North Korea’s National Football Team
23 year-old Jeong Dae Sae is fast becoming North Korea’s most famous footballer since Pak Do Ik back in 1966. Jeong, who plays for Kawaski in the J-league, is a “Zainichi Korean,” that is, a Japanese-born Korean. Jeong is not the only Zainichi Korean on the team. Ahn Young Hak, who plays for Suwon in South Korea of all places, joins him, along with Ryang Yong Gi, also from the J-league. Native-born players make up the remainder of the team’s roster. These guys honed their skills in the DPR Korea League, North Korea’s top (semi-professional) division. Notable teams include 2006 Champions Amrokang Sports Group, affiliated with the Ministry of People’s security, April 25 Sports Group, affiliated with the People’s Army, Jaebi Sports Group, affiliated with the air force, and Sinuiju Locomotive F.C.
The world will get a second look at the Chollima (“thousand-mile horse;” North Korea’s squad’s nickname) next month when they face off against the South again. Jeong is looking forward to it. According to Goal.com:
“It was a tough game [against South Korea in Chongqing on the 20th] but before the World Cup qualifier we will have lots of training in order to help us win,” Jong told reporters after the match and added. “We can certainly do so.”
Jong fired home in style from the edge of the box midway through the second half, much of which North Korea played with ten men.
“The South Korean team is tall and excellent so there were lots of times when they controlled the game so when I got one chance I did my best to score and that’s what happened,” added Jong.