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“The football world was shocked and suddenly disappeared.” The story of a professional athlete from North Korea



“The football world was shocked and suddenly disappeared.”  The story of a professional athlete from North Korea

Network reviewedCNNAl-Ekbariya is the story of a young North Korean soccer player whose star shines quickly before disappearing without knowing his fate from 2021.

Han Kwang Sang became the first North Korean player to score in one of Europe’s big five leagues until his sudden move to Italian giants Juventus in 2019 and then to Qatar’s Al-Tuhail.

But his promising career faded when he disappeared from the world football stage in 2020, leaving the question “Where is this North Korean player?” It made fans wonder.

Han was born in 1998 in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. Not much is known about his career except that he attended the prestigious Pyongyang International Football School, founded out of love for the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un. For the game.

When Kim took power in 2012, sports became a rare window into a country largely hidden from the rest of the world.

According to a statement by South Korea’s Unification Ministry, the North Korean leader has used sports as soft power and invested in elite sports to promote his country internationally and boost security and personnel.

North Korea has begun increasing its participation in major international sporting events, including the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and the 2018 Winter Olympics.

At the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games, the two countries marched together under the Korean Unification Flag during the opening ceremony as a unified Korean women’s ice hockey team.

Among the standout players at the Pyongyang academy established in 2013 was Han Kwang-sang, who was sent abroad at government expense to train in Europe.

Han became the biggest success story of Kim’s efforts to transform the country into a sporting power when the North Korean player was selected by Italian talent scouting center ISM Academy.

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And in 2015, the ambitious boy, along with his North Korean counterpart Choi Sang-hyuk, packed his bags for Perugia, the capital of the Umbria region in central Italy, north of the capital Rome.

Hahn spent at least one year in the academy before gaining successful experience with Cagliari’s youth team, which paved the way for him to become a professional footballer.

Playing as a striker, Hahn joined the Cagliari club’s youth team in March 2017, where he scored a goal in his first match with the under-19 team, which quickly promoted him to the first team, according to Cagliari youth coach Max Conci. He told CNN.

Han scored his first goal in the Italian league, the first by a North Korean player in one of the five major leagues in Europe, on April 2, 2017, a week after his professional debut.

Agreement after sanctions

Later, the promising star was loaned from Cagliari to “AC Perugia” and then to Juventus U-23, after which the Italian giant bought him for $3.74 million in January 2020, according to the “Transfer Market” website.

However, Han’s dream of donning the “Old Lady” shirt lasted only a week, after Juventus sold her contract to Qatari club Al-Tuhail for $7.7 million in the same month, according to a United Nations Security Council report. of experts.

But it is unclear how Juventus and Al Duhail will proceed with the transfer, which comes after the deadline for a UN Security Council resolution.

On September 3, 2017, North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test, according to the UN. It prompted the Security Council to impose a list of economic sanctions on the Asian nation, citing “ongoing nuclear and ballistic missile-related activities that destabilize the region and beyond.”

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Sanctions are all UN sanctions. Member states must also stop issuing work permits to North Korean nationals under their jurisdiction.

In addition, the UN Security Council decided after three months to ban all North Korean nationals working abroad “profiting from foreign exports from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” that support banned ballistic nuclear programs no later than December 22. 2019.

Despite his exceptional football talent, young Han was not exempt from these punishments. CNN reached out to Han’s former agent, Sandro Stemperini, and Al Duhail Clube for comment, but did not immediately receive a response. Juventus has not commented on the matter.

The North Korean player’s contract with Al-Tuhail lasted until the 2023-2024 season, and he achieved significant success in his first season with the Qatari team, but his career in Qatar did not last long.

While Han has performed admirably in the field, questions linger about whether he is sending his earnings home, as the UN Security Council has said of other North Koreans working abroad.

The UN document shows Han signed a pledge to Qatar Bank saying “under no circumstances will we transfer any amount to North Korea”.

Meanwhile, Choi, a fellow soccer talent and friend who accompanied Han to Italy, lost his chance to play for Serie A club Fiorentina after the Italian parliament opened an investigation into allegations that the Kim regime embezzled his salary.

While it is unclear in Han’s case whether he sent money to the Kim regime, it is widely reported that North Korea often pressures its employees abroad to send money to the government back home.

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Han’s last game with Al-Tuhail was on 21 August 2020, when he came off the bench against Al-Ahly at the end of the season.

