Young Croatian footballers competing in Pyongyang.
“We have lost the match against South Korea, but they were older than us. We have heard about the events at the border, but nobody is paying any attention to that. We are 600 kilometres away from the border.” That was yesterday’s report from North Korea by Snježana, one of the mothers of young footballers from Sisak who have travelled to Pyongyang to play in a football tournament, reports Jutarnji List on August 22, 2015.
While the Croatian public is surprised that the children from Sisak have gone to the country for which the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a recommendation against travelling to, mothers who went with the kids say they are having lots of fun. They are not at all concerned about the news from the border between North and South Korea.
The 14 young footballers from Segesta Football Club in Sisak participate in the international football tournament in Pyongyang, which is organized by South Korean and North Korean sports associations. Segesta is representing Europe, while the other participants have come from Brazil, Uzbekistan, China and North and South Korea. The players should return to Croatia on Wednesday, 26 August.
“I am in daily contact with team members who are in Pyongyang, including my own son, who is there as part of the team. Everything is all right, and I think that journalists are spreading unnecessary panic. We have also been reading the news about increasing tensions, but they assure us that this happens very often there and that all the teams are safe”, said Branimir Pupić Jovanović, vice chairman of Segesta. Before the trip, all the parents have consented in writing that their children can go to North Korea.
Deputy Mayor of Sisak Marko Krička says that the club had not contacted the city authorities before deciding on the trip. “There is no need to panic. The children are very happy and will have memories for the rest of their lives. War drums are almost a daily occurrence in that part of the world”, said Krička.