Harare, April 28, 2010 - The North Korea national football team will train in Zimbabwe before heading to South Africa for this year's World Cup in June because the country fears players and officials could desert camp and seek asylum in South Africa.
Zimbabwean government sources said there were strong fears some players and officials from North Korea could take advantage of their stay in South Africa to break free and seek asylum.
North Korea is notorious for denying its citizens basic freedoms and citizens from this reclusive country have a record of defecting and seeking asylum once they step on foreign soil, especially of countries that enjoy democracy and freedom.
Sources this week said Pyongyang was comfortable with security arrangements in Zimbabwe which they felt could make it impossible for players or officials to escape.
“Look, it is very easy for the North Korean players to break away from camp and seek asylum is South Africa than it is here in Zimbabwe,” said an official from the Ministry of Education, Sport, Art and Culture.
The North Korean team will camp in Bulawayo and use Babourfields Stadium as their training venue.
Their visit to Bulawayo has attracted serious opposition from human rights groups who say it evokes memories of the Gukurahundi massacres of the early 1980s.
The Fifth Brigade, which perpetrated the massacres, were trained and armed by the North Korean government.
Radio Vop Zimbabwe