BOTH Steven “Schillo” Pienaar and Daylon Claasen are excited about the prospect of using their experience and skills in the 2018 Caf Champions League for Absa Premiership champions Bidvest Wits.
The two marquee signings were officially unveiled at the new kit launch by the MTN8 and league champs yesterday, along with other new signings Kobamelo Kodisang, Thato Tlhone and Montenegro-born defender Slavko Damjanovic.
Said Pienaar: “I’m looking forward to playing in the PSL again and in the Champions League.”
But the player, who suffered a series of injuries in England, most recently at his last club Sunderland, stressed: “Winning the league again has to be our big goal this season.”
Pienaar (35) said he was up for the new challenge: “I’m a small player and the game in England is very physical.
“But I know how and when to push myself. I will adapt to the PSL. I’m getting my fitness levels back.”
He last played in the PSL as an 18-year-old for Ajax Cape Town before joining Ajax Amsterdam in 2001.
The Clever Boys coach Gavin Hunt said he would nurse Pienaar: “I have to handle Steven carefully. He knows what the game is all about. I will have to be clever how I play him. We need to make sure we get him fit and keep him healthy.”
Wits CEO Jose Ferreira believes Pienaar and Claasen will swell the growing crowds at the Bidvest Stadium this season.
Said Ferreira: “Last season we had more fans at some of our home games than Kaizer Chiefs.”
Claasen, who also played at Ajax CT and left in 2006 to play for Ajax Amsterdam, following in Pienaar footsteps, said once he spoke to Hunt his mind was made up to join Wits.
He said the other factor was playing for Wits in the Champions League: “I’ve never played in Africa and I’m happy to be part of the team that will compete (in the Champions League).”
Both Claasen and Pienaar are hoping to get some game-time when Wits open the defence of their MTN8 title against Golden Arrows at home next Friday.
Said Claasen: “I don’t expect to walk into the side. I am here to fight for my place but I’m hoping to get some game-time against Arrows.”