North Korea’s Norwegian Manager Faces the Sack

It has been reported that North Korea is considering whether they should sack their Norwegian manager Jørn Andersen. The North Koreans are currently competing in the final round of the East Asian Championships losing their first two games, some would argue unluckily – the first against Japan was lost to a 95th-minute winner and the second vs South Korea was lost to an unlucky own goal.

The second defeat in the Korean Derby could prove to be decisive for Andresen, especially when his post-match comments are thrown into the mix. He stated the pool of players available, as well as their level, is poorer, compared that of their grandiose footballing neighbours; Japan and South Korea.

Armed with the likely excuse of ‘poor performances’ at the East Asian Championships as an excuse to fire him, the reason is more likely based on political reasons. The North won’t like losing to the South, but they especially don't like their manager commenting that the South have better players even if the statement is factually true.

Andresen's done a lot already for North Korean football according to the excellent long read article in the Bleacher report by James Montagu, as well as agreeing to be based in the secretive state – currently he and his wife live in a Pyongyang hotel suite – when many other western managers in Asia refuse to be based in the country or city they’re working in.

While he also implemented plans for restructuring the league system to enable North Korean clubs to compete in the AFC Cup (Asia’s equivalent to the Europa League). It is clear to see how Andresen has been making progress for North Korean football. To sack him because of a loss to South Korea would be madness, but then madness is what is to be expected from such a nation.

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