All Whites to host South Africa


A traditional sporting rivalry will add a new football chapter when the All Whites clash with South Africa at Mt Smart Stadium on Friday 30 May.

After meeting the Socceroos in Sydney on May 26, Bafana Bafana will make the trip across the Tasman to meet the All Whites four days later.

The May match-up follows closely on the heels of the All Whites- trip to Japan in March which saw a young side – including two debutants in Ryan Thomas and Tyler Boyd – score twice in an improved second half showing in a 4-2 defeat in Tokyo.

New Zealand Football CEO Andy Martin said the Japan encounter highlighted the way forward for a side building towards the qualification process for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

“Our performance in Japan across the 90 minutes against a side heading to the World Cup showed we have a young team full of great potential,” Martin said.

“Given the nature of our situation with players now based all over the globe, it-s imperative for our team and players that we take every opportunity to bring the group together.

“A game, in Auckland, against strong opposition in South Africa – a country with which we enjoy a strong and competitive sporting relationship – ticks a number of important boxes for us on and off the field.

“We-ve seen with the excellent support we-ve received when we-ve played games at home or abroad our fans simply want more opportunities to see their heroes in action.

“Hosting this match at a time when football is front of mind for the thousands of members of our football community in the early stage of the grassroots season, we have an excellent opportunity to showcase our players, our team and our game.”

Harry Ngata, chairman of the New Zealand Professional Footballers- Association, says the May 30 fixture gives the young All Whites side a chance to continue preparations for the next FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.

“The Professional Footballers- Association understands the need for the All Whites to play as often as possible in the build up to the next World Cup campaign, and is supportive of quality fixtures, like this one, in New Zealand,” Ngata said.

The team will be led by interim head coach Neil Emblen for the clash at Mt Smart Stadium in what will be just the sixth senior men-s football meeting of the two nations.

South Africa were 2-0 winners over the All Whites in the most recent match-up in Rustenburg at the 2009 Confederations Cup while the visitors recorded four wins over the New Zealand side in a series in 1947.

South Africa, who did not qualify for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in June, are currently ranked 64th in the world with the All Whites 90th.

The match will be the first time the All Whites have played in Auckland since a 6-1 win over the Solomon Islands at North Harbour Stadium in 2012 during the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign.

An exclusive football family ticket period will open later this week via Ticketek followed by general public sale.

The May 30 date also marks exactly a year before the FIFA U-20 Men-s World Cup kicks off in New Zealand.