Pienaar in moving tribute to Cavin Johnson

Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar has thanked former coach Cavin Johnson for his contribution.

FILE: Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Ahead of this weekend's Merseyside derby, former Bafana Bafana international and current Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar has paid tribute to his first coach, Cavin Johnson, for helping him achieve his dream of playing football professionally.

The 32-year-old, who made his name at Ajax Cape Town, describes Johnson as a 'father figure' in the emotional almost three-minute video, where he reflects back on his tough upbringing in Westbury.

Pienaar retells the tale of how Johnson discovered him at the age of 12 and offered him a traineeship at the Transnet School of Excellence, which eventually resulted in Ajax Cape Town expressing an interest in acquiring his talents.

"He gave me a call to come into the school. I did not know what was happening and he said to me, 'You have been offered a three-year contract to go to Ajax'," Pienaar reveals. "They asked me if I had someone that can help me - coach Cavin stood next to me and I said, 'I want him to do it (the negotiations) for me."

Pienaar would go on to play for Ajax from 2001 until 2006, where he made 94 appearances and scoring 15 goals. In 2006 Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund came calling. He spent two years at the club, making 25 appearances but without scoring any goals.

In 2007 he moved to England, initially on loan, at Everton. The deal was made permanent in 2008. He has played 178 games for the Toffees so far, scoring 18 goals.

In the 2011/12 season Pienaar moved to Tottenham Hotspur but after only 10 appearances at White Hart Lane, he returned to Everton.

Pienaar is next in action this Saturday, when Everton travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool in the first Merseyside derby of the season.