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Arsene Wenger rates Bafana chances at World Cup

Posted: 10 June 2010 Time: 11:13

Arsene Wenger says Steven Pienaar would definitely make the Arsenal starting XI, adding that he has been eyeing the Bafana Bafana star since his days at Ajax Amsterdam.

Speaking to at the Castrol Index event in Sandton, the Frenchman had nothing but praise for ‘Schillo’, who will be carrying the nation’s hopes going into the 2010 World Cup.

“I believe that he has grown this year,” Wenger says of Pienaar, who was voted Everton’s Player of the Season. “He was usually a very busy player where the final ball was missing a little bit, but this year he has gained in personality, and he has kept his work-rate, so he has been much more efficient.

“I believe what also played a big role in his growth was that [Mikel] Arteta was not there for a while, and that he had to take the responsibility of being the playmaker of the team. In fairness, he was one of the best players in England this year,” Wenger tells

Asked whether Pienaar, whose future is still the subject of much discussion, would get into the Gunners team, Wenger responded: “He would get into the Arsenal team, yes. I always had an eye on him since he was at Ajax.” also quizzed Wenger about Bafana rightback Anele Ngongca, who went to Highbury for trials three years ago and was told by the Frenchman that he would be better suited as a fullback than a midfielder.

“I remember him, yes. I believe it is important in a career that you find your position. In midfield, when you don’t see, it’s difficult. When you play fullback you are aggressive and have good qualities, and you also have the advantage of seeing the entire game in front of you,” he says of the advice he gave Ngongca.

Wenger was also very impressed by the enthusiasm of the South African supporters, and believes Bafana could spring a surprise or two at the tournament.

“I got a very good impression on my way to the hotel. Everyone is happy and is showing great enthusiasm,” he says.

“The home support will be vital for South Africa. It could, of course, be an advantage or a disadvantage. Advantage because of the incredible support, but disadvantage because of the pressure that it brings. How they handle the pressure will be key, but they have a very experienced manager who will keep them in a realistic mood.”

Wenger admits he was worried about the hosts’ poor run of form a few months ago.

“I was worried about South Africa until recently, but they seemed to have found form now. They look a very well organized side, but maybe just miss those stand-out players. The first game will be very important for them – if they can get through the first round, they could surprise.”

* For more on the Castrol Index, visit Castrol Football

Previous comments on this story...

posted: 11:27 am
Same thing i have been preaching, if Schillo leave Everton he should go to a team like Arsenal, where his style of play will be well accomodated!!!otherwise you will be gambling with your future!!!
Don Archie
posted: 11:30 am
Mr Wenger, there is a Player Called Teko Modise, his dream is to play for Arsenal Please check him out.
posted: 11:54 am
teko is too old 4 overseas plz,besides he is jus an overated actor
posted: 11:54 am
SA sells soccer tickets, as'thengisi i-skelem Mr. Wenger, Gunners play fast pace soccer, while Pinaar plays slow. No need to kiss our bums, we won't rob you, you don't need to be extra nice us. I only see Pinaar chasing after action at your club and finally settle himself down at the banch...
posted: 12:07 pm
Please Sir Wenger...Peter Odenwengie from Nigeria is the best boy you need this season,He is a second fabregas..Try and watch the young man and see what i am telling you if you can pick Peter Odengengie and Pienaar from Africa
posted: 12:16 pm
Busani I tend to disagree with you. The Gunners have regular players like Abou Diaby and Samir Nasri who are quiet slower than Pienaar. Like Stonza says I also believe Pienaar can fit in well in the Gunners set up. But you are right Mr Wenger need not to be extra nice to us. He should speak his mind. I also believe him when he says Bafana stand a good chance to advance from group stages...
posted: 12:40 pm
Hey, Busani i m with u mf2 GUNNERS are playing stright, fast & simple football so they wont understand him, they 'll c him as time ballwaster bcos he lyks 2 knock the ball arround slowlly, as fans we want 2 c him on the field not as a bench warmer.
posted: 01:10 pm
Boy do I love the WC fever, BrokeFan has never been so nice, everytime I see my name in his comments I just think he's gonna spit fire. please man, stay a gentleman even when club soccer resume...
posted: 01:49 pm
ALLY : 2010-06-10 12:40 [ Report ]
Busani: 2010-06-10 11:54 [ Report ]
Guys do you ever watch the Gunners? Diaby and fabregas how they delay the ball and try to look for spaces and pass around?
Busani: 2010-06-10 13:10 [ Report ]
fever will be bigons will be bigons more Mr. Nice guy
posted: 12:13 am
Three Greek World Cup players had money stolen from their hotel rooms and Chinese journalists were robbed at gunpoint, officials said on Thursday. The incidents in the crime-plagued host country follow the armed robbery of Spanish and Portuguese journalists at a lodge north of Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Police said a group of tourists from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Tanzania returned to their bus at a visit to a wine estate outside Cape Town to find nine passports, two digital cameras, a laptop and $500 cash missing. A case of theft had been opened, a statement said.

I just hope they're not going blame it on Naija as they usually do.

Khosi 4 Life Since 1970
posted: 06:51 am
Okocha: 2010-06-11 00:13

Fnck u mother fncker!
Khosi 4 Life Since 1970
posted: 06:53 am
Okocha: 2010-06-11 00:13

if u are bored, then go and f.uck yourself. Mother f.ucker!
Khosi 4 Life Since 1970
posted: 06:54 am
@ Okocha you are jealous pimp!
Khosi 4 Life Since 1970
posted: 06:54 am
@ u a gay pimp!
Khosi 4 Life Since 1970
posted: 06:57 am
Gay pimps like you Okocha should be slained in a merciless manner. Jou dondor!

You must be chopped piece by piece, by the same thiefs that stole those goods.

Voetsek man! Nx!
Skepe Mketule
posted: 09:00 am

here are players to watch:

Khuboni to replace Viera
Shabalala to replace marc Overmars

pls bring those days back.
Skepe Mketule
posted: 09:13 am

here are players to watch:

Khuboni to replace Viera
Shabala for Marc Overmars

Pls bring back those days maaan
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