The future of caretaker manager Neil Emblen still remains under a cloud of doubt with the New Zealand FA considering a lot of the offers that they have received for this position. The former assistant manager took over from Ricki Herbert a few months ago. However, his spell at the national team has been a major disappointment since they have been on a losing streak ever since. There is a lot of pressure on Neil Emblen for this reason.
Ahead of the friendly match with South Africa, which will be the final friendly encounter before the start of the next World Cup qualifying campaign, Emblen says that the importance of this match should be downplayed. This will come as a major shock to several New Zealand fans, who would be hoping that their team finally manages to arrest the run of matches without a win. The team has failed to win in the last five matches. Their last victory came in the 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia back at the start of September.
South Africa will be coming into the match on the back of a very confidence inspiring 1-1 draw with Australia, who have qualified for the World Cup. Emblen reckons that the South Africans will be very tough to beat in this friendly match.
“They played the same shape as what they have been playing in the games we’ve seen previously. They could have changed but they’ve stuck to their principles and they are playing the same way just with different personnel and it worked well for them. They’ve obviously got threats. Their performance puts it out there that they’ve come to play and, regardless of the players they have, they’ve put out a highly competitive team against a side that’s going to the World Cup,” said the New Zealand manager.