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North Korea’s Unprecedented “Carrot Strategy” to Defeat Japan

North Korea’s Unprecedented “Carrot Strategy” to Defeat Japan

Posted January. 26, 2005 23:07,   


North Korea is pouring its all-out efforts in order to reach the World Cup finals for the first time in 40 years. North Korea reportedly has stimulated the desire of its national team players towards victory with a “carrot strategy,” while enhancing the team’s performance through field training on Hainan Island, China in the run-up to the first game in Saitama Prefecture with Japan, in group B of the FIFA Confederations Cup Germany 2005.

An official from the Athletic Instruction Committee of North Korea said in a written interview with Kyodo News, “All the national team players who play a great role in international games including the last World Cup qualifying ground will be given proper treatment such as financial compensation, houses, and cars in accordance with their actions even after retirement.”

These conditions are very exceptional for North Korea, which is currently facing an economic crisis. Therefore, such actions can be translated as the country’s ardent wish for the World Cup finals. North Korea has failed to win a berth in the World Cup finals since it created a legend by advancing to the 1956 England World Cup quarterfinals.

Under the circumstances, it is known that national team players are also making a resolution to get a victory. Ahn Young-hak, a major midfielder of the North Korea’s national team now playing in the J-League with the Nagoya Grampus, pledged his commitment saying, “I will do my best to play in the World Cup finals after defeating Japan.” In a warm-up match with Shanghai Jungbang, a soccer team in the Chinese minor league, the North won, 2-0.

North Korea will start the battle for the top two places to secure a semifinal berth in the Asia region February 9 by playing home and away games against soccer powers Japan, Iran, and Bahrain in group B.

Soon-Il Kwon stt77@donga.com