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Page last updated at 18:47 GMT, Thursday, 22 April 2010 19:47 UK

Bafana Bafana play goalless draw against N. Korea

By Piers Edwards

South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira
Coach Parreira has complained about a lack of top quality opposition

World Cup hosts South Africa on Thursday played a goalless draw against North Korea as both teams build up for June's finals.

The game was played at Wehen Wiesbaden Stadium in the German stadium of Frankfurt.

The match was hastily-arranged after Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira criticized his side's pre-tournament friendlies.

South Africa, who also face China on 28 April in Frankfurt, have struggled to arrange matches against top-quality opponents ahead of their Group A clashes with Mexico, Uruguay and France.

At present, Bafana Bafana's pre-June preparations are set to culminate with friendlies against Colombia on 27 May and versus World Cup finalists Denmark on 5 June.

Meanwhile, North Korea, who have been drawn in a tough Group G alongside Brazil, Portugal and Ivory Coast, have been training in Spain ahead of their first finals since 1966.

"It has been difficult trying to get practise matches but now we are elated that we managed to secure DPR Korea," said South African team manager Sipho Nkumane.

"The coach has been looking for quality and competitive opponents."

Bafana Bafana are training in Germany but further matches against the second teams of Bundesliga outfit FC Nuremberg and second division side Greuther Furth have been cancelled because of Parreira's dissatisfaction with the standard of opposition.

The recent flight chaos in Europe, caused by volcanic ash emanating from Iceland, means Saturday's scheduled friendly against Estonia is under threat.

"They are still keen to come and if the skies clear up they could still make it to Germany," added Nkumane.

South Africa, who arrived in Herzogenaurach on 13 April, spent the first week of training focussing on high intensity training.

The concentration for the second week will be on ball work technique and tactical formations.

The near three-week stay in Germany is South Africa's second World Cup training camp after spending a month in Brazil for most of March and early April.

"What's happening here in Germany is the continuation of our work in Brazil where we started with basic training," says the squad's Brazilian fitness trainer Francisco Gonzalez.

"This time around, we're increasing the intensity and the volume of our work because we need to see some progress and we're also working on the speed.

"We have a short time here so everybody needs to work hard until the start of the tournament. But at the same time we can't push them too hard because we want them to peak at the right time."

Bafana Bafana open the 2010 World Cup against Mexico in Johannesburg on 11 June, before playing two-time champions in Uruguay on 16 June and 1998 winner France on 23 June.

On Wednesday South Africans marked the 50 day countdown to the World Cup, with President Zuma saying the event would be the country's greatest opportunity to show off the diversity and potential of the nation and the whole of Africa.

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see also
Parreira wants quality friendlies
08 Apr 10 |  African
Bafana encouraged by Brazil trip
05 Apr 10 |  African
Brazil camp 'vital' for SA
09 Mar 10 |  African
South Africa name training squad
04 Mar 10 |  African

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