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Zimbabwe Minister Says No Decision on Where North Koreans Will Train for Cup


The statement followed protests by activists who have threatened to disrupt training in Bulawayo, blaming North Korea for training Zimbabwe's Fifth Brigade which is accused of carrying out massacres in Matabeleland in the 1980s

Zimbabwe Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi said on Thursday that authorities have not yet decided where North Korea’s World Cup soccer team will train while in the country ahead of the June kickoff.

The statement followed threats by activists who have threatened to disrupt training if it is set in Bulawayo, blaming North Korea for training Zimbabwe's Fifth Brigade which is accused of carrying out massacres in Matabeleland in the 1980s Gukurahundi fighting between rival liberation movements.

Mzembi told VOA Studio reporter Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye it is early days for a decision on the city to host the North Koreans.

He said the 2010 World Cup Ministerial Committee of representatives from Zimbabwe's unity government will reach a decision on where the North Korean squad will settle for its pre-Cup training program.

Mzembi noted however that the country has just three FIFA approved stadiums - two in Harare and one in Bulawayo - limiting the choices of venue.

Human rights activists have urged Harare to review its decision on putting up the North Koreans in Bulawayo, capital of the Matebeleland region, saying this risked opening up old wounds. Mzembi responded that there is no need to mix politics and sports.

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