All Whites to play South Africa in May friendly

Last updated 16:01 08/04/2014

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New Zealand Football has announced that the All Whites will host South Africa at Mt Smart Stadium on Friday, May 30 to play an international friendly. 

After meeting Australia in Sydney on May 26, Bafana Bafana will make the short trip across the Tasman to meet the New Zealanders. 

New Zealand Football CEO Andy Martin said the game against South Africa was important for a number of reasons.

"Given the nature of our situation with players now based all over the globe, it's imperative for our team and players that we take every opportunity to bring the group together," he said.

"A game, in Auckland, against strong opposition in South Africa - a country with which we enjoy a strong and competitive sporting relationship - ticks a number of important boxes for us on and off the field. 

"We've seen with the excellent support we've received when we've played games at home or abroad our fans simply want more opportunities to see their heroes in action.

"Hosting this match at a time when football is front of mind for the thousands of members of our football community in the early stage of the grassroots season, we have an excellent opportunity to showcase our players, our team and our game." 

The team will be led by interim head coach Neil Emblen in what will be just the sixth senior men's football meeting of the two nations. 

South Africa were 2-0 winners over the All Whites in the most recent match-up in Rustenburg at the 2009 Confederations Cup while the visitors recorded four wins over New Zealand in a series in 1947. 

South Africa, who did not qualify for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in June, are currently ranked 64th in the world with the All Whites 90th.

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- Fairfax Media

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