- Former Bafana Bafana soccer star Steven Pienaar is a player who many feel was underrated in his career on the field
- Pienaar recently announced his retirement, however not from the sport entirely as he has launched a coaching career in Europe
- The Westbury-born icon now enjoys the game from the sidelines as an analyst, which pleases many as it means Pienaar's football skills will not go to waste
Dubbed as one of South Africa’s finest footballers, former Bafana Bafana midfielder Steven Pienaar is among those people who perfectly fit the category of going from rags to riches.
Born and bred in an impoverished environment in Johannesburg - Westbury - where he witnessed gang violence, Pienaar rose to prominence as a teenager and went on to become a household name for both his clubs and the national team.
Famously known as ‘Schillo’ to his admirers, the 38-year-old launched his career with the now-defunct Ajax Cape Town back in 1998 until 2001 when he left to join Dutch giants, Ajax Amsterdam.
Having also donned jerseys of top European clubs such as Everton and Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League, among others, the retired creative midfielder returned home in 2017 to join former South African Premier League champions Bidvest Wits under four-time Premier Soccer League winner Gavin Hunt, who is now in charge of Kaizer Chiefs.
Although his stint was cut short due to lack of regular game time, Pienaar opted to hang up his boots and reports immediately surfaced that he was considering a career in coaching.
On the other hand, his mission was to unleash talented youngsters, especially from his neighbourhood, through his sponsor, Puma, and his foundation, the Steven Pienaar Foundation.
Taking a look at his achievements, the nippy legend featured more than 60 times for the 1996 African champions and lifted the Dutch Eredivisie titles with Ajax on two occasions, plus the KNVB trophy.
Having completed his UEFA A Licence in December 2019, he returned to Ajax as a trainee coach just after working with Dutch amateur outfit SV Robinhood under manager Nana Tutu.
Coming to individual accolades, Pienaar bagged the UEFA Champions League Top Assist Provider during the 2005/06 campaign.
In other soccer news from Briefly.co.za, Pienaar's former colleague Benni McCarthy has scooped the Premier Soccer League Coach of the Month Award for the month of March.
Coach Benni McCarthy of AmaZulu and Mamelodi Sundowns' Peter Shalulile have made themselves and their football fans extremely proud after they both received the titles of Coach of the Month and Player of the Month respectively.
The pair were honoured with the titles for the period 12 January to 14 February by a panel of experts that were made up of former soccer players, soccer radio commentators and also analysts and football media.
The recently-appointed AmaZulu manager has led his club to six matches without suffering a defeat across all competitions.
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