Football Matches between DPRK and Japanese Universities Held

 Pyongyang, August 30 (KCNA) — Men’s and women’s football matches between the teams of Korea University of Physical Education and the teams of Nippon Sport Science University took place at the Kim Il Sung Stadium on Sunday.
    Among the spectators were Kim Yong Hun, minister of Physical Culture and Sports, Pak Kun Gwang, chairman of the DPRK-Japan Friendship Association, Sin Tong Gyu, rector of Korea University of Physical Education, officials concerned, football experts, soccer fans, working people, school youth and children in the city.
    Members of a delegation of Nippon Sport Science University led by Managing Director Kenshiro Matsunami and Koreans in Japan staying in the socialist homeland watched the matches.
    The teams of Korea University of Physical Education beat their rivals 2:1 and 4:0 in the men’s and women’s football matches. -0-

Young Croatian Footballers Return From North Korea

Di Vedran Pavlic, TotalCroatia

Life in Pyongyang – a young Croatian football team’s impressions after taking part in an international tournament.

“We did not even know about the incidents on the border between the two Koreas. Only on Monday, when ambassador Nebojša Koharović and consul Hrvoje Ćiković came from Beijing did they jokingly tell us that they came to see us in the ‘concentration camp’, referring to the reports in the Croatian media. Only then did we find out about the situation on the border, but we were told that things like that happen there all the time. There were two teams from South Korea with us, and they were not nervous at all”, said Dunja Babić, secretary of the football school of Segesta Football Club from Sisak and one of five adults who accompanied 19 young footballers of Segesta who took part in the football tournament in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. Although they could watch BBC and Al Jazerra, they did not perceive the problems at the border so dramatically as the Croatian public did, reports Vecernji List on August 31, 2015.

Segesta decided to go to the tournament relatively quickly, after Osijek decided to withdraw. There was some reluctance. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs told them that they cannot recommend the trip, but a similar recommendation is given for many other Asian countries.

“The organizer of the tournament were crucial. They want to use sport to bring closer the peoples of the two Koreas and to foster the idea of ​​unification. One year, the tournament is held in South Korea, and another year in North Korea. We had confidence in the organizers and only a few parents refused to let their children travel. Of the 28 players, 21 had parents’ permission to go, but we could not take everyone”, said the chairman of Segesta Branimir Pupić Jovanović.

The organizers paid all the costs, estimated at half a million kuna. Teams from South and North Korea, Brazil, China and Uzbekistan took part in the tournament. “They were great hosts, we were treated like a real senior football team. While we were warming up in the dressing room, a waiter came in with large trays of fruits and left. We could not believe it”, said 14-year-old Deni Jergović, who was especially popular among Koreans due to his blond hair. “All the time they were trying to take a picture of me. I will forever remember the hospitality, the stadium and the atmosphere during the opening and closing ceremonies.”

“In North Korea, everything is clean, on the streets there is no garbage, grass is all neatly mowed. Sports centres are all well maintained and you cannot even know how old they are. People are very friendly, and in our hotel tourists were daily coming and going. Most of them are from China, but we have met a Slovenian woman and a man from Zagreb who came to the concert of Laibach, which took place while we were there”, said Dunja.

“We were warned that the images of the Great Leader must not be filmed, but there were no other bans. They did not check our luggage. We had a guide, interpreter and driver with us. However, discipline was clearly visible. North Koreans who were with us at the hotel were very quiet and withdrawn at first, while we and the Brazilians were noisy. Later, everyone relaxed, except the Chinese”, added Dunja.

The footballers have brought a lot of souvenirs from North Korea, including the local currency – won. They say that everything is very cheap there. “For three dollars, I bought three juices, two bags of jelly beans, two small packages of chocolate and still had some money left. Koreans have asked me to give them kuna banknotes as souvenirs”, said Dani Jergović.

He added that they all gained a lot of new friends on Facebook. Unfortunately, North Koreans are not among them. They have no social networks, but they do have cell phones, and a national mobile network to which foreigners cannot connect. They communicated using Viber from the hotel, but the Internet connection in North Korea is still via modem.

Segesta has received an unofficial invitation for the tournament which will be held next year in South Korea, in Seoul, but it is too early to decide. The club wonders, somewhat ironically, how will the public in Croatia react if they were to travel to Seoul, which is only 60 kilometres away from the demilitarized zone, when they were supposedly “threatened” in Pyongyang, which is 600 kilometres away from the border.

Agreement may lead to first South-North game in 10 years

Hopes are rising that South and North Korea may play a friendly football match for the first time in a decade, after the two countries reached an agreement last Tuesday to ease rising tensions on the peninsula.

Korea Football Association (KFA) President Chung Mong-gyu is scheduled to visit North Korea next month for the East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) executive meeting. Under the six agreements announced last Tuesday, both sides called for renewed civilian exchanges, raising the hope of more sports events being staged between the two countries.

The KFA is currently waiting for the South Korean government’s approval for Chung’s visit to Pyongyang as a member of the EAFF. The EAFF meeting is normally held in China, but this time, the North Korean capital city decided to host the executive meeting on Sept. 19.

Chung, 53, is expected to have a conversation with his North Korean counterpart, Han Un-gyong, who is also an executive member of the Asian Football Confederation, about re-opening friendly football games between the South and North.

Better known as a “unification football match,” the two sides created the event in 1990, hoping to vitalize communication through sport. The inaugural games were held in October 1990, with one game being played in Seoul and the other in Pyongyang. The two sides later met each other in 2002 and 2005 in Seoul, but the friendly match has not been held since then.

Kim Joo-sung, who is now head of the KFA’s referee management office, says the match cannot happen unless the two Koreas really want to do it.

Kim, three-time Asian Footballer of the Year, has been involved in all the previous unification friendly football matches. In 1990, he was a player in the friendly match, and in 2002 and 2005, he worked as the KFA administrator.

“In 2002 and 2005, both sides had the desire, necessity and justification for exchanging football, and there was also trust between the two sides,” Kim told Ilgan Sports, an affiliate of the Korea JoongAng Daily. “I think it is the same today. Both teams [need a] desire to communicate with each other.”

Kim said the political situation between the two countries was the reason no friendly game had been held in 10 years.

“The unification football match was mainly influenced by the two sides’ political relationship instead of the two Korean football associations’ will,” the 49-year-old said. “Another reason is that the EAFF East Asian Cup was held biennially, and the South and North continued [to play] there instead of having a unification football match.”

During the 1990s, Kim’s nickname was “Wild Horse” because of his energetic plays and long mane of curly hair.

The midfielder remembers Oct. 11, 1990, in Pyongyang, where some 150,000 spectators packed 5.1 Stadium to see the first unification match.

“All the players and officials couldn’t believe going to North Korea was real,” he said. “We all had nerves and the match was played in a tense situation.”

Kim, who played with the Daewoo Royals [now Busan I’Park] and VfL Bochum in the German Bundesliga, scored South Korea’s only goal in that match, which the South lost 2-1.

He recalled the atmosphere at the stadium was not hostile when he scored.

“Regardless of the result, it was a meaningful match because it was the first sport exchange after the separation,” he said. “I think it initiated the South-North exchange, and I’m proud to be part of it.”

Since then, South Korea men’s football has won every unification match. Twelve days after the match in Pyongyang, the South hosted the North in Seoul and won 1-0, thanks to a goal from Hwang Sun-hong.

In 2002, just before South Korea hosted the Asian Games in Busan, the two teams met again in Seoul. The game ended in a goalless draw. On Aug. 14, 2005, a day before the 60th anniversary of Liberation Day, the South beat the North 3-0 in Seoul.

After 10 years, now marking 70 years of independence from Japan’s 36-year colonial rule of Korea from 1910-45, the timing to revive the friendly match seems right, and the agreement between the two governments also raises hope.

The South Korean government earlier this year reportedly pushed to have the friendly match this year but did not make progress.

“Football can play a big role in developing the South and North’s political peace and unification,” Kim said.

BY CHOI YONG-JAE, JOO KYUNG-DON [[email protected]]

Rigori fatali: giapponesi campionesse

Ci sono voluti i rigori per decidere la squadra vincente dell’AFC Under-19 Womens Championship.
La finalissima, giocata per 120 minuti in modo equilibrato, era infatti terminata sullo 0-0.

Ai rigori pesano gli errori di Jo Ryon-hwa e Wi Jong-sim.

Ri Un-sim ha vinto la classifica capocannonieri.

Le Coreane si sono comunque qualificate ai Mondiali under-20 che si giocherà in Papua Nuova Guinea nel 2016.