07 September 2017

AFC ASIAN CUP 2019 QUALIFIERS - GROUP B: DPR KOREA 2-2 LEBANON



Pyongyang: Lebanon grabbed a late equaliser as they snatched a 2-2 AFC Asian Cup qualification draw against DPR Korea in a high quality encounter at the Kim Il Sung Stadium in Pyongyang. 
With boisterous home support DPR Korea took a deserved first-half lead through Kim Yu-song before defender Nour Mansour equalising early in the second-half. 
But late drama was assured thanks to a Ri Yong-jik's low strike before an injury time goal from Hassan Maatouk salvaged a last gasp point.  
The draw keeps Lebanon on top of Group B but still leaves DPR Korea, who have played fewer games, with many positives to take from a spirited and high tempo encounter. 
Former Norway international Jorn Andersen, only the DPR Korea's second ever foreign coach, has enjoyed a good start to his campaign in Pyongyang. 
Under him the Chollima had only lost once, but the team's momentum was checked somewhat when their AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Malaysia was postponed twice earlier this year. 
The Kim Il Sung stadium was almost full an hour before kick-off as tens of thousands and schoolchildren in white shirts, red ties and pin badges of the Dear Leader filled the stands.  
But it was Lebanon, now under Montenegrin coach Miodrag Radulovic, that started the brighter. 
After a series of raids down the left by captain Maatouk, midfielder Rabih Ataya blasted over from close range when he should have done better.  
DPR Korea came back into it with striker Pak Kwang-ryong intimidating The Cedars back line, whose cause was helped by some superb free kick routines, one of which brought a stunning save from Mehdi Kahlil in the Lebanese goal. 
But DPR Korea would eventually find a way past and take the lead from the resulting corner, a looping header from Kim Yu-song. 
Kahlil kept Lebanon in the match until half time, as the team seemed to struggle at times playing on the Kim il Sung stadium's artificial pitch. 
Yet almost as soon as the second-half started, Lebanon was level, defender Mansour pouncing in the box and blasting in at close range.  
Andersen, an animated figure in all black on the touchline, made all three substitutions by the 66th minute in an attempt to change the flow of the game. 
But despite taking up some good positions, Lebanon - who look a different, more expansive team under Radulovic - looked dangerous on the break, Ali Hamam blasting over as a bevy of teammates swarmed into the box.  
Just as the game was running out of time, DPR Korea struck. A hopeful ball into the Lebanese box caused chaos and rebounded out to midfielder Ri Yong-jik who blasted it past Khalil and sending the crowd into raptures. 
Shortly afterwards Lebanon defender Maher Sabra, who was on the bench, was shown a red card after an ugly confrontation with a member of his own coaching staff. 
But just as The Cholima thought they had done enough, a late free kick from Maatouk was swung in, somehow evading everyone before sneaking inside Ri Myong-guk's left hand post.


http://www.the-afc.com/asian-cup-2019/afc-asian-cup-2019-qualifiers-group-b-md3-dpr-korea-v-lebanon

23 August 2017

AN BELIEVES TEAMWORK WILL TAKE 4.25 SC THROUGH IN AFC CUP INTER-ZONE SEMI-FINAL



Bengaluru: 4.25 SC Captain An Il-bom has emphasised the importance of working together as the forward prepares to lead the DPR Korea club out against JSW Bengaluru in the first leg of the AFC Cup Inter-Zone semi-final on Wednesday.
An  wore the skipper’s armband as tournament debutants 4.25 progressed to the knockout rounds, scoring twice in the group stage to pip compatriots Kigwancha SC to top spot in the Group I standings.
But it was his strike partner Kim Yu-song who grabbed most the headlines in netting a competition-leading nine goals in just four games as the Pyongyang-based club qualified for the next stage at the first time of asking.
“Kim Yu-song is a really good player,” An told the-AFC.com ahead of training at a saturated Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Tuesday evening.
“He’s our striker, he does a really good job and I think for the match he’ll be at his best.
“But we’re a team and not about the individual players. Everyone has to try their best to work well together and then we can get a good result.”
After going off in 4.25’s opening-day win over Mongolia’s Erchim FC, An did not play again until his side’s third match – a 2-2 draw with Kigwancha in the Pyongyang derby.
Trailing 2-0 with 20 minutes to play, the 26-year-old pulled one back before striker Kim scored deep into stoppage time with a goal that would ultimately send 4.25 through thanks to a marginally better head to head against Kigwancha.
An added another to his tally in a 5-0 victory over Erchim in their fourth and final Group I game to confirm top spot and be crowned East Asia Zonal champions.


