Early starts killed Pienaar's passion
Posted: 1 March 2018 Time: 11:01
Steven Pienaar says waking up earlier than he had ever done in his career for training at Bidvest Wits provided the final push in his decision to hang his boots.
Pienaar spent just under six months at Wits before parting ways with the club at the end of last year.
The former Bafana Bafana skipper announced his retirement yesterday following a successful playing career, mostly spent in Europe.
“What I went through in the last five months tilted the bucket more towards me retiring,” Pienaar tells KickOff.com.
“I joined them in Cape Town for pre-season but when we came back in my second week I had already approached the coach and told him that ‘coach, I don’t think I can do this thing of waking up so early at seven in the morning to attend training. It is the first time in my career that I am waking up at 07h00 to go to training for a session that starts at 09h00’. He just said to me I will get used to it but at my age I couldn’t put up with sitting in the car for an hour or an hour-and-a-half just to get to training. Every morning I was complaining and I just thought this is not how I want to spend my last year playing football.
“That was the point when I thought ‘I can’t be waking up at seven o’clock because I have never in my whole career woken up at seven o’clock’. Sometimes I would wake up half past six just to go to training for a nine o’clock session,” reveals Pienaar.
Wits coach Gavin Hunt has traditionally held his training sessions early in the morning.
'Lachie', as he is known back in Westbury where he was born, adds that he couldn’t spend so much time sitting in the car going to training and eventually not play as much as he would have wanted to.
Pienaar made 11 appearances in all competitions for Wits, before parting ways with the club at the end of December last.
“I wanted to finish in a nicer way than spending all my energy sitting in the car. So slowly that hunger (to play) was just going away and in the end it just didn’t work out. However, I am grateful to the club (Wits) for giving me the opportunity to come back and play a few games in the PSL.
"I wanted to play more but obviously I am not the coach. If I was the coach I was going to play every week, but he obviously had his own ways of doing things and I respect him for that. I never went up to him once and said ‘why am l not playing?’
“I was always professional even though some days and weeks we wouldn’t talk. I was always professional and would show up early for training and work as hard as any other player at training, and then go home to spend time with my kids afterwards.
"I told myself that at 35 I don’t need to be moaning. I didn’t want to start fighting with people and so I decided if it is not working for both parties then let this be it,” he explains.
Pienaar turns 36 this month and has indicated that he will be revealing some of his retirement plans in the next couple of weeks.