North Korean Soccer Coach Talks to 'Dear Leader' Via Invisible Phone

Where many of the foreign teams who arrived in South Africa arranged for private training facilities with state of the art equipment, the broke North Koreans opted for using a public health club.

A video posted to YouTube shows the team working out at a South African gym, as confused patrons look on and fascinated players ask South African gym-goers to pose for photographs.

So far no North Koreans back home have seen any of the games, and those hoping to catch a glimpse of the competition must wait as the deal to bring live coverage of the cup came apart in the wake of a military dispute between North and South Korea.

South Korea yanked its agreement to provide free television broadcasts of the games to the North following the sinking of a South Korean navy ship in March.

North Korea Lost Coverage of World Cup After Sinking of South Korean Ship

A tape of Tuesday's game against Brazil will likely be shown on state-run television since North Korea secured broadcast rights to World Cup telecasts from the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union.

"The hype around the World Cup is not the same in North Korea as in open societies," said Han Park, director of the Center for the Study of Global Issues at the University of Georgia.

"The average person is not very well informed of these games," Han said. "To the extent that they have a reason to be proud, the leadership will selectively reveal information to the people."

All media in North Korea is tightly controlled. Only a small number of people own televisions. In the capital Pyongyang, all homes come equipped with state-produced radios which cannot be turned off.

North Korea was selected to play in Group G, the so-called "Group of Death" that includes some of the world's best squads including Brazil, Portugal and Cote d'Ivoire.

They next play Portugal on June 21.

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