Soccer: All Whites friendly looks like farce

The All Whites' May 30 friendly against South Africa is looking like a farce, with 11 out of Bafana Bafana's original 18-man squad withdrawing. Photo / Getty Images.
The All Whites' May 30 friendly against South Africa is looking like a farce, with 11 out of Bafana Bafana's original 18-man squad withdrawing. Photo / Getty Images.

The All Whites' May 30 friendly against South Africa is looking like a farce, with 11 out of Bafana Bafana's original 18-man squad withdrawing from the tour to New Zealand and Australia.

South Africa were originally scheduled to fly out to Australia tomorrow, but will now leave on Friday (NZT) as coach Gordon Igesund furiously scrambles to try and round up a team.

"There have been a couple of withdrawals unfortunately," Igesund told the South African Press Association. "Of the 18 players called up, 11 have withdrawn through injury and clubs not wanting to release players.

"With some of the players, we only found out last night [that they had withdrawn]."

Bafana are due to play Australia in a friendly match in Sydney on Monday, which falls outside a Fifa-sanctioned date as the Aussies fine tune their preparations for the World Cup.

Four days later, Bafana are scheduled to play New Zealand in Auckland.

Igesund also said he had not heard back from all of the new call-ups, with speculation that some players were already on holiday, possibly outside of South Africa.

"This thing has come at a bad time for us. The players are human beings and need to go on holiday after a long season. It's always tough to get a late call-up."

Igesund said the situation was unfortunate, but that it wasn't fair to label his overhauled squad a B team.

"All these players now that are coming with us are part of that pool of players that I've identified to take us forward to 2015 Africa Nations Cup and 2018 World Cup. There's certainly no player in the squad who is not international material."

New Zealand Football high performance manager Fred De Jong said he fully expects South Africa to meet their commitments here and in Australia next week.

"As of now we haven't heard or had any requests for flight changes or rooming changes for the South Africa team," De Jong said.

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