North Korea shoots down ‘false’ defection claims

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North Korea shoots down ‘false’ defection claims

CAPE TOWN, South Africa - North Korean coach Kim Jong-hun on Sunday blasted reports that four of his players had defected, insisting the reclusive team was united at the World Cup.

The defection rumors were sparked after the official team sheet for the North Koreans’ 2-1 defeat to Brazil last Tuesday listed substitute goalkeeper Kim Myong-won, An Chol-hyok, Kim Kyong-il and Pak Sung-hyok as “absent.”

FIFA said at the time they had no information on any players disappearing.

The North Koreans were expected to explain the mystery at a scheduled press conference on Friday, but they canceled.

“Regarding that report, it was totally misrepresentative,” said Kim at his pre-match press conference in Cape Town ahead of their clash yesterday with Portugal.

“The management of the team and the players is my responsibility and there were never any team members missing.

“They have always been with us every day. We eat, sleep and train together. The reports were false.”

All of the squad turned up for training on Sunday. AFP
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