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North Korean team slammed over World Cup failure

The North Korean soccer team that lost all three games at the World Cup finals in South Africa came under official chastisement back home, according to a U.S. radio station.

North Korean authorities held a meeting in Pyongyang to discuss who was to blame for the team’s latest defeat, Radio Free Asia reported, citing a “well-informed Chinese businessman.”

“Japanese nationals Jeong Dae-se and Ahn Yong-hak, however, were not put under the ‘ideological criticism,’” he was quoted as saying by RFA.

The radio station funded by the U.S. Congress reported that the North’s deputy chief of the organizational guidance department under the Workers’ Party and the country’s Minister of Sports held a discussion session on the soccer players.

“Some 400 people including the country’s national team players of other sports and the sports department students of national universities took part in the closed-door meeting,” the source was quoted as saying.

“The representatives of the national teams and varsity teams criticized the soccer players and coach Kim Jung-hoon who were put on stage. Sports commentator Rhee Dong-gyu pointed out the flaws of each player, followed by criticism from other participants.”

Each player of the national soccer team was made to pass judgment on their coach Kim at the end of the meeting, according to RFA.

“Blaming the national team for letting General Kim Jong-un down, the meeting was about having someone take responsibility. I don’t think coach Kim Jung-hoon could have escaped punishment,” RFA said citing another source in Sinuiju.

North Korea had propagandized its soccer team’s entry into the World Cup finals as a result of Kim Jong-un’s leadership as the regime paves the way for the heir to succeed his father and incumbent leader Kim Jong-il.

North Korea also recently replaced the chief of its soccer association.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency referred to Trade Minister Rhee Ryong-nam as “chief of the soccer association” as it reported the completed remodeling of a dorm for the national soccer team last week, confirming the removal of his predecessor Moon Jae-chul.

By Kim So-hyun (