Chengdu: Coach Kim Kwang-min believes his new, youthful squad can continue DPR Korea's recent domination of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup by kicking off their 2010 title defence with victory over Thailand in Group A at Chengdu Sports Centre on Thursday.
Asia's joint top-ranked team alongside Japan have won three of the last four editions to turn the tide of superiority in Asia away from China - who prevailed in 2006 - but Kim's newly-moulded squad only contains a handful of players from the successful 2008 campaign in Vietnam.
For DPR Korea, who recently lost 3-2 to Australia before drawing 2-2 with the Matildas, only 27-year-old striker Kim Yong-ae and midfielder Kim Kyong-hwa, 24, remain from the starting 11 who beat China 2-1 in Ho Chi Minh City in 2008.
“This is the third time for me as head coach and we have won the competition three times and our aim is to be champions again. We will do our best to be champions” said Kim Kwang-min.
“Even though we have a lot of new footballers, this means there is less pressure on them. We lost to Australia but this was only part of the preparation.
“Thailand is a good opponent but they are also a good team to play in the first game.”
Skipper Kim Yong-ae scored the winner in the final two years ago as DPR Korea, who are ranked fifth in the world, came from behind to follow up their back-to-back success in 2001 and 2003.
“We will try our best to meet the expectation of the Korean people and we look forward to going home with the cup,” said the DPR Korea captain.