Everton's Pienaar keen to delay South Africa move

African Cup of Nations-bound Steven Pienaar hopes to delay joining his international team-mates so he can play in the Carling Cup semi-final against Chelsea.

The Everton midfielder is due to join the South Africa squad on 5th January, which would mean him missing the Carling Cup clash at Chelsea three days later.

He told his club's official website: "I'm supposed to be going on 5th January but we are trying our best so that I can stay for a bit longer.

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"I hope we can agree on it because I am in between at the minute and there is nothing I can do.

"Maybe I will find out today or tomorrow. I am like any other player and I want to be involved in the big games.

"The semi-final with Chelsea is so important and I want to be a part of the team that goes to Stamford Bridge.

"You always want to play for your country but you also always want to play for your club.

"I'm stuck in the middle but I hope the association gives me a day free because they know how important this game is for me."

South Africa play their first game of the Ghana-based tournament on 23rd January against Angola and Pienaar could be away for several weeks if his team progress through to the final on 10th February.

"It will be sad going away for so long especially when the team is doing so well.

"The spirit here is tremendous," said the midfielder, 25, who is on a season-long loan from Borussia Dortmund.

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