North Korean World Cup coach faces music, may face firing squad

The man who coached the lackluster North Korean soccer team may end up paying for his poor performance with his life – or at the very least, his liberty.

The return of the national soccer team was not met with celebration or even commiseration. The team, minus its two Japan-based players, was lined up for a public airing of grievances. After the team it was the coach’s turn.

The leadership was probably not too displeased with the 2-1 loss to Brazil; it was likely the performance against Portugal earned the ire of Dear Leader et al. – a 7-0 loss is one for the history books, no matter who is playing. So humiliating was the loss that the North Korean play-by-play team let the second half of the broadcast play without commentary. The match was not reported in the country’s newspapers.

Then came July 2. On that day the squad was brought out in front of an audience of 400 university students, athletes and party officials at the People’s Palace of Culture for a public reprimand that lasted six hours. Failure to win, or even lose admirably might have been bad enough but the claim that they had betrayed the country’s “great ideological struggle” likely sent fear into the hearts of all involved.

The players were then asked to air their grievances regarding coach Kim Jong-hun. Amongst the catalog of failures, he was accused of “betraying the young General Kim Jong-un,” who just happens to be the son of the infamous Kim Jong-Il and who appears to be the despot in waiting.

The trouble for the team and the coach was that their success in qualification for the Cup was linked to the “young General” from an early stage when it was publicly referred to as “young General Kim Jong-un’s accomplishment.” In the past public officials whose failures have been referred to as treachery have faced the firing squad – Radio Free Asia suggests that a similar fate might befall the unfortunate coach.

While little concrete information can be gleaned from the secretive dictatorship, it is rumored that the coach has been expelled from the Worker’s Party and is now working in the construction industry as a laborer. [The Star]


C.S. Magor is the editor-in-chief and a reporter at large for We Interrupt and Uberreview. He currently resides in the Japanese countryside approximately two hours from Tokyo - where he has spent the better part of a decade testing his hypothesis that Japan is neither as quirky nor as interesting as others would have you believe.
2 Comments on this post.
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    31 July 2010 at 1:20 am
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  • Blind Freddy
    31 July 2010 at 4:04 am
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    The coach days are numbered for sure. Nth Korean Despots, young or old, have no interest in hearing the truth, just as long as their egos are massaged enough.

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