I just
wanted us to be more patient and hold the ball better. It’s
disappointing we didn’t score more goals because it might come back to
haunt us but we must celebrate this victory and then look forward to
Echoing Pienaar’s sentiments on using experience was captain Aaron Mokoena – South Africa’s record cap holder on 87. “Steven’s return tonight was very important, the experience he has and
the confidence he has on the ball was very important for us. It meant
we could control the match,” the defender said.
Asked whether he thought South Africa’s vastly improved performance was
down to a change from the ‘defensive’ tactics coach Santana employed
against Iraq, the central defender disagreed. “We basically played
3-4-3 against Iraq and in my estimation that’s not defensive," he argued.
“Also, tonight we played 4-3-3 and that’s not defensive either. I feel
we just played better tonight and knowing what we had to do was
The Bafana Bafana captain knows exactly what lies ahead on Saturday, when South Africa face Spain.
“They’re a team packed with great players all over the field,” he said.
“We know it will be a difficult match for us, but I think it will be
difficult for them too. We play similar football but they have the
experience over us.
“However, in saying that, we will be very determined and will throw everything at them.”