Pitso Mosimane “loves” Steven Pienaar‚ and would also love to have him at Mamelodi Sundowns.
Sundowns coach Mosimane says Pienaar should have “fun” when he returns to wind down his career in the Premier Soccer League‚ which could make the trophy-successful‚ attractive football environment at Downs a good option for the Everton midfielder and former Bafana Bafana captain as a next career move.
Pienaar‚ 34‚ is a free agent and reported to be between minds on pursuing a few more seasons in Europe or returning to South Africa after a glittering career abroad.
Mosimane said Downs would certainly offer the midfielder – who played just four Premier League games for Everton in their past season – a home.
“We love Pienaar. I don’t know what ‘Schillaci’ has. He’s got options this side‚” Mosimane said.
“For him it’s not about the money‚ I don’t think. I think he must have fun in South Africa.
“But he’s a good boy. He was my captain in Bafana. We’ve shared good moments.
“I knew him when he was 16 years old. I was visiting him and his parents in a flat in Westbury when he was 16.
“I watched all his games in the SA Under-17 squad when he was still with the School of Excellence. I used to visit him in hospital when he had an ACL [anterior cruciate ligament] at 16.
“I bought him all the books to show him that he can go to Europe. Those are the memories we share – and he was my [Bafana] captain.”
Pienaar’s agent‚ Rob Moore‚ is reported to have held talks with Orlando Pirates‚ while Kaizer Chiefs have also expressed interest in the midfielder who notched 61 caps for Bafana before retiring internationally in 2013.
While “big three” rivals Chiefs and Pirates have been signing furiously in this off-season‚ Downs have made just the one acquisition in Brazilian defender Ricardo dos Santos Nascimento.
Mosimane said the club have been scared off by asking prices. He made a thinly veiled reference at the price tag Bidvest Wits have put on playmaker Sibusiso Vilakazi‚ while the coach also said PSL champions Downs are only interested in adding quality to their squad.
“You know who we want to sign. You guys [the press] are writing about it. But we can’t have them – they are expensive‚” Mosimane said.
“We’ve only made one signing. We are waiting for quality. I don’t want to bring in a player who’s not going to make the starting line-up – what’s the point?
“But we can’t afford to pay so much money. In my opinion I don’t think there is a player who is worth more than R10 million in South Africa.
“Even my players are not worth that. Even Khama Billiat – R10 million locally? Unless the foreign currency come in – then we must sell them at a high price.”
He said Nascimento needs time to find his match fitness.
“He’s had three-and-a-half week’s rest. He’s just starting to train. We’ll bring him in in games in the last 20 to 30 minutes.”