Ajax reward Pienaar promise

South African midfield player Steven Pienaar has agreed an improved contract with AFC Ajax.

Young midfield player Steven Pienaar has agreed an improved contract at AFC Ajax after showing excellent form in the UEFA Champions League.

Improved deal
The 20-year-old South African caught the eye in Ajax's two recent draws with English champions Arsenal FC, and has now agreed improved financial terms on his existing contract which is not due to expire until the summer of 2006.

Contract clause
The new deal was prompted by a clause in Pienaar's contract which guaranteed that he would be able to renegotiate his existing deal after playing a certain number of first team games for the reigning Dutch champions.

Bright start
Pienaar made his debut on 24 February last year in a game at NAC Breda, and made his debut for his national side barely three months later on 23 May. He has played 23 league matches and scored three goals. In the Champions League, Pienaar has scored once, away against Olympique Lyonnais, in eight appearances

Young squad
Last week Ajax offered improved contracts to Rafael van der Vaart and Nigel de Jong as coach Ronald Koeman attempts to keep the core of his promising young squad together.