Steven Pienaar, former captain of the South African national team, will be returning to his home country and will sign with Bidvest Wits. Pienaar signed a one year deal with the club after his contract with English club Sunderland expired last month. Pienaar announced the signing with a Twitter message saying, “I am officially a Clever Boy,” referring to one of the old nicknames for the club.
Pienaar had previously been linked to the Kaizer Chiefs and the Orlando Pirates. Bidvest Wits won its first ever South African league title last year, and hopes Pienaar can help them achieve a repeat. This marks Bidvest Wits’ second major signing of the offseason, after acquiring Daylon Claassen from the German club 1860 Munich. Bidwest Wits head coach Gavin Hunt is optimistic that these signings, particularly Pienaar, will push them over the top. “He wants to win things and he is a good leader. He will fit well into the team. Those qualities make him a good signing.” Hunt hopes that Pienaar can impart those values to the rest of the club, saying, “If you want to be competitive‚ it is important that you strengthen your team, but you must make sure that the players you bring have the right attitude and mind-set.”
— Bidvest Wits (@BidvestWits) June 29, 2017
This marks a long awaited return for Pienaar, who last played for a South African club in 2001 with Ajax Cape Town as a teenager. At the age of 18, he was signed by Ajax in the Netherlands. In his five seasons, he along with fellow future star Zlatan Ibrahimovic helped the club win two Eredivisie titles. After a one year stint with Borussia Dortmund, he spent several years in England with Everton and Tottenham Hotspur, in addition to 15 Premier League appearances with Sunderland last season.