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Oceania Champions, New Zealand became the first team to touch down on South African soil on Thursday ahead of the Confederations Cup.

New Zealand have touched down in South Africa in preparations for the Confederations Cup. The All Whites are not done travelling however, as they make a quick detour to Botswana to play a friendly match against the Zebras in Gaborone this weekend.

New Zealand will play their first game of the Festival of Champions in Rustenburg on 14 June in what will be a tough fixture against European champions, Spain.

The 8th FIFA Confederations Cup will kick-off four hours earlier with hosts South Africa facing Asian Cup champions Iraq in the opening game at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

Speaking to the media upon their arrival, New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert said he was confident of his team’s prospects in the Confederations Cup.

“We have never had a point in the Confederations Cup before, and to win a game would be an incredible experience for us. People must not underestimate us, we are here to win a game. It is important for the country that we compete at this level with some of the best teams in the word. We know that we have some challenges ahead of us, but as a team, its challenges we like.”

Iraq will be the next team to arrive on 6 June in Cape Town followed by Italy on the 8 June, USA on 9 June and Spain on the 10 June. Due to their 2010 Qualifiers Egypt and Brazil are the last two teams to come to South Africa on 11 June.

Peter Pedroncelli, Goal.com

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