5 Jun 2009

All Whites coach balancing twin concerns

4:29 pm on 5 June 2009

All Whites coach Ricki Herbert is balancing the twin concerns of building match fitness and managing player work loads ahead of New Zealand's second pre-Confederations Cup football friendly against Botswana in Gaborone on Sunday morning.

Herbert's using the second of the All Whites' three match safari to warm up for the June14-28 tournament in South Africa to get as many of his squad game time before fielding something close to a first choice 11 against Italy on Wednesday.

Fitness levels were a concern in the 2-1 loss at in Dar es Salaam with the All Whites dropping away after a strong first half.

Botswana held the Ivory Coast to a draw in World Cup qualifying and is unlikely to offer an easier run.

Herbert is likely to finalise his starting line-up tomorrow night but Glen Moss will replace Mark Paston in goal while Chris Killen could partner Shane Smeltz up front for a half at least.