N Korea’s World Cup warm-up in Zim ‘called off’

2010-05-24 10:04

The controversial pre-World Cup warm-up session in Zimbabwe for the

North Korea national football team has been called off following threats of

protests in the southern African country.

The North Korean squad had been due to arrive in Zimbabwe tomorrow

to train and play friendlies against the local teams before moving onto

neighbours South Africa, where the World Cup kicks off on June 11.

But a senior source in the power-sharing government of President

Robert Mugabe and former opposition leader, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,

said the visit was called off after it provoked outrage among supporters of

Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

North Korean army instructors in 1983 trained the then newly-formed

Zimbabwean army brigade that went on to slaughter thousands of civilians during

an insurgency in the western provinces of Matabeleland.

Reports put the numbers killed in the operation, which ended in

1987 after the opposition, Zapu of Joshua Nkomo, entered a union with Mugabe’s

Zanu-PF party, at between 8 000 and 20 000 civilians.

Most of the victims were members of the Ndebele-speaking minority

and supporters of Nkomo.

Tourism Minister Walter Mzembe, a Mugabe appointee, invited North

Korea to warm up in Zimbabwe, in an attempt to showcase the tourist potential of

the economically depressed country to World Cup viewers and visitors.

The team from the Korean dictatorship of leader Kim Jong Il, a

Mugabe ally, had initially been due to stay in Bulawayo, capital of


Zimbabwe’s government later switched the base to the capital Harare

after activists in Bulawayo threatened to disrupt training sessions and


At the weekend, a senior government source from Tsvangirai’s party

told the German Press Agency (DPA) that the visit had since been cancelled after

Mzembe came under pressure from the MDC not to invite the Koreans.

Minister of Sports David Coltart, who comes from the south and

belongs to a splinter MDC faction, also said: “I do not think they are still

coming to Zimbabwe for camping. I have no clue as to why they are no longer


Mzembe would not confirm or deny the reports, only telling DPA: “I

cannot say they are no longer coming at this stage. We are still talking. We

have a few things to clarify.”

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.