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Pienaar targeting Bafana glory

By Barney Cullum
BBC Sport

Steven Pienaar
Pienaar has been in fine form for his club Everton of late
South African international Steven Pienaar has backed coach Joel Santana to deliver glory for the hosts of the Confederations Cup in June and the World Cup next year.

Bafana Bafana meet Chile in an international friendly in Polokwane on Wednesday on the back of a record five-match winning run.

Their stretch of victories has included notable wins over Cameroon and Ghana, as well as local rivals Zambia.

After the disappointment of missing out on qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola 2010, Pienaar says Santana has since instilled soaring confidence in the side through careful man- management and a creative footballing philosophy.

"The players are relishing being part of an attacking team," Pienaar told BBC Sport.

"Santana doesn't shout and scream, but he still gets the best out of the players. He's a very honest man and that is very important to African players.

"Santana wants us to play really attacking football, the sort of football that Brazil play.

We are now looking to France in 1998 as our inspiration

Steven Pienaar
"We played well in the qualifiers but it's only now that the pressure's off that we're getting the results."

The Everton midfielder - who may miss out on the Chile match after picking up a hamstring injury - says that his international teammates are now enjoying the expectation that has been put on them as Africa's first World Cup hosts.

"We are now looking to France in 1998 as our inspiration," the former Ajax and Borussia Dortmund playmaker said.

"If you look at France, they didn't do well in the European Championships or World Cup in their previous two tournaments, so to do as well as they did as World Cup hosts was a surprise.

"We have our confidence back now and our new aim is to play as well as we can and see what happens."

However, with the team now enjoying their best winning sequence since their return to international competition in 1992, Pienaar believes they are capable of causing an upset at the Confederations Cup in June.

"If we can reach the final it will be an eye-opener for the rest of the world," Pienaar said.

"We've got the talent and players to do well. All we need now is the twelfth man of the crowd to get behind us and give us the extra lift to get us the result."

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see also
Pienaar hopes to delay departure
03 Jan 08 |  African
Pienaar seeks Nations Cup delay
22 Dec 07 |  African
Pienaar: Everton feels like home
12 Dec 07 |  African

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