This time last year, during his annual football tournament in Westbury, Steven Pienaar spoke of his burning desire to emulate Neil Tovey by lifting the coveted Africa Cup of Nations title on home soil.
Pienaar seemed excited, eager to lead Bafana to their first Cup of Nations title since 1996.
But just three months before the Cup of Nations, Pienaar called time on his international career, ditching the squad ahead of the friendly matches against Poland and Kenya. Bizarre, considering he was all hyped up to lead the national team to success.
Back to host the Steven Pienaar Community Tournament in his home territory of Westbury, the Everton midfielder said on Sunday he will not reverse his decision to quit the national side, revealing he wanted to spend more time with his family and concentrate more on club football. “Retiring from the national team hurt me, but it was a decision I had to make. And I will have to live with it forever.
“I’m 31, turning 32 next year, so I don’t think I will come back. I’m a man of my word and to be honest, my family is very important to me, my kids, I’m happy to spend my time with my them. When there is an international break, I can go on holiday with my kids and that’s important to me. It’s something I have never had for 15 years and now that I do have it, I’m enjoying it and it feels good.