Nigerian striker Yakubu has travelled away with Everton captain Joseph Yobo for their country’s crucial World Cup qualifier with Mozambique, while South African international Pienaar stays on Merseyside while recovering from his injury suffered at the hands of countryman Aaron Mokoena at Portsmouth.
But the Bafana Bafana player has praised Yakubu for his patience and determination in recovering from a much longer absence.
“I’m so happy for him,” he told evertonTV. “He’s worked really hard in his rehab and has got back (to fitness) quite early. On his comeback (against Hull City), he scored so that just shows the type of player he is and it’s also good for the team to have a striker back who can score goals.
“When you know you’re going to be out for a long time, you have to be strong and you need all the support that you can get. I was always talking to him over the phone if I didn’t see him, and just kept on encouraging him. I’ve been through a long injury and I know how it feels; sometimes you can lose your head.”
Yakubu has an astonishing ratio of goals to games with one in every two starts for the Toffees and Pienaar paid tribute to the former Middlesbrough and Portsmouth hit-man’s ability.
Coming from a player who has counted Barcelona’s £40m striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic as a former teammate, it’s high praise indeed.
Pienaar said: “Yakubu is definitely up there. I had Ibrahimovic in my team, but Yakubu can score more goals than any other striker in the world. If you look at his record, he’s just an amazing goalscorer.”