Last appearance in Italy

In March 2021, the UN Months passed with no word on Han’s whereabouts until the final report of the panel of experts released by the Security Council confirmed that the player’s contract with Al-Tuhail had been terminated earlier that year and he had been deported from Qatar. .

CNN reached out to Al-Tuhail and Qatari officials for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.

A strict border closure in North Korea due to the emerging coronavirus outbreak at the time left Han far from his homeland.

He boarded a Qatar Airways flight from Doha on January 26, 2021 when he was deported, according to a letter attached to the final report of the UN Security Council Panel of Experts. The plane took Han back to Rome, an official familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN.

CNN reached out to the Italian foreign ministry and FIFA, but did not immediately receive a response.

According to another official close to the case, Han is said to be living in an unidentified North Korean embassy in 2021, awaiting the resumption of flights to Pyongyang.

“I think he’s still there,” said Jorn Andersson, a former coach of the North Korean national soccer team. He continued, “But he can’t continue to play football. It’s very unfortunate that he didn’t continue to play and grow.”

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Zamalek collide with wall of Arab contractors at critical moment… “Al-Abyad” demands rematch



Zamalek collide with wall of Arab contractors at critical moment… “Al-Abyad” demands rematch

After snatching a draw from the fangs of its host “Al-Abyad” at the Cairo Stadium (1-1) in the second round, the Arab contractors gave Zamalek a strong shock. Egyptian League.

Zamalek took the lead through Youssef Ibrahim “Obama” in the 83rd minute, and Mogabloon’s Ahmed Ala equalized in the ninth minute of stoppage time.

The match was marred by widespread refereeing controversy after a Mogabloon defender disallowed a goal by Mostafa Shalabi that was deflected with his hand and referee Amin Omar refused to award a penalty kick to Zamalek after a shot by Mohamed Ashraf (Ruqa). .

Egyptian website Welcol revealed that Zamalek had submitted a request to the Football Association and the Egyptian Professional Clubs Association to replay their match against Arab contractors.

He added: Zamalek protested against match referee Amin Omar through an official letter to the Football Association and the Club Association, according to Zamalek Football Director Abdel Wahid Al-Sayed.

The letter contained 3 requests from Zamalek, which were to review the Arab Contractors competition according to the rules, and the errors in the application of the law and the impact of the refereeing errors on the end of the competition, and the second request to refer the referee Amin Omar to an investigation, and finally not to assign any other Zamalek competition to referee Amin Omar.

Abdul Wahed Al-Sayed said: “I am filing a protest against Amin Omar because of his conversation with the video technical referee regarding the penalty kick that was not awarded to the team, and we will attach the recording of this incident to the protest. .”

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He continued: “The referee gave Zamalek players six yellow cards in the match and deliberately intimidated the players. He also counted more stoppage time than was announced at the end of the match.”

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Personal messages for Neymar and Salman Al-Faraj… Jorge Jesus reveals the truth after his sacking claims



Personal messages for Neymar and Salman Al-Faraj… Jorge Jesus reveals the truth after his sacking claims

Al Hilal’s technical director has addressed the controversy surrounding him in recent days, revealing his relationship with Neymar and Salman Al Faraj.


It was inevitable for the Portuguese George Jesus; Al Hilal Saudi Arabia’s technical director to point out in letters about the crises he has had with the players after he has been talked about a lot in the past days.

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The allegations began with an argument between him and Neymar, but the latter’s lawyer came out to deny them, and continued arguments between the Portuguese and team captain Salman Al-Faraj, but Jesus denied it all.

During today’s press conference after the clash with Al-Jabaleen, according to Al-Sharq Al-Awsad newspaper, Al-Sayeem’s technical director said: “I don’t respond to rumours! But you know what I just said? When Salman was substituted in tonight’s match, I remarked to him, ‘You played 60 good minutes’.” “You will come back gradually.”

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When asked about Neymar, especially as the press talked about the Brazilian’s sacking request, Jesus replied: “I have a strong relationship with Neymar even before he came to Al Hilal and he returned to the stadium because he was not in tonight’s match. A long injury, after that, he played two matches with the Brazilian national team and then two matches with us, I talked to him and found him. Be more prepared, and when he returns to his position, Al-Hilal will look to attack well.

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Notably, Al Hilal secured victory against Al Jabaleen in the Round of 32 of the Two Holy Mosques Cup on Monday, amid criticism from fans over the team’s lackluster appearance.

After drawing in the last two matches against Uzbekistan’s Navpakor in the first round of the group stage of the AFC Champions League and then against Damak in the seventh round of Roshan, many public are calling for Jesus to be sacked. Round.