“Right now we feel a little bit tired because of the flight here,” added An, whose team only arrived in Bengaluru on Tuesday.
“But we practiced a lot in DPR Korea to prepare for the match and I think our condition is pretty good. Both teams are very strong so it will be interesting.”
Head coach Hwang Yong-song, meanwhile, noted that his side would face stern opposition but has his eyes firmly fixed on progressing further into the competition with a group of players that know each other well.

“We think Bengaluru are a very strong team and have many good players,” said Pak. “They have four India internationals and also some foreign players so we think they have good players.
“Our team has many young players but we have played together for a long time. This is the first time we have participated in the AFC Cup and we have won some games.
“Now we’re playing Bengaluru and first of all we hope to win this game and proceed to the next stage.”
Photos: Lagardère Sports

http://www.the-afc.com/afc-cup-2017/an-believes-teamwork-will-take-425-sc-through-in-afc-cup-inter-zone-semi-final

08 June 2017

Qatar play out 2-2 draw with North Korea

*

Qatar’s national football team drew on Tuesday 2-2 with North Korea, in the match that took place in Jassim bin Hamad stadium at Al Sadd SC. 
Qatar took a 2-0 lead through goals from Abdul Kareem Hassan and Ali Afif in the 32nd and 56th minute respectively. The North Korean team, however, managed to draw level in a 10-minute period between 63rd and 73rd minute. 
The friendly was the final preparation for the Qatari team ahead of their match against South Korea which will take place in Doha. The two sides are in Group A as part of the World Cup 2018 qualifiers. The top two teams of each group will qualify to the final. The third-placed teams will face each other in a play-off, the winner of which will play against the fourth-placed team in the North America qualifiers. The winner would then qualify to the World Cup.

http://www.gulf-times.com/story/552502/Qatar-play-out-2-2-draw-with-North-Korea

02 June 2017

Qatar friendly for DPR Korea , draw 2-2

DPR Korea is scheduled to play a friendly against Qatar on 6. June in Qatar.

The friendly is preparation for ASIAN Cup qualifying match against Hong Kong on 13. June

UPDATE :

Qatar 2-2 DPR Korea

17 May 2017

AFC POSTPONES DPR KOREA V MALAYSIA ASIAN CUP QUALIFIER




Kuala Lumpur: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has decided that because of the geo-political tension on the Korean Peninsula the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifying Final Round match between DPR Korea and Malaysia, scheduled for Pyongyang on June 8, 2017 should be postponed.
The game will now be re-scheduled for the next best available FIFA match-day which is Thursday, October 5, 2017.
Although the AFC had proposed on May 8, 2017 that the match – which was already postponed from March 28, 2017 – take place in the DPR Korea capital, recent developments have forced the AFC to reconsider the decision on the grounds of safety and security.
The AFC will closely monitor the safety and security position in coming months as well as the AFC Cup match between Kigwancha SC (DPR Korea) against Erchim FC (Mongolia) to be played May 31, 2017 as well as the AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers - Group G to be hosted in Pyongyang, DPR Korea from July 19-23, 2017.
After those matches, the AFC will make a decision of the venue for the AFC Asian Cup Qualifier on October 5, 2017.

http://www.the-afc.com/media-releases/afc-postpones-dpr-korea-v-malaysia-asian-cup-qualifier

4.25 SC WIN TO SEAL SPOT IN AFC CUP KNOCKOUT PHASE

Ulaanbataar: Kim Yu-song scored a hat-trick as DPR Korea’s 4.25 SC confirmed their place in the next phase of the 2017 AFC Cup on Wednesday with a comfortable 5-0 win over Mongolia’s Erchim that guarantees the club Pyongyang top spot in Group I.
Victory moves 4.25 SC onto eight points from four games so far and the Pak Myung-hun-coached team cannot be surpassed at the summit by Kigwancha due to 4.25’s superior head-to-head record over their compatriots.

