05 February 2017

AFC Cup : Two DPR Korea Teams in AFC Cup group stage

Schedule & Results:
14-03-2017 16:00
Venue: May Day Stadium, Pyongyang

04-04-2017 14:00
Venue: Football Centre MFF, Ulaanbaatar

18-04-2017 16:00
Venue: May Day Stadium, Pyongyang

03-05-2017 15:00
Venue: Kim II Sung Stadium, Pyongyang

17-05-2017 14:00
Venue: Football Centre MFF, Ulaanbaatar

31-05-2017 15:00
Venue: Kim II Sung Stadium, Pyongyang


Kuala Lumpur: Youth teams from DPR Korea dominated the FIFA U-17 and U-20 Women’s World Cups 2016 and secured both titles. What is the secret of their success?
Sibling rivalry has been going on since the dawn of time: if one child receives a present, the other immediately wants one, too. If Johnny becomes a sprint champion, his sister will try to emulate that success in another field. The fight for recognition drives brothers and sisters both on, and in football it is no different. If a club’s youth team wins the league, this will serve as an incentive to the next team up the age ladder to go one better. The more senior team will certainly not want to be outdone by their juniors.
This was certainly the case when DPR Korea took to the field at the start of the U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea. Just weeks before, their “little sisters” had won the U-17 title in Jordan and won many admirers with their attacking style. At the first major women’s tournament to be held in an Arab country, the midfielders pushed forward into space and the wide players deployed in attacks. Constant movement without the ball was much in evidence, and spectators were also impressed by the passes played in behind the opposition’s defence.
The bar was thus set high for the U-20 team in Papua New Guinea, with ambitions and expectations to match. But coach Hwang Yong-bong’s side also possessed mental strength and dished up some refreshingly entertaining football, as their goal tally of 21 attests. As captain Choe Sol-gyong hoisted the trophy aloft, her coach spoke jubilantly of a “historic success”.
Some 6,000 kilometres away, as the crow flies, from Port Moresby, the scene of this triumph, the youth teams’ achievements have been celebrated but taken no one by surprise, as football development has been a high priority in DPR Korea in recent years. The strategies pursued at Pyongyang’s international football academy are aimed at bringing together all of DPR Korea's talents and developing them in accordance with global standards.
Absorbing external knowledge
The academy is located on the idyllic island of Rungna on the Taedong River, which rises in the Rangrim Mountains and flows into the Yellow Sea some 400 kilometres away. In contrast to the tranquil surroundings, plenty of effort is expended inside the centre, where some 200 youngsters aged between nine and 14 – of whom 40 percent are girls – have trained since it opened in 2013. They come from various provinces in the country and sleep at the academy, where they also attend school lessons, although it goes without saying that football is the main reason that they are there. Success on the pitch is all that matters to them, but they must constantly work at their game, as every year, ten percent of the players are shown the door.
Although DPR Korea has had football academies for a number of years, the Pyongyang International Football School is the first academy to align itself with the game as it is played abroad and the trends emerging globally. It invites international experts to run courses, while players are loaned to club academies in Spain and Italy, where they can become familiar with European training methods and pass on their newly acquired knowledge to their fellow players and coaches.

On schedule
The original plan was for the U-17 and U-20 teams to be in the top three of the world by 2018, but going by recent exploits, that aim seems to have been already achieved.
However, another of the plan’s objectives is for the senior international side to become a member of the world’s elite. The team has undergone some difficulties in recent years, with several of its players failing doping tests at the 2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany, leading to an outright ban on participation in the 2015 tournament in Canada. In addition, the league continues to stagnate, and international matches have become something of a rarity.
The successes of the youth teams have given a boost to the “big sisters” as they endeavour to reach their goals. “I’m delighted with our victory, but we can’t stop here. We have to keep on working to win more titles,” said Hwang Yong-bong (pictured above) in Papua New Guinea, looking ahead.
The same approach is being taken in Pyongyang, where the artificial turf seems to be greener than before and the players are leaping even higher over the cones in training. After all, success breeds success, or so the saying goes.
But the hard work starts here, spurred on no doubt by sibling rivalry. How did Irving Berlin put it? “Anything you can do, I can do better...”
Sources: FIFA 1904, FIFA/Getty Images