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There is a huge demand for eSports tickets



There is a huge demand for eSports tickets

Does Dutch Ajax need a “strong dictator” to solve its existential crisis?

Once one of the giants of European football and an exporter of talent that has left a historic mark, Ajax Amsterdam finds itself mired in one of the deepest crises in its 123-year history, prompting the sacking of one of its senior executives. Its lagging position in fourteenth place in the local league resulted in the sacking of one of its senior officials.

According to Agence France-Presse, protesting the situation caused by the team that has won the Champions League title four times, but the last time before 1995, the fans (Sunday) caused the summit of the sixth stage. The league was halted against its host and rivals Feyenoord, and less than an hour after kick-off, fireworks were set off.

Referee Serdar Kosubuyuk ordered both teams back to the locker rooms for a second time, after which the home team’s fans threw fireworks onto the field.

The referee stopped the match for the first time before the end of the first half for the same reason, before the match was briefly stopped after the trophy was thrown onto the field.

Fans threw firecrackers into the stands (EPA)

Events broke out outside the stadium, forcing the police to intervene, according to ANB news agency and several local media outlets. Photos posted on social media show that the main entrance to the Johan Cruyff Stadium has been destroyed.

Feyenoord were leading 3-0 when the match was stopped, reflecting the situation experienced by the club that has won the most Dutch league titles (36).

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The main headline on the fans’ association’s website read: “The club is on fire”, describing the interruption of the “classic” match against Feyenoord as “a low point in crisis”, the team that introduced the world to legends such as the late Johan Cruyff.

The fans’ anger is understandable; We have to go back to the 1964-1965 season, when Cruyff joined the club’s youth team, to witness a poor start to the season.

Ajax have been content with one win and two draws from five matches to finish 14th, 10 points behind leaders PSV Eindhoven on goal difference against AZ Alkmaar, and a point against Feyenoord who have never tasted defeat in the past two. Best teams.

Amsterdam-based newspaper Hed Parol saw what Ajax presented as a “tactical travesty”, describing some of their defensive displays against Feyenoord as “things you don’t see in the local (amateur) leagues on a Sunday morning”.

Feyenoord’s third goal was particularly embarrassing; Confusion and a defensive misunderstanding saw Mexican Santiago Jimenez dart the length of the field unhindered and pass the ball to Brazilian Igor Baixao.

The NRC newspaper promised that the match “symbolises the existential crisis in which Ajax finds itself”.

In Europe, after qualifying for the group stage, Ajax ended in a 3-3 draw with French club Marseille in the middle of last week, which ended in a 3-3 draw in the Europa League (Europa League). A team that includes the English great Brighton led by its Italian coach Roberto de Gerbi.

“They need a dictator”

Soon after smoke cleared from the Johan Cruyff Arena after fans threw fireworks, the club released a shock statement saying the club’s director of football, Sven Mislindt, had been sacked “with immediate effect”.

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The fans’ club commented on the move on its website: “The distressing reports are coming thick and fast,” adding: “There is unrest at the club, not only on the field but also in management. .”

The match was stopped after fans threw firecrackers in the stadium (EBA).

Mislindad has been the subject of an external investigation over possible conflict of interest over a transfer deal worth eight million euros in the final moments of the summer transfer window.

The club denied the sacking had anything to do with the investigation, citing a “wider lack of support within the organisation” as the reason behind the decision, but the announcement itself failed; An initial dry report was hastily changed to thank Misslindad for his “tremendous effort” during his four-month spell at Ajax.

The Dutch press reported extensively on the power struggle at the club.

As the players prepared for the Feyenoord match, Mislindad stormed into the training ground and shouted “ends day” and criticized coach Maurice Steyn was said to be at risk of being sacked if Ajax lost the “Classic” title. match

In the end, it’s Misslinthat who loses her job, but there’s a lot of pressure on Stein to turn things around.

There has been speculation over who could replace him, and club legend Louis van Gaal has ruled himself out, citing his recovery from prostate cancer diagnosed in 2020, saying his health is a priority.

Interim CEO Jan van Halst, one of the targets of angry fans, made no secret that the club was facing a deep crisis: “These are very difficult times.” “If only it were that easy to flip a switch and change things.”

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Dutch football expert Jaap Stallenberg told Agence France-Presse: “It’s chaos, absolute chaos,” adding that “they’re struggling everywhere.” Off the field as well. “They need a dictator, a strong leader, to come in and sort things out.”

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