BAFANA Bafana midfield kingpin Steven "Schillo" Pienaar, admitted yesterday that his legs were tired after a grueling season in the English Premiership with Everton.
Bafana's hopes - prior to the World Cup - were pinned firmly on the midfield maestro to dazzle and guide the national squad into the second round of the global tournament for the first time in the country's history.
The midfield star said after 26 games for Everton in 2010, his legs were a little tired. "But as long as my mind and heart are sound and behind Bafana, and I will fight hard.
"I aim to get more involved when we play Uruguay (at Loftus) on Wednesday."
Pienaar looked a pale shadow of the player who was voted Everton's player of the season, during Bafana's nail biting 1-all draw in their opening 2010 Group A clash against Mexico at Soccer City on Friday.
He was substituted midway through the second half by Bernard Parker.
Pienaar said he was not feeling the pressure or the weight of expectation on his shoulders of being the "big star" in Bafana.
"It was a tough season in England for me and I will shake it off (tired legs) hopefully against Uruguay."
He stressed that he will be more fired up when Bafana tackle 16th-ranked Uruguay in their second Group A tomorrow night.
"We will be more relaxed against Uruguay as we now have Mexico out of the way. We were all nervous in that first game.
"But we got our act together in the second half and need to continue from there against Uruguay."
The gifted linkman said Bafana were not scared of the physically imposing Uruguayan defenders. "We have nothing to fear as that is all part of the game. We must focus on our own game and not be nervous."
Pienaar also said June 16 - Youth Day - was a special day for him and the players. "It is a big day in South African history and we as players want to beat Uruguay and take a step closer to reaching the knockout phase and thereby making it a double celebration for South Africa.
"I'm confident we can upset Uruguay. The way we played in the second half against Mexico has given us a huge boost."
l Also see Page 5 in the Let's Go 2010 supplement inside. - Sapa