Abu Dhabi: The remaining 24 teams vying for a spot at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 discovered their opponents for the final round of qualifying at an official draw for the competition’s latest stage on Monday.
The Teams
Jordan, Oman, Philippines, Bahrain, Kyrgyz Republic, DPR Korea, India, Palestine, Tajikistan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Turkmenistan, Maldives, Lebanon, Yemen, Afghanistan, Chinese Taipei, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Nepal, Bhutan and Macau.
Draw Result
Group A: A1 Kyrgyz Republic A2 India A3 Myanmar A4 Macau
Group B: B1 DPR Korea B2 Hong Kong B3 Lebanon B4 Malaysia
Group C: C1 Jordan C2 Vietnam C3 Afghanistan C4 Cambodia
Group D: D1 Oman D2 Palestine D3 Maldives D4 Bhutan
Group E: E1 Bahrain E2 Turkmenistan E3 Chinese Taipei E4 Singapore
Group F: F1 Philippines F2 Tajikistan F3 Yemen F4 Nepal
The winners and runners-up from each group - a total of 12 teams - will qualify for the final competition of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
They will be joined by the other 12 teams, which include defending champions Australia, China PR, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Korea Republic, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Thailand, Uzbekistan and hosts United Arab Emirates - who have already qualified to the final competition through the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2.
The qualifiers will begin on March 28, 2017.
Match Schedule (All Groups)
March 28: 1 v 4 & 3 v 2
June 13: 4 v 3 & 2 v 1
September 5: 4 v 2 & 1 v 3
October 10: 2 v 4 & 3 v 1
November 14: 4 v 1 & 2 v 3
March 27, 2018: 1 v 2 & 3 v 4

DPR Korea head coach Jörn Andersen
“We are not unhappy, we got a good draw. We’ll meet some good teams so it will be a hard group but I like it. Of course our aim is to qualify for the final round here in the Emirates. I think all the teams have a good chance to qualify, it’s an open group. But we hope we will be one of the best two. We are preparing well and working hard. I have been the coach for eight months now, we work well together and the team has taken a big step ahead. I look forward to the qualifying matches this year.”


Amman: Twenty-one nations learned their opponents for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Jordan 2018 qualifiers when the official draw was held in the Jordanian capital of Amman on Saturday.
The Teams
Korea Republic, Thailand, Vietnam, Jordan, Myanmar, Chinese Taipei, Uzbekistan, Philippines, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Bahrain, Islamic Republic of Iran, India, Palestine, DPR Korea, Guam, Iraq, Singapore, Syria, Tajikistan and the United Arab Emirates.
Draw Result
Group A: A1 Jordan A2 Philippines A3 Bahrain A4 Iraq A5 UAE A6 Tajikistan (hosts)
Group B: B1 Korea Republic B2 Uzbekistan B3 Hong Kong B4 India B5 DPR Korea (hosts) 
Group C: C1 Thailand C2 Chinese Taipei C3 Lebanon C4 Palestine (hosts) C5 Guam
Group D: D1 Vietnam (hosts) D2 Myanmar D3 IR Iran D4 Syria D5 Singapore
The three highest-ranked women’s national teams from the last AFC Women’s Asian Cup – Japan, Australia and China PR - received automatic qualification into the eight-team finals. The group winners of each of the four qualifying groups will qualify for the finals in Jordan.
Jordan as hosts also received automatic qualification, but they have expressed interest to participate in the qualifiers. Therefore, if case they finish top of their qualifying group, the runner-up team will also advance to the final competition. The qualifiers will kick off on April 3, 2017.
The finals, which will be held from April 7 to 22, 2018, will also serve as the Asian qualifiers for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019.
Match Schedule:
Group A
April 3: 
A3 v A1, A4 v A6, A2 v A5
April 5: A1 v A5, A2 v A4, A3 v A6
April 7: A5 v A3, A6 v A2, A1 v A4
April 10: A4 v A5, A6 v A1, A2 v A3
April 12: A5 v A6, A3 v A4, A1 v A2
Groups B through D
April 3: 
BCD3 v BCD2, BCD5 v BCD4
April 5: BCD4 v BCD1, BCD5 v BCD3
April 7: BCD1 v BCD5, BCD2 v BCD4
April 9: BCD2 v BCD5, BCD3 v BCD1
April 11: BCD4 v BCD3, BCD1 v BCD2

