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Indonesia cancels New Zealand match

March 04, 2009 13:14 IST

Indonesian authorities have cancelled a soccer friendly against New Zealand in April because of security reasons, it was announced on Wednesday.

New Zealand had agreed to play the Indonesians at Jakarta on April 1 as part of a two-match tour of south-east Asia.

But New Zealand Football chief executive Michael Glading said the game was scratched because Indonesia were worried that it coincided with local elections.

"There were no threats or anything like that, it was just a matter of timing," Glading said. "To be fair to the Indonesian FA, they told us right from the moment we booked the match that there might be a problem.

"Because the match was on at the same time as elections, it had to be signed off by the President and they weren't given the sign-off."

Glading said the cancellation is unrelated to Tuesday's deadly attacks on Sri Lanka's cricketers in Pakistan but that incident has served as a grim reminder to everyone about the importance of high security.

"This decision was made before yesterday's attacks in Pakistan," Glading said.

"I was initially annoyed that the match we had booked had been cancelled but you've got to keep these things in perspective.

"We never had any reservations about travelling to Indonesia and we were completely satisfied with all their arrangements, but yesterday's incident shows nothing can be taken for granted."

The cancellation has left New Zealand hurriedly trying to organise a replacement fixture for their two-leg tour which they were using as part of their buildup for their World Cup playoffs later in the year.

They are still playing Thailand in Bangkok on March 28 and are hoping to secure a second match.

Oceania champions New Zealand meet the fifth-placed Asian team in a home and away playoff later this year for a place at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.

The only time the All Whites qualified for the finals was in Spain in 1982.

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