30 August 2011

Strict Rules as NK Squad Hits Japan

By Kim Tae Hong

The North Korea national soccer team has been allowed entry into Japan for the first time in six years in order to play a preliminary World Cup qualifying game.

Permission was granted after the Japan Football Association requested that the government make an exception to rules put in place in response to North Korea’s failure to resolve the abductions issue and ongoing development of missiles, under which North Korean nationals are not ordinarily allowed to enter the country.

Accordingly, the squad of 33 arrived at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo via Beijing yesterday, where they were met by some 300 Korean-Japanese supporters.

The North Korean soccer authorities have forbidden the Japanese media from interacting with the squad in five different ways, including by following them, announcing the location of their accommodation, entering their training location or attempting to make contact with the players.

For their part, the Japanese authorities have moved to forestall any clashes between the two by forbidding the North Koreans from going beyond the perimeters of their accommodation, training ground and the match stadium.

The match between the two sides is due to take place in Saitama on September 2nd.

Daily NK

25 August 2011

North Korea barred from 2015 women’s World Cup

North Korea have been banned from taking part in the 2015 women's World Cup in Canada after five of their players were handed lengthy suspensions by FIFA on Thursday for failing doping tests during this year's edition in Germany.

The five players were suspended from the game for periods of 14 to 18 months, the FIFA disciplinary committee announced.

"Pok Sim Jong, Myong Hui Hong, Un Byol Ho, Un Hyang Ri have been declared ineligible for 18 months and Jong Sun Song for 14 months," said the statement.

"Furthermore, the North Korea Football Association's women's A representative team has been excluded from participating in the next FIFA Women's World Cup (Canada 2015), including any preliminary competitions related thereto."

The team doctor, Jong Ae Nam, who claimed that she had used a "Chinese remedy" based on musk deer glands to aid players who had been struck by lightning, was handed a six-year ban from the game as the five players all tested positive for steroids.

The North Korean federation was also fined $400,000 which corresponds to the prize money it would have received for its 13th place.


10 August 2011

North Korea drew Kuwait

North Korea drew Kuwait 0-0 in a friendly today in Kuwait

01 August 2011

N.Korea's Jong rues tough World Cup draw

North Korea striker Jong Tae-Se has questioned his side's lowly standing in the FIFA rankings after they were given a tough qualifying draw for the 2014 World Cup.

North Korea, who made a winless exit from South Africa 2010, were grouped with four-time Asian champions Japan, Syria and 2011 Asian Cup semi-finalists Uzbekistan at the draw in Rio de Janeiro.

Jong said he was confident North Korea would progress from the group along with Japan, but complained the communist state's 115th place in the FIFA rankings was "obviously" unreasonable.

"Isn't it strange that we always end up 100 percent in a group of death in any (major) tournament?" the 27-year-old, who was born and bred in Japan, wrote on his blog.

Jong moved to Germany's VfL Bochum from J-League side Kawasaki Frontale after last year's World Cup, where North Korea faced five-time champions Brazil, Portugal and the Ivory Coast in the group stage.

The striker, nicknamed the "People's Rooney" for his combative style, likened to the England and Manchester United striker, said the tough 2014 draw was due to North Korea's low FIFA ranking.

This left them in the weakest pot of teams, which also included Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Lebanon.

"Normally, Japan, Uzbekistan and Syria are joined by a relatively weaker team from somewhere. But why do North Korea come in there?" he wrote.

"I don't say that the FIFA rankings can't be depended upon," wrote the outspoken Jong. "But it is obviously not a reasonable place (for North Korea) in terms of potential."

"I personally believe on my own that the biggest reason is that we as a socialist country cannot pay money to organise warm-up matches on international 'A' match days."

At the Asian Cup in January, North Korea bowed out at the group stage after losing to holders Iraq and former three-time champions Iran and drawing with the United Arab Emirates.

Jong has scored 15 goals in 28 international matches since his debut for North Korea in 2007.

He failed to find the net in South Africa but impressed by setting up the goal in the 2-1 defeat to Brazil. The crew-cut striker also earned plenty of attention when he sobbed uncontrollably during the national anthem before the Brazil game.

©2011 AFP