North Korean Team Itinerary Leaves Out Zimbabwe

The North Korean team are scheduled to play Paraguay in Saviese in Switzerland on May 15. The team will then play Greece in Austria on May 25. The team is also scheduled to play the Democratic Republic of Congo in Geneva, Switzerland on May 29. The team will also play another international friendly against Nigerai in South Africa on June 4

Zimbabwe on Friday appeared to back away from an announcement that North Korea’s national team would train in the country ahead of the World Cup.

This follows protests over the Asian country’s role in training an army unit accused of killing thousands of people during the Gukurahundi era in Matabeleland.

Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi however insisted to RadioVOP that the North Koreans were still going to train in Harare.

The original announcement triggered protests from opposition groups in south-western Matabeleland provinces where rights groups say a North Korean-trained army unit killed an estimated 20,000 people during President Robert Mugabe’s crackdown on an insurgency in the region in the 1980s.

Zimbabwe, whose tourism industry had declined sharply because of a decade-long economic and political crisis, had been courting nations that qualified for the World Cup finals to visit the country en route to South Africa, in a bid to boost revenue.

But political groups and rights activists in Matabeleland say threatened to protest against the North Koreans, even if they do not come to Bulawayo.