Schillo IS READY TO LEAD

BAFANA Bafana playmaker Steven "Schillo" Pienaar is confident Bafana can go further than the second round of the World Cup.

BAFANA Bafana playmaker Steven "Schillo" Pienaar is confident Bafana can go further than the second round of the World Cup.

Pienaar's bold statement comes when even the best-case scenarios drawn by most punters about Carlos Alberto Parreira's side have been rather bleak.

"I absolutely believe that we can go beyond the second round. Self-belief is always key for me and I believe in myself and am now looking forward to wrapping up the season with a good World Cup performance," said Pienaar, who is Everton's player of the season.

Pienaar's assumption of responsibility shows he has acquired just the right amount of arrogance necessary to be an international operator who now commands, according to media reports, a £15million price for his services.

Schillo also seems to possess the humility that could make him the perfect anchor in a team that has a lot to prove before the World Cup kickoff.

Coming through the ranks and being a youngster in the 2002 Korea and Japan tournament, Pienaar also accepts his seniority in this team and says he will not resist the captain's armband when Aaron Mokoena retires.

"Before, it was time to learn but it is now time to be a leader. When it comes to captaincy, why not? It will be an honour to lead my country.

"There is a lot of responsibility that comes with that. The aspect of my game that I would like to improve is that I can do with a bit of selfishness in front of goal."

And how is Benni McCarthy shaping up?

"He looked sharp to me when I saw him play yesterday. I think he had to first get used to the altitude," Pienaar said.

Bafana's sold-out friendly international against Colombia tonight at Soccer City will be a great time for Parreira to see how Pienaar fits in with the rest of the team.

Kick-off is 8.30pm.

Safa chief executive Leslie Sedibe confirmed last night that tonight's encounter has been sold out, with 75000 tickets bought.

l Bafana's final friendly international match against Guatemala at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Monday will bring R3million into Safa's coffers.

Kick-off is at 8.30pm.

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