08 January 2017

Outlook bright for North Korean football

By John Duerden
Whatever happens in 2017, North Korea is already smiling when it comes to football. In the final weeks of last year, its women won two World Cups in quick succession.

First came the Under-17 Women's World Cup with the DPRK defeating Japan in the final in Jordan in October. There were more celebrations in Pyongyang on December 3 when the Under-20 team defeated France in Papua New Guinea.

No team in the world has won two world cups in such a short space of time. It is a fine achievement.

The country has always been a power in the women's game without quite hitting the heights it should have. The senior side's best performance at the World Cup was a quarter-final spot in 2007. It has also won three of the last six Asian championships.

The 2019 World Cup, which will be held in France, may just be too early for most of those who starred in the last quarter of 2016 but the stars of the Under-20 win ― including Ri Hyang-sim, Jon So-yon and Kim So-hyang ― will surely be in contention.

One major improvement is the quality of coaching. North Korea has long been able to produce hard-working and technically sound players but, perhaps due to international isolation and a lack of exposure to tactical and coaching trends, it was a struggle to compete at the very top level.

That is changing. Talent is identified at an early age with the best going to schools that are well-versed in the sport.

The best of these can go further. The football federation has started sending talented young men to Spain and Italy to get a taste of the European game, coaching and trends. Of the starting 11 that defeated South Korea in the final of the 2014 Asian Under-16 Championships, six had experience in Europe.

Others who are not so lucky have the fine consolation of a place at the Pyongyang International Football School, opened in 2013 after a, $800,000 grant from the governing body. Foreign coaches are invited from time to time to give players some international exposure.

The academy is home to around 200 students, the best prospects that North Korea has. Almost half are female and they spend plenty of time facing male opponents.

That does not mean that coaches such as Under-20 boss Hwang Yong-bong could not have emerged before, but the present set-up makes it easier to do so. Hwang impressed in Papua New Guinea in leading the team to the big prize, earning accolades from FIFA, especially his tactical flexibility.

"It's a feat that's never been achieved before," said coach Hwang. "I'm delighted with our victory, but we can't stop here. We have to keep on working to win more titles."

Even Korea Football Association officials in Seoul were impressed.

"In the past, North Korea's youth teams did well because of their physical abilities ― they were well prepared, strong and fast," a KFA official, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Korea Times.

"This was less effective at the senior level, as other teams caught up and there was also tactical naivety on behalf of coaches.

"Now though, there are coaches who are able to add strategic knowledge to the team's other strengths. Coach Hwang showed that."

The future looks bright north of the 38th Parallel.


13 December 2016

AFC Cup Draw

AFC Cup draw

East Zone
Group I
1. 4.25 SC (PRK)
2. Rovers FC (GUM)
3. Taipower Company (TPE)
4. Play-off winner (PRK/TPE/MNG)

AFC Cup - Two DPR Korean teams in AFC Cup

Selangor: The stage is set for the AFC cup 2017 draw which will take place at the Hilton Petaling Jaya in the Malaysian capital at 1430hrs (local time) on Tuesday.
The clubs - including reigning champions Air Force Club - who will enter the Group Stage of the competition which will feature a new formatare:

East Asia Zone
4.25 SC (DPR Korea)
Rovers FC (Guam)
Taipower Company (Chinese Taipei)
One East Play-off winner


Kigwancha FC from DPR Korea in playoffs.