Dulguun Tumurbaatar deflected Kim’s shot past his own goalkeeper midway through the first half to give 4.25 the lead before An Il-bom doubled his side’s advantage from close range five minutes before the break.

Kim scored a second 12 minutes after the restart when he lifted the ball over the advancing Ariunbold Batsaikhan and, with 21 minutes to go, Ro Hyong-jin converted from the penalty spot. Kim side-footed home his third of the day and ninth of the competition with five minutes remaining to complete the rout and send 4.25 SC through to the Inter-zonal Play-off Semi-finals.



http://www.the-afc.com/afc-cup-2017/match-report/competition/821/season/2017/matchid/906700

04 May 2017

AFC CUP 2017 - GROUP I: KIGWANCHA SC 2-2 4.25 SC

Pyongyang: Kim Yu-song's sixth goal in three 2017 AFC Cup matches saw 4.25 SC salvage a point in injury time after they came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with fellow DPR Korean side Kigwancha SC in Group I on Wednesday.
Having played out a 1-1 draw two weeks ago in the first of two Pyongyang derbies, Kigwancha went ahead on 35 minutes through forward Rim Kwang-hyok before substitute Ri Un-il doubled the lead just a minute after he entered the field on the hour-mark.
Captain An Il-bom replied for 4.25 SC on 70 minutes to halve the deficit but defender An Song-il's sending off four minutes into added time looked to have ended any hopes of a come-back.   
However, there was a final twist in the tale as Kim had the final word on the 98th minute as the group remains alive with the two DPR Koreans level-pegging at the top. 
Mongolia's Erchim FC, five points behind but with two games to play against both Kigwancha and 4.25 SC, also retain a slim chance of a place in the Zonal Semi-finals.
http://www.the-afc.com/afc-cup-2017/afc-cup-2017-group-i-kigwancha-sc-2-2-425-sc

09 April 2017

RACE TO REACH JORDAN 2018 HEATING UP IN GROUP B

Pyongyang: The race to claim a place amongst Asia’s elite appears to be well and truly heating up in Pyongyang as the AFC Women’s Asia Cup Jordan 2018 Group B qualifying campaign reaches its final stretch.
Following their failure to secure the all-important three points against rivals Korea Republic in Friday’s historic encounter, DPR Korea coach Kim Kwang-min has rallied his charges to refocus as they prepare for a top-of-the-table clash against an Uzbekistan side which has registered just one point less than the home side.
“It is important for us to get a good start. When you look at the last match, I cannot stress enough how important it is for us to set an example, to keep our focus, early on in the game. They (Uzbekistan) still have a chance to qualify so they will want to get the victory, but we need to rely on our abilities and more importantly, mentally, we need to remain focus to get the job done throughout the 90 minutes,” Kim said.

DPR Korea’s opponents on Sunday have been growing in confidence after registering two opening victories, their most recent of which – a 7-1 thumping of India – helped them cement second place in the group standings.
Undeterred by the prospect of facing the two best ranked teams – DPR Korea and Korea Republic – in his remaining two matches, Uzbekistan coach Babakulov Sherali acknowledges that his troops will need to deploy a different approach against the hosts.
“Yes, you will see a totally different football match against DPR Korea. Of course, we have our main goal and we need to reach this goal. We want to qualify for Jordan, so for us the two next matches will be crucial,” explained Sherali.
“DPR Korea play 4-4-2. They are very well organised and disciplined. But we have been studying them very closely. We have been watching videos of them, back home and from the matches here, so we are well prepared.”
When quizzed if his side will adopt a more defensive approach, the 33-year-old replied: “I want to emphasise that we play football, real football; we don’t believe in time-wasting or play-acting, we will play real football to show the DPR Korea team and their fans what Uzbekistan football is about.”
In the other Group B match, Korea Republic head coach Yoon Deok-yeo has called on his players to put their celebrations on hold, insisting that there is still plenty of work ahead as he looks to mastermind a dominant victory over Hong Kong to strengthen their chances of qualification.
“Hong Kong showed their ability against DPR Korea and Uzbekistan. It won’t be an easy game so we need to stick to our game plan. As I said before, every goal in this competition is important so we need to keep our focus to complete the task.
“Getting the goals is our main objective right now for the next two matches. We know the high stakes but we are confident of getting the job done.”
Despite her side now nnot being able to qualify, Hong Kong coach Chan Shuk Chi wants her side to relish the opportunity of playing world-class opponents.   
“It won’t be an easy match. Korea Republic are a very organised team with many professionals, playing in either local or overseas leagues. As a unit, they are creative and aggressive and individually their players have excellent technique. 
“I have seen an improvement in our players with each match, and I want to see us continue developing on Sunday. We can only improve if we play against the better teams and Korea Republic are one of the best teams in the world.”
Photos: DPR Korea Football Association

