Everton got a massive boost today when, South Africa captain Steven Pienaar announced that he has retired from international football.
The 30-year-old's decision was announced by South African coach, Gordon Igesund as he unveiled his Bafana Bafana squad to face Poland and Kenya in friendlies next week.
Peanuts will now concentrate on playing for Everton.
Igesund told reporters that he received a phone call from Pienaar on Monday night informing him of his decision.
Pienaar said: "It is with regret that I advise you that, with immediate effect, I'm no longer available for selection to represent South Africa. After having given more than 10 years service to the national team I'm now at a stage where physically I'm struggling to balance the demands of playing in England with the number of games required by the national team. I'm proud to have represented and captained my country, for this I sincerely thank you and wish the team all the best in the future."
South Africa's coach said: "I am disappointed that Steven has retired from the national team. But the way he has retired is the right way. I think it was a tough decision for him."
"His presence and leadership is invaluable and could have helped us in our mission for 2013 AFCON and the World Cup qualification, but we must respect his decision."
David Moyes said: "We had no input into Steven Pienaar's decision to retire from international football.
"I have never discouraged any player from playing for his national team, in fact I encourage it. Steven has made his own decision and we support him in whatever he chooses to do."
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