Bafana in disappointing draw
Wiesbaden - Less than 50 days before the start of the World Cup and hosts South Africa managed no better than a goalless draw against North Korea in an international friendly played in Wiesbaden in Germany on Thursday.
Bafana Bafana are currently on a two-and-a-half week long training camp in Germany and played fellow World Cup finalists North Korea in a hastily-arranged friendly organised as a part of World Cup preparations.
Disappointingly only 628 spectators were on hand to see the match between two teams who go into the World Cup finals as underdogs.
South Africa, who are missing virtually all of their overseas- based players, had the better chances in the first half and could have taken the lead through Katlego Mphela in the 26th minute, but the Sundowns striker saw his shot saved by North Korean goalkeeper Ri Myung Guk.
Just two minutes later Mphela shot just wide.
In the second half the Asian side were the better side and had an excellent chance through Ji Yun Nam, whose long-range effort from 20 metres just missed the target.
Bafana, who were drawn into a tough group at the World Cup together with Mexico, Uruguay and France, will have to improve if they want to avoid making history by becoming the first host to be knocked out in the first round.
They face China in another international friendly on April 28 in Offenbach.
North Korea have, arguably, been drawn into an even more difficult group as they face Brazil, Portugal and Ivory Coast at the June 11 - July 11 finals.
The South African Football Association (SAFA) used the game in Wiesbaden to sign a co-operation agreement with their German counterparts (DFB) for the time after the World Cup.
"We can learn a lot from the DFB," the SAFA CEO Leslie Sedibe, who met with DFB treasurer Horst R Schmidt before the match.
Sedibe also reiterated statements that they will be looking to employ a local coach after the World Cup. "We are very happy with Carlos Alberto Parreira and will listen to him what he expects from the future.
"But the position of our association is that it is best for the development of football in our country to have a local coach," Sedibe said.
Schmidt, who is a consultant for the South African Local World Cup Organising Committee, said that he was confident that everything was on track for the first World Cup finals on African soil.
"The last phase of the ticket sales have started strongly, but we can't afford to go slow. We have also made huge steps forward in security issues in recent weeks," Schmidt said.