North Korean national football coach Kim Jong-hun is preparing for the Asian Cup next year, Open Radio for North Korea said Tuesday, quashing rumors that Kim was sent to a labor camp after a marathon public reprimand for losing all three of the country's World Cup matches.
Rumors that the coach and players were severely punished in the wake of the North's 0-7 rout by Portugal prompted FIFA to write to North Korea's football federation asking for an explanation.
But the radio station cited a North Korean source as saying Kim and the players are in intense training at the Ri Myong Su Stadium. Although the coach tendered his resignation after the World Cup, the party leadership decided to give him another chance.
The Ri Myong Su Stadium is the only stadium with natural grass in Pyongyang. A Nearby Army rifle range means it is effectively off-limits to the public.
The training is likely geared towards the Asian Cup in Qatar next January, Open Radio said. North Korea is in Group D with Iran, Iraq and the UAE, all tough opponents.
The Choson Ilbo