http://www.the-afc.com/womens-asian-cup-2018/race-to-reach-jordan-2018-heating-up-in-group-b


CAPACITY CROWD WITNESSES HISTORIC DPR KOREA - KOREA REPUBLIC MATCH



Pyongyang: A capacity 42,500 fans filled the Kim Il Sung Stadium, in Pyongyang on Friday for the historic 1-1 draw between DPR Korea and Korea Republic in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Jordan 2018 Group B qualifier.
While matches between the two neighbouring countries tend to generate world-wide interest, this was the first time in history the two women sides played in DPR Korea. Adding to the mix, the Group B tie was made even more significant with a coveted place among Asia’s elite in the Women’s Asian Cup Jordan 2018 on the line.
“There was no way I was going to miss this match. For us here in DPR Korea, this was one of the biggest matches in our history,” said 72-year-old, Kim-ho, a lifelong DPR Korea fan.
“I have three great memories of DPR Korea football. The first was the 1966 FIFA World Cup, the other was the 2010 FIFA World Cup when our men’s team qualified, and the last was when our women’s team beat Korea Republic in the East Asian Games in 2013. Tonight may not be a World Cup, it is just a qualifier for the Asian Cup, but I have another great memory right here in Pyongyang.”
The Local Organising Committee (LOC), formed largely by DPR Korea Football Association administrators, government officials, local specialists and volunteers, were pleased with the organisation of the high-profile match. Yu Yong-mok, Local General Coordinator for the Group B qualifiers attributed the LOC’s success to the close integration of efforts between the various standing committees, which include security, match operations and spectator management.
“We wanted to host the qualifiers for two reasons. Firstly, the people in our country love their football so these qualifiers give them an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of national team. Secondly, we want to continue to develop football in our country and the qualifiers help to strengthen our national team.
“Working together, I believe that we can be proud with how we have managed the qualifiers so far, but as in all things, I believe we will keep improving as the competition continues.” 
With the just the solitary spot guaranteeing qualification, the media frenzy was also evident in the Korea Republic, with nearly a dozen media representatives flying across the border to report on the match.
“It has been 27 years since DPR Korea and Korea Republic last played here but back then it was more of friendly match between the men’s team. It is possible that this was the first international or official match between the two countries, said Jeon Hyeonjin, a reporter from Korea Republic news agency Munhwa Ilbo, who travelled to Pyongyang with a photographer.
“Back home in Korea Republic, there is also an ice-hockey women’s match taking place against DPR Korea so it is fitting that this match is taking place here.”
There is little doubt the rivalry between the two sides added to the sheer quality and intensity over the 90 minutes, but there was also an immense sense of respect shared between the two teams as they exchanged pleasantries and handshakes shortly after the final whistle.
Although the fixture ended in a stalemate, the historic encounter will forever be remembered as the night when the world was spellbound by the women’s game in Asia, made possible by the ever-improving platform the AFC’s competitions presents to prepare the continent’s best to grace the biggest stages.  
Photo: DPR Korea Football Association

http://www.the-afc.com/womens-asian-cup-2018/capacity-crowd-witnesses-historic-dpr-korea-korea-republic-match

03 April 2017

AFC Women's Asian Cup qualifiers : DPR Korea 8-0 India











AFC WOMEN'S ASIAN CUP QUALIFIERS MD1: GROUP B PREVIEW

Pyongyang: With a trophy cabinet few in the continent can match, Group B hosts DPR Korea enter their opening AFC Women’s Asian Cup Jordan 2018 qualifier against India on Monday as favourites, but head coach Kim Kwang-min has cautioned his charges to approach the South Asians with the same focus and discipline that has seen his side emerge as a dominant force on the world stage.
“It is very important for us to have a good start when we play India. We must admit that we have little information about them so it is crucial to prepare well and play at our best. We have set our sights on qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 in France and we need a good result against India to have the assurance that we can succeed in this qualifying campaign," said Kim. 
Meanwhile, India’s head coach Sajid Yousuf Dar is conscientious of the threat posed by DPR Korea and is hoping his side’s team spirit will transform their stellar regional form into greater success on the continental stage in Pyongyang. 
“It will be an uphill battle to face the hosts in the first match. They are one of the best teams in Asia and they are very good going forward and equally sound at the back," declared the former All India Football Federation  (AIFF) youth coach, who guided India’s women’s side to gold at the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Women's Championship and the South Asian Games last year.
“It will be a challenge for our players, but we are working hard and improving on the technical aspects of our game to overcome the challenge. On video, DPR Korea have a solid defence and a fluent attack. We aim to strengthen our ability to play as a team and focus less on individual skill to give them a good fight,” added the 42-year-old Kashmiri native. 
In the other Group B match, Hong Kong will take on Uzbekistan with both teams looking to make a strong start in a formidable group which also includes heavyweights Korea Republic. Neither side has appeared in the finals of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup since the introduction of the qualifiers phase in 2006, but Hong Kong coach Chan Shuk Chi believes her side can gain an early advantage after carefully studying her opponents. 
“Uzbekistan are physically a very strong side. They are especially aggressive in pressing when we have the ball so we will have to be compact with our approach, particularly in defence and look to break on the counter attack,” explained coach Chan who recalled vividly their previous encounter against Uzbekistan in the qualifiers for the 2014 Rio Olympics.
“They deploy a very direct style by playing long balls and we will try to close them down quickly to prevent any long passes behind our back line.”
Equally eager to establish a quick foothold in the group, Uzbekistan coach Babakulov Sherali is adamant his side is well positioned to collect all three points against his East Asians opponents. “Hong Kong are a team we know very well. We have played many times over the years from the age-group levels to the senior team. We have won almost all our previous encounters with them. Tomorrow’s match is no different, we are very confident we can do well against them,” said the 33-year-old. 
Matchday One
April 3, 2017, Monday
Group B
DPR Korea v India

Kick-off: 1500hrs
Venue: Kim Il Sung Stadium, Pyongyang
Hong Kong v Uzbekistan
Kick-off: 1800hrs
Venue: Kim Il Sung Stadium, Pyongyang

http://www.the-afc.com/womens-asian-cup-2018/afc-womens-asian-cup-qualifiers-md1-group-b-preview

17 March 2017

AFC U-23 CHAMPIONSHIP 2018 HOPEFULS LEARN THEIR OPPONENTS



uala Lumpur: Forty AFC U-23 Championship China 2018 hopefuls discovered their qualifying opponents during the stage's official draw at AFC House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Friday.
The ten group winners and five best second-placed teams among all the groups will advance to the finals. The qualifiers will take place from July 19 to 23, 2017 in the respective host countries which are Kyrgyz Republic, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Palestine, Myanmar, DPR Korea, Thailand and China PR.
Although directly qualified as the finals host, China PR have expressed interest to participate in the qualifying stage. Therefore, if China PR finish top of their group or finish among the five best second-placed teams, the next (sixth) second-placed team will qualify to the final stage of the competition in January, 2018.
WEST Zone (West + South + Central)
Group A
A1. ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
A2. OMAN
A3. KYRGYZ REPUBLIC (host)
A4. SRI LANKA
Group B
B1. IRAQ
B2. SAUDI ARABIA (host)
B3. BAHRAIN
B4. AFGHANISTAN
Group C
C1. QATAR (host)
C2. SYRIA
C3. INDIA
C4. TURKMENISTAN
Group D
D1. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (host)
D2. UZBEKISTAN
D3. LEBANON
D4. NEPAL
Group E
E1. JORDAN
E2. TAJIKISTAN
E3. PALESTINE (host)
E4. BANGLADESH
EAST Zone (East + ASEAN)
Group F
F1. AUSTRALIA
F2. MYANMAR (host)
F3. SINGAPORE
F4. BRUNEI DARUSSALAM
Group G
G1. DPR KOREA (host)
G2. LAOS
G3. CHINESE TAIPEI
G4. HONG KONG
Group H
H1. THAILAND (host)
H2. INDONESIA
H3. MALAYSIA
H4. MONGOLIA
Group I
I1. KOREA REPUBLIC
I2. VIETNAM (host)
I3. TIMOR-LESTE
I4. MACAU
Group J
J1. JAPAN
J2. CHINA PR (host)
J3. CAMBODIA
J4. PHILIPPINES

DPR KOREA – MALAYSIA AFC ASIAN CUP QUALIFIER TO TAKE PLACE ON JUNE 8

Kuala Lumpur: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced on Wednesday at its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur that the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Final Qualifying Round match between DPR Korea and Malaysia, originally scheduled for March 28, 2017 in Pyongyang, will now take place on June 8, 2017. 
Following the AFC Competitions Committee’s decision to postpone the match on March 10, the AFC has since written to DPR Korea Football Association on March 13 asking it to nominate a neutral venue by April 14, in the event the bilateral diplomatic relations between the two countries have not returned to normal.
Should the match be played in a neutral venue, the match between Malaysia and DPR Korea scheduled for November 14, 2017 in Malaysia will also be played at a neutral venue to preserve sporting values and the spirit of fair play. 
AFC General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John presented the AFC’s match competition principles and the decision-making process, which led to the postponement of the match. 
He said: “The match has now been confirmed to take place on June 8, 2017, taking into consideration that the first match must be played before the second match day on June 13, 2017 to fulfil the match sequence principle, and the available FIFA Match Days in the AFC Calendar of Competitions 2017.”

http://www.the-afc.com/media-releases/dpr-korea-%E2%80%93-malaysia-afc-asian-cup-qualifier-to-take-place-on-june-8

15 March 2017

AFC POSTPONES DPR KOREA AND MALAYSIA MATCH


Kuala Lumpur: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Competitions Committee have on Friday decided to postpone the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Final Round Qualifier between DPR Korea and Malaysia.
The match was scheduled to be played in the DPR Korea capital Pyongyang on March 28, 2017 but the AFC Competitions Committee have taken the decision to postpone the tie after escalating diplomatic tension between the Governments of DPR Korea and Malaysia.
A new date for the game will be announced in due course.

14 March 2017

AFC CUP 2017 - GROUP I: 4.25 SC 6-0 ERCHIM FC

Pyongyang: In the battle of the AFC Cup debutants visitors Erchim FC were hit for six as 4.25 SC striker Kim Yu-song netted five goals in a 6-0 rout at May Day Stadium on Tuesday.
Four of Kim’s goals came in the first half in a little over 30 minutes as the DPR Korea-side opened Group I in explosive fashion with the Mongolian Premier League champions struggling to cope in their 2017 AFC Cup opener.
Kim added his and 4.25’s fifth just before the hour mark, and then substitute Om Chol-song added the final goal of the night with 13 minutes remaining as the DPR Koreans enjoyed a fine start to life in the continental competition.

http://www.the-afc.com/afc-cup-2017/match-report/competition/821/season/2017/matchid/906696

05 February 2017

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

Schedule & Results:
14-03-2017 16:00
16:00
    
4.25 SC (PRK)ERCHIM FC (MNG)
Venue: May Day Stadium, Pyongyang

04-04-2017 14:00
14:00
    
ERCHIM FC (MNG)KIGWANCHA SC (PRK)
Venue: Football Centre MFF, Ulaanbaatar

18-04-2017 16:00
16:00
    
4.25 SC (PRK)KIGWANCHA SC (PRK)
Venue: May Day Stadium, Pyongyang

03-05-2017 15:00
15:00
    
KIGWANCHA SC (PRK)4.25 SC (PRK)
Venue: Kim II Sung Stadium, Pyongyang

17-05-2017 14:00
14:00
    
ERCHIM FC (MNG)4.25 SC (PRK)
Venue: Football Centre MFF, Ulaanbaatar

31-05-2017 15:00
15:00
    
KIGWANCHA SC (PRK)ERCHIM FC (MNG)
Venue: Kim II Sung Stadium, Pyongyang

DPR KOREA AND THE DOMINO EFFECT




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

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