Posted by: MOIST | June 10, 2010

North Korea: The Preview

Let’s be honest here, even the North Koreans don’t know about the North Koreans so what chance do I have? At school they are taught that Kim Il-Sung, the Great Leader, the Eternal President, the Father of Juche, the Scourge of the Imperialist Running Lap Dogs Borne of the Fires of Mount Paekdu, was the first man to walk on the moon, invited the car and, best all of, invented the toaster. Combined with the fact that recent border skirmishes with the South have led to South Korean TV stopping free World Cup broadcasts over the border I think we can safely say that no matter that happens in June and July in South Africa a small, hermit nation on the Chinese border will be celebrating their all conquering football team late into the night. By candlelight, of course. And by candlelight I mean the moon. Unless that’s been designated a Capitalist Yankee Oppressor of the Masses and been banned.

But enough hilarious stereotyping and on with the preview. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (apparently they get pissy when you call them North Korea) have been drawn in the notorious group of death. Still, at least that is a concept they should be familiar with. What chance do they really have of upsetting the apple cart against Brazil, Portugal and the Ivory Coast? Apple carts probably aren’t concepts they are familiar with. Ahem.

They seem pretty confident. Jong Tae-Se, the oft described People’s Wayne Rooney, has predicted he’ll score in each of the games. His strike record for club and country is very impressive but can the rest of the team supply him with enough quality ball to beat a Brazilian defence packed with Champions League winners, a Portuguese defence packed with Ricardo Carvalho’s hair plugs and an Ivory Coast defence packed with Emmanuel Eboue? Ok, I’ll give him the last one.

The Chollima, named after a mythical winged horse (well, mythical to us but probably invented by Kim Il-Sung to them), are complete unknowns on the international stage. As Michael Church notes, they like their isolation. So can the unknown factor help them spring a surprise? Can they bring back memories of Pak Do-Ik and the boys of 1966? Would they want to visit Middlesborough? In the words of Kim Jong-Il when Hans Blix asked if he could just check round the back of the sofa for nuclear weapons, no, no and no.


1. Ri Myong-Guk (Pyongyang City) – First choice keeper who kept a vital clean sheet in last qualifying game against the Saudis. After the match, he stated “I felt like I was defending the gateway to my motherland.” His mother was then released from prison.

18. Kim Myong-Gil (Amrokgang) – The only reserve keeper thanks to the manager Kim Jong-Hun’s tomfoolery. Amrokgang is the club of the Ministry of People’s Security. Seems apt for a goalie.

20. Kim Myong-Won (Amrokgang) – A striker. Yes, a striker. Brought into to the squad as a goalie in the hope that no-one would actually notice he wasn’t. Actually, I’m surprised anyone did.


2. Cha Jong-Hyok (Amrokgang) – Apparently a right back. Hence the number 2. Old skool these DPRK lads.

3. Ri Jun-Il (Sobaeksu) – Probably a defender. But might be a striker in disguise. Who knows?

5. Ri Kwang-Chon (April 25) – A big centre back. Expect him to keep Ronaldo quiet for the 90. First 90 seconds.

8. Ji Yun-Nam (April 25) – The left back. I reckon he’ll start. He might not though.

13. Pak Chol-Jin (Amrokgang) – Not phased by having unlucky 13 on his back. That’s commitment that is.

14. Pak Nam-Chol (Amrokgang) – The least capped defender. Expect to see him on the bench a lot.

16. Nam Song-Chol (April 25) – A seasoned campaigner. Scored against Japan in 2005 so he’s a shoe in for the National Hero of the People roll call.

21. Ri Kwang-Hyok (Kyonggongop) – The only player from the Ministry of Light Industry team. Light industry? Sounds like something the bourgeoisie and other assorted class enemies are into.


4. Pak Nam-Chol (April 25) – Cheeky midfielder. His number suggests he is in the David Batty mould. Not to be trusted with penalties or Graeme Le Saux.

6. Kim Kum-Il (April 25) – Scored his only senior goal in a 2-2 game with Uzbekistan. Wikipedia records it as a win. Kim Jong-Il working overtime on that one.

11. Mun In-Guk (April 25) – April 25 is not his birthday but the club belonging to the Korean People’s Army named to celebrate Military Foundation day. A veteran of probably a lot more than just this football team.

15. Kim Yong-Jun (Pyongyang City) – Spent some time plying his trade in China before returning home. Highly capped and considered exotic. Probably.

17. Ahn Young-Hak (Omiya Ardija, Japan) – One of the Zainichi Koreans, foreign born of Korean parents, Ahn has played in Japan and South Korea. One of the old heads at 31 and brings some much needed experience to the squad.

19. Ri Chol-Myong (Pyongyang City) – I wonder if Pyongyang City is Kim Jong-Il’s favourite team?

22. Kim Kyong-Il (Rimyongsu) Did you know Rimyongsu have never won the North Korean league?

23. Pak Sung-Hyok (Sobaeksu) – Even the manager doesn’t know who this bloke is.


7. An Chol-Hyok (Rimyongsu) – Lethal against Guam. Will not be remembered after this World Cup. Will probably not be remembered after this sentence.

9. Jong Tae-Se (Kawasaki Frontale, Japan) – The main man. 41 in 102 for Kawasaki, 15 in 22 for North Korea. Another Zainichi and a class apart from the rest of the squad.

10. Hong Yong-Jo (FC Rostov, Russia) – The skipper. Has played in Serbia and is now in Russia. Doesn’t actually appear to be any good though.

12. Choe Kum-Chol (Rimyongsu) – Should at least be thankful he’