Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Confed Cup: South Africa - New Zealand preview

From the southern hemisphere, the Confed Cup comes to life with the host team facing New Zealand. Both these teams have to win in order to progress. Bafana Bafana, of course, drew in a hapless manner against Iraq while New Zealand shipped five goals against a classy Spain. For South Africa, there was talk that they played too defensively in the opening game, something midfielder Teko Modise knows.

“I was getting frustrated because I knew South Africa’s plan is to play the ball and to go forward and attack these guys,"
he said.

"And then we started sitting back.

“In the first 45 minutes we played too defensively. We had many players sitting at the back against a team that wasn’t even coming at us. So in the second half we said let’s take the game to them."

However, it would be up to Joel Santana to do a good explaining to his boys - can he? - because New Zealand are also very aware of what is expected.

"Our tournament proper starts with the next two games. Both Iraq and South Africa will have a job to take points from Spain and the games between us will decide who finishes second in the group," said the All Whites striker Shane Smeltz.

And so we have a game on our hands, as they say.

I'll be at the Tv3 studios offering my opinions, as ever. You can catch me there. Game kicks off 1800GMT.

Photo: Iraqi Younis Mahmoud (L) fights for the ball with South African Siboniso Gaxa (R), Courtesy AFP ____