Playing in the Soweto derby for either Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates remains one of Steven Pienaar’s unfulfilled ambitions and the midfielder says he hopes to change that before calling time on his career.
Pienaar’s second spell at English Premier League side Everton came to an end two weeks ago and he has already been linked with several clubs in South Africa and in the cash-rich Chinese Super League.
The 34 year-old dribbling wizard told Times Media Digital that he still has two seasons left in him and he would know in the next two weeks where he is headed next.
Pienaar said while he does not have any concrete offers on the table at the moment‚ the idea of walking into a packed FNB Stadium and playing in South African footballs’ biggest game sounds very attractive to him.
‘‘The idea of playing in that (the Soweto Derby) game‚ you know‚ really appeals to me‚” he said.
‘‘It is‚ after all‚ the biggest game in South Africa. I have spoken to a lot of (Chiefs and Pirates) players and they go on about this game. And with me being an Orlando Pirates fan‚ it is obviously a game that interests me.
‘‘My friends always tell me when they’ve played in the game that‚ wow….. just the atmosphere in the stadium alone is something else. Everyone wants to be part of something like that.’’
The well-travelled Pienaar — who has also played for Tottenham Hotspur‚ Borussia Dortmund and Ajax Amsterdam — has already been linked with a move to recently crowned Premier Soccer League champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
But the player dismissed the claims as nothing more than off-season transfer speculation that is typical of this time of the year.
‘‘At the moment I haven’t heard anything (from any club) and there is nothing concrete on the table. So I’m just back home now and enjoying myself on holiday‚ offering support to the kids from (his old neighbourhood) Westbury. Maybe I will know in the next two weeks.
‘‘I have always said I wanted to come back home and finish my career in South Africa. So yeah‚ I’m at that stage at 34 years old‚ and I believe I still have two seasons left in me. So if that opportunity comes‚ I will have to think about it. There is nothing concrete at the moment and a lot of what you see out there is just speculation.”
Should Pienaar chose to end his career in SA‚ he would follow in the footsteps of striker Benni McCarthy who joined Pirates in 2011 after a glittering 14-year stay in Europe that included a Champions League medal with Portuguese club Porto in 2004. — TMG Digital