Bafana thrilled about fixture
Carlos Alberto Parreira (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana general manager Sipho Nkumane said on Tuesday that South Africa's German-based squad were "elated" after a second international warm-up game against 105th-ranked DPR Korea had been arranged for Thursday.
But the relief in the Bafana camp after the ignominious experience of being offered as opponents the reserve team of second division SPVGG Greuther Furth and the reserve team of Nuremburg, who play in the German fourth division, may be tempered by what is quite literally a dark cloud hanging over the Korea fixture.
The current volcanic ash crisis, which has caused havoc with air travel in Europe, has already resulted in Estonia halting negotiations for a proposed game against Bafana on Saturday.
However, the hardy Koreans, who are currently in a training camp in Spain, are apparently planning to reach Franfurt's SV Wehan Wiesbaden Stadium by Thursday - one way or another.
Bafana are also due to play China at Frankfurt's Offenbach Kickers Stadium next Wednesday and if the 105th-ranked Korea and 84th-ranked China are not quite the quality teams Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira is seeking at this stage of World Cup preparation, they would certainly appear better than German fourth division opposition. And even if SAFA had secured stronger national teams to face Bafana, the air crisis might ironically have torpedoed their plans, in any case.
Meanwhile, Nkumane has announced that the games against DPR Korea and China have been accorded official international status by FIFA and the Bafana players participating in the two games will be awarded caps.