JOHANNESBURG (AP) – South Africa coach Gordon Igesund has given up hope that Steven Pienaar will delay his international retirement and play at the African Cup of Nations next month.
Igesund, who met with Pienaar in England last month, concedes on Tuesday that the Everton midfielder is ''totally retired from international football'' and will ''get on with his life at his club.''
Pienaar's surprise decision to give up playing for Bafana Bafana in October meant the African Cup host lost its captain and midfield playmaker three months before the tournament. New coach Igesund said he would try to get Pienaar to reconsider.
Without Pienaar, South Africa will play friendlies against Malawi, Norway and Algeria before opening the African Cup against tournament debutant Cape Verde on Jan. 19.