Former Bafana star bemoans state of School of Excellence

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A former Bafana Bafana star says he would like to see government helping the South African Football Transnet Football School of Excellence to revive again, and produce players for professional teams just like in years gone by.

Steven Pienaar, a product of the school, says he would like to see youngsters playing in professional, top European leagues.

“When I was there it was totally different. Transnet pumped in a lot of money into the school because they believed in the project and they were fully behind it,” Pienaar told TimesLIVE.

“Over the last couple of years, the school has been going bit downward with not enough players coming through for different reasons,” he added.

“I don’t know if it’s the financial part of things with sponsors not putting enough money in or what.

“It is a school that the government has to get involved because it has produced a lot of talented players,” he stated.

The school has produced many top players likes of Daine Klate, Bernard Parker, Dillon Sheppard and Bryce Moon.

“If I am not mistaken, about 80% of the players from the school turned professional and some of them played for Bafana Bafana.

“At some stage when I was playing for the SA Under-19 national team, we had about eight players from the school. It clearly shows that development is very important for the future of the national team,” he said.

After leaving Ajax Cape Town, Pienaar joined Ajax Amsterdam in the Netherlands. He also played in Germany for Borussia Dortmund and went to England to play for Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland. Then he came back to SA and joined Bidvest Wits before retiring.

“We don’t have a lot of development schools like that and it is just sad the way it is going now with the school.”

Pienaar is still in the Netherlands working on coaching courses.

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By Boromo Mokoena

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