02 November 2012
Determined to defend title
Ras Al Khaimah: DPR Korea coach An Ye Gun has spoke of his determination to lead the North Koreans to a second AFC U-19 Championship and defend the title they won so dramatically in China two years ago.
Then under head coach Yun Jong-su, DPR Korea won the 2010 tournament in a thrilling final at the Zibo Sports Centre where Jong II-gwan scored a memorable hat-trick, including the winner two minutes from time, in the decider against Australia as the East Asian sealed a memorable 3-2 victory.
And An is anxious to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor but he knows it will not be easy with matches against Jordan, Vietnam and Uzbekistan coming up and his side yet to fully acclimatise to the climate in the northern Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.
"It's nice to play as defending champions but it will be very difficult to retain the title," An said at the pre-tournament press conference.
"The training has been excellent but there are other crucial factors like the weather condition as our players are not used to play in these types of climate.
"The journey from Pyongyang to Ras Al Khaimah has been very tiring so the players would have to adapt as soon as possible."
DPR Korea begin their title defence on Sunday against Jordan, who after booking their ticket to the AFC U-19 Championship as best runners-up in qualifying with ten points from five matches have set their sights on a top-four finish and a place in the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup.