JOHANNESBURG – The supposed heir to the Steven Pienaar’s throne – the king playmaker in South African football – blames himself for not following in the royal steps laid for him.
Wits’ Daylon Claasen was viewed as the man to take over from Pienaar in making Bafana Bafana tick.
But instead of taking over from Pienaar, the 27-year-old dropped off the radar after playing in the 2009 Under-20 World Cup.
He only made brief cameos in the Bafana set-up thereafter and wandered in The Netherlands, Belgium, Poland and Germany before coming home.
“The reason I didn’t reach that level is lack of consistency,” Claasen said. “My game was on and off. That’s one thing I am looking to improve this season.
“I don’t blame anyone for what happened. You must look at yourself before you look at other people because the key to changing whatever is wrong lies with you, not other people.
“Being critical of yourself isn’t always bad. It’s good because you can be honest and say that I did badly here, and this is how I will improve. You learn from that.”
Claasen now calls Pienaar his teammate.
“I am happy that I am able to play with him before he hangs up his boots, because ‘Schillo’ isn’t a youngster,” Claasen said with a chuckle.
I'm officially a Clever Boy
The pair are the Clever Boys’ marquee signings. Kobamelo Kodisang, Bokang Thlone and centre-back Slavko Damjanovic from Montenegro are the other signings the PSL champions have made during the off-season.
“I’ve seen Daylon grow up from the days at Ajax (Amsterdam),” Pienaar said. “He has matured into a quality player. I have always been his fan. I am really happy to be in the same team with him. He has always looked up to me, and I give him advice.
“I am happy the way he has progressed in his career. Journalists always write that this is the next so-and-so, but I think that he has his own talent and his own abilities to become someone special in South Africa.”
There will be no time for Claasen to be inconsistent at Wits.
The Milpark-based side have a solid squad of midfielders, and then there is the hard-to-please coach, Gavin Hunt.