New Zealand have commenced their final preparations for the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009 with a 2-1 loss to Tanzania in Dar es Salaam on Thursday.
The All Whites opened the scoring in just the tenth minute through prolific striker Shane Smeltz who converted a penalty following a handball for his eleventh goal in his last nine outings.
The Taifa Stars equalised ten minutes after half-time and then secured an 89th winner with the All Whites denied a first win on African soil. The match was also notable for the international debut of New Zealand's 17-year-old striker Chris Wood.
"It was a good opportunity to get back on the field," said New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert. "Tanzania were very quick but the pleasing thing was that they didn't get in behind us too much. Fatigue certainly came into play but the first spell was particularly pleasing."
New Zealand now face Botswana in Gaborone on Saturday before they take on FIFA World Cup™ winners Italy in their final outing prior to the FIFA Confederations Cup. New Zealand will open their campaign against Spain on 14 June before further Group A matches against hosts South Africa on 17 June and Asian champions Iraq on three days later.