WHILE clairvoyance is hardly one of my talents, it shouldn't be too difficult to foretell that an envelope bearing an all too familiar letter could soon find its way to the South African Football Association's (Safa's) Nasrec offices.
This letter should come as no surprise to anyone as it seems it's now only a matter of time before Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar is encouraged to start thinking about giving the national soccer team the finger.
Pienaar was caught in the middle of a simmering standoff between Safa and Everton after the English side refused to release the player to Bafana Bafana at the weekend ahead of this month's African Nations Cup.
Everton manager David Moyes had told all who cared to listen that they had paid Pienaar's hefty wages and, because of this, would not release the player to Bafana on January 6 as they were required to.
"We have been on with it for weeks and months speaking to people about it and we thought a little bit of common sense would prevail," Moyes barked.
It's important to note that at that point, Moyes thought he held all the aces and would be able to play Pienaar in Everton's League Cup semifinal against Chelsea last night through what he believed to be a Fifa loophole.
The Everton manager mistakenly thought that Fifa's 14-day rule would allow Pienaar to feature last night as Bafana opening African Nations Cup match is only on January 23.
But as Fifa delightedly pointed out to the English club this week, the 14-day rule relates to the start of the Ghana tournament (in this case, January 20) and not to Bafana's first match in Ghana.
So Everton and their irate manager were forced to release the player after Fifa threatened them with fire and brimstone.
This is certainly not the end of it as irate Everton supporters are now even suggesting on the club's website that Pienaar should think about resigning from the national team.
This notorious method of avoiding the club versus country standoff was, of course, popularised by one Benni Mc-Carthy and those who pledge their allegiance to Everton reckon Pienaar would be best served following this sickening route.
Problem is the fans could merely be voicing in public what their club management has already suggested to Pienaar behind closed doors.
Unfortunately, Pienaar would find it difficult to reject such a suggestion as he is still pretty much on probation at Everton.
The poor lad is still on loan to Everton and is using the current English premiership season to convince Moyes to make his move from German club Borussia Dortmund permanent.
So all this bickering between Safa, coach Carlos Alberto Parreira and Moyes is certainly not helping Pienaar.
And even more problematic for Safa is the continuing suspicion that Parreira gave McCarthy preferential treatment by not selecting the Blackburn Rovers striker to the African Nations Cup squad. Suspicion persists that Parreira cut a deal with Blackburn manager Mark Hughes and McCarthy, and assured them when he begged the player to return from self-imposed exile last year that he would not disrupt the side's programme during the Nations Cup.
Players are not stupid and they must also be asking themselves if these widely circulating rumours are indeed true because, curiously, Parreira had maintained on several occasions last year that McCarthy was a luxury to South African football before suddenly dropping the striker on the eve of the continental tournament. Pienaar must be thinking that he, on the other hand, agreed to play in the Nations Cup and only asked for permission to arrive at a later date.
At this rate, he might need very little encouragement from Everton to quit the national team if he thinks for one minute that players are not equal in this squad and that Bafana revolves around McCarthy.
Pienaar Article On South African Press
Posted 10 Jan 2008 - 20:39
Posted 10 Jan 2008 - 20:47
Posted 11 Jan 2008 - 08:35
I think Safa really could have been flexible on this matter rather than annoying both the player and his club.
Also I'm very anti-Parreira - overpaid tw*t who's not gonna be able to improve the SA side one inch. So far we've shown few signs of improvement and I'm seriously worried about becoming the first host nation not to progress beyond the first round. He's a waste of money, not going to do anything more than what one of our local coaches could have done.
Posted 11 Jan 2008 - 09:53
Posted 11 Jan 2008 - 09:58
On a more serious note, to think that players should quit their national teams because of club commitments is ridiculous. We would be left with a league full of carragers. (shudder). And also as raccy said, Pienaar has a guarneteed place in the next world cup, hes hardly going to fuck that off is he?
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