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Hoping for Unification in Soccer Match

Posted September. 05, 2002 22:17,   


They came back in 12 years.

North Korean athletes arrived in South aboard Koryo Air 815 at 3:50 p.m. on September 5, 2002. They will play in the 2002 North-South Unification Soccer Match (USM) slated for September 7.

49 Northern players and staff members led by North Korean Soccer Federation Chairman Lee Kwang-kun, left from Pyong Yang Soonahn Airport at 2:50, and arrived safely at the Incheon International Airport via direct line between Pyong Yang and Seoul.

The Northern delegation consists of Chief Head Lee, Vice-chief Kim Jung Man, 14 staff members, 6 reporters and Coach Lee Jung-man and 5 other coaches, and 21 players. It is the first visit by a North’s soccer team to South in 12 years. In October of 1990, they participated in the USM in Seoul.

The Northern delegation joined the reception after the greeting address of Park Kun-hae (director of Euro-Korea Foundation) and Chief Head Lee’s statement.

Lee in his statement said, “North’s players will run and run in order to boost the enthusiasm for harmony and consolidation of all Koreans with our wishes put into the ball.”

After finishing 50 minutes of the reception, the Northern delegation went directly to Shilla Hotel in Seoul, which will accommodate them during their stay. Then, North Koreans participated in another reception hosted by Euro-Korea Foundation. The Northern team will warm up on September 6. Leaving the hotel at 10 a.m. they will have a closed strategic training session in the morning at the National Players’ Training Center in Pajoo, and move to Seoul World Cup Stadium at around 3:30 p.m. and have an open closing training session.

Then, they will not do any other things on Sep. 7 than the match itself, which starts at 7 p.m. On the following day, they will have a tour in Kyungbok Palace in the morning, and leave for North at Incheon Airport at around 5 p.m.

Ho-Gab Lee Jong-Koo Yang gdt@donga.com yjongk@donga.com