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peace at last with whites

By Ramatsiyi | Jun 22, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

"SOUTH Africa and New Zealand must make peace after Charles Dempsey messed us up in 2006 World Cup bid - All Whites please do it for Bafana Bafana."

"SOUTH Africa and New Zealand must make peace after Charles Dempsey messed us up in 2006 World Cup bid - All Whites please do it for Bafana Bafana."

This was one of the posters carried by a South African supporter during the final Confederations Cup Group A match between New Zealand and Iraq.

New Zealand needed a draw against Iraq at the Ellis Park Stadium on Saturday for Bafana Bafana to qualify for their first-ever Confederations Cup semifinals.

For the record, the match ended in a goalless draw which saw the All Whites celebrating as if they had won the tournament.

Their celebrations were understandable, considering it was their first-ever in the Festival of Champions on their third attempt after losing all their games in 1999 and 2003.

Bafana Bafana lost their match 2-0 to La Roja of Spain at Free State Stadium. Another poster, at this game that was watched by a reasonable 23295 people, read: "New Zealand, please do it for Bafana Bafana."

Naturally, South African fans were rooting for the Oceania kings. New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert: "I think tonight was another milestone for New Zealand. I thought we deserved a win, we were magnificent against the Iraqis. For us it was a great tournament."

Bora Milutinovic, Iraqi coach, showered his charges with praises for going back home with two points despite having a short time to prepare for the tournament.

"We played well and were unlucky not to win the match, we had several scoring opportunities in both halves but it was not our night.

"We did not qualify but I'm still proud of my players. The entire team is happy that we have brought joy to the people of Iraq."

Serbian Milutinovic, who was employed by Iraq in April, plans to continue working with the Asian champions.

Milutinovic has also praised South Africa for hosting a good tournament, adding that the 2010 World Cup promises to be the greatest.

New Zealand - who opted for a black strip this time round after using a white one in the first two games - dominated the match and should have won it with an avalanche of goals.

The likes of Chris Killen and Shane Smeltz also seemed to have left their scoring boots in New Zealand, thus the All Whites are going back goalless.

On the other hand, Iraq also had several opportunities but failed to convert them with Emad Mohammed, Salam Shaker and Nashat Akram being the culprits.

New Zealander Dempsey abstained during the voting process for the 2006 World Cup, which saw Germany pipping South Africa by one vote. He hade already made peace with the South African organising committee before his death late last June.


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