Young football players from two Koreas ran into each other in Spain, one of the football powerhouses.
Fifty-four South Korean players aged 11 or 12 were sitting in a stadium in Spain last Saturday to watch the youth match between FC Barcelona and CE Mercantil. Just about 50 meters away from their seats were 10 North Korean players aged 10 to 11.
The North Korean students led by one instructor who speaks with the North Korean accent arrived in Barcelona last Saturday. The instructor said, “A total of 15 students came.” These students are now learning football in Fundacion Marcet, a renowned football academy in Barcelona, which was established in 1978 and has been teaching young football players not only from European countries but also from Asian countries, such China, Japan and Vietnam. However, it is the first time for North Korean students to enter this academy. Unlike its women’s football team, North Korea’s men’s football team has not made its mark in the international arena for a long time.
Asked if North Korea pays much attention to football given that it sends young players to the football academy, the instructor said, “(I) just brought them here according to the order and do not know anything else,” and promptly left. The young South Korean football players are staying for a friendly match with Spain in Valencia from Wednesday.