everton honour PIENAAR

STEVEN "Schillo" Pienaar has been voted English Premiership club Everton's player of the season.

Pienaar has been a revelation for the Toffees since he moved there from German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund in 2007.

South Africans will be hoping that he can carry his form into the World Cup and help the country progress to the second round of the tournament.

Safa vice-president Mandla "Shoes" Mazibuko welcomed the news yesterday, which he described as "the best news I've heard today".

"This is really good and inspiring news and hopefully it will rub off on other players during the World Cup. What is even better is that we are trying to revive Transnet School of Excellence, of which Pienaar is a product," Mazibuko said.

Others who wished Pienaar well were former Bafana internationals Doctor Khumalo and Philemon "Chippa" Masinga.

Khumalo said: "I think it is a good achievement and he has certainly set a very good example for the youngsters that hard work does pay. He is well respected by players from other countries and that means they are not going to take us as minnows. We can only hope that he does not sustain any serious injuries before the World Cup."

Masinga, who played in the English Premiership for Leeds United in the 1990s, said the Westbury-born midfielder should play his normal game during the tournament and not put himself under pressure.

"It is absolutely remarkable that he has won it. I know how tough that league is and what makes this award extra special is that he is playing with other internationals," Masinga said.

Pienaar, who is recovering from injury, is already looking ahead to next season with Everton.

"It is really an honour to win, not only because of the award itself but also receiving it in the (Anglican) Cathedral makes it something special," Pienaar said. "My league is starting now for next season. Hopefully I can return for Portsmouth then go to the World Cup with my national team and then come back for the other games at Everton next season." - additional information from evertonfc.com