Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar announces international retirement


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The Independent Football

South Africa captain Steven Pienaar has retired from international football, to the disappointment of manager Gordon Igesund.

The Everton midfielder, 30, was not included in Igesund's 26-man squad for the forthcoming friendlies against Poland and Kenya after deciding to focus on his club career.

Announcing the news, Igesund told http://www.safa.net: "I am disappointed that Steven has retired from the national team.

"His presence and leadership is invaluable and could have helped us in our mission for 2013 African Cup of Nations and the World Cup qualification, but we must respect his decision. When I travel overseas to check on other players, I will try to have a word with him.

"The idea now is to build a team for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament and the one to qualify us for Brazil 2014."