North Korea drop Bafana

2010-04-16 14:30
By Mathews Mpete In Herzogenaurach, Germany
Bafana Bafana have dropped North Korea from the teams they will play during their training camp in Germany this week after many demands were made by the side circled in Group G for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Bafana were due to play North Korea on Tuesday but had to cancel the date late today after the Asians, who are on a training camp in Spain, allegedly demanded a lot of money from Safa and ordered that the South Africans should come to them in Spain.

An official, who refused to named, revealed that Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira was not happy about the cancellation as he was looking forward to engaging them because they were the only side to have qualified for the World Cup in the teams they’ve lined up during this camp in Germany.

The Safa official said: “Travelling to Spain would disrupt the coach’s plan for his camp in Germany. It would better to have a local side as a replacement.”

However, Bafana manager Sipho Nkumane is believed to be running around making calls to first division sides in Germany hoping to land a replacement for Tuesday.

But Parreira said he still hopes that North Korea will change their minds and maybe opt to travel to Germany to play them.

Parreira said: “Such friendlies will help us but we can’t travel to them. I would have been happy to see them play Bafana as I could judge my players based on that game. (To my knowledge), our officials are still engaged with them.”

But other matches that Parreira has proposed for this camp have been approved and look set to take place. On Thursday they are billed to line-up against Bundesliga club FC Nuremberg, Estonia, a side based in Russia on Saturday and complete their line-up against China on April 28.

Despite these hitches, Parreira’s training camp has been going on well since their arrival in the cold and rainy Germany on Tuesday where they had a few gymnasium sessions opposite their Ramada hotel in Herzogenaurach and had ball sessions at the Adi Dassler training ground.

Minor knock
The only player who had a minor knock was goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs who injured his knee on Wednesday but was quickly treated and was back in full action in this morning’s session.

But indications are clear that Itumeleng Khune remains the trusted goalkeeper ahead of Josephs and Shu-Aib Walters.

Siboniso Gaxa, Siyanda Xulu, Lucas Thwala, Bongani Khumalo and Thabo Nthethe could get the nod while Lance Davids, Siyabonga Sangweni, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Teko Modise, Surprise Moriri, Katlego Mphela and Siyabonga Nomvethe could complete the rest of the first team pack.

Parreira remains convinced that they will get more friendlies from Bundesliga clubs who are playing this weekend and would like to prepare further for next week’s Bundesliga clashes.

Only relegation haunted FC Nurnberg admitted to give Bafana the run while the rest are outsider’s teams.

Nurnberg, German favourites after Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen, are placed 14th on the 18-team log with just 28 points from 30 matches.

Teko Modise, who looks set to retain the captaincy in the absence of Aaron Mokoena, said they would have loved to play more friendlies against local sides “but I guess there’s nothing much we can do about it”.

Parreira said: “I am happy with China. Estonia play Russian football and are strong and physical. They play the kind of football as Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia. I am sure they will give us a good game.”

Bafana’s other matches are against Colombia in Jo’burg on May 27 before completing their friendlies in preparation for the World Cup against Denmark on 5 June.