ACT News

Handful of North Korean fans drowned out by a sea of red at the Asian Cup

Oliver G well and truly stuck out as one of only a handful of people supporting North Korea when they played China at a sold-out Asian Cup match at Canberra Stadium on Sunday night.

"Somebody's got to do it. It would kind of suck if you travelled to a different country and there was not one single supporter," he said.

Oliver,16, at Canberra Stadium in Bruce to see China take on North Korea in the AFC Asia Cup.
Oliver,16, at Canberra Stadium in Bruce to see China take on North Korea in the AFC Asia Cup. Photo: Melissa Adams

With red and blue stripes painted across his nose, Oliver, 16, wrapped himself in a beach towel with the North Korean colours.

"It's kind of hard to find a North Korean flag," he said.

The teen from north Canberra was accompanied by his parents, and dad Neville also sported a red backpack and blue shirt.

"I'm very proud of Oliver. I thought make a statement, be seen, support the game. Good on him," he said.

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"We thought we'd feel really uncomfortable but no one's said anything, no one's unhappy with him wearing it."

One North Korean supporter, who would only give his name as AC for fear of retribution by the supreme leader, had a giant banner supporting his adoptive team.

"These guys have no support, so we thought let's give these guys a little bit of support," he said.

"They need to get through their group stage and see where they go from there."

Another group took it even further, kitted out in full military uniforms with one dressed as the supreme leader himself, complete with a cardboard Kim Jong-un face mask.

But it was the diehard China fans, thousands of whom have made the trip over just for the Asian Cup, who turned Canberra stadium to a sea of red and cheered their team to victory.

Before the gates even opened at 6pm, more than 300 people gathered out the front, waving China flags and chanting.

After most of the crowd had streamed in, there was an announcement over the loudspeaker about 8.10pm saying all tickets had been sold, with the final crowd count at 18,457. At that time, there were still big queues outside the stadium.

Jun Feng Fei and Zhige Wang and their nine-year-old daughter Qun Wang came to Australia specifically to follow China, and have so far been to Brisbane and Sydney to watch their home team play.

"Unfortunately next time China will play Australia," said Wang.

"Of course we hope China will win but I think the strength of the Australian fans is strong. Australia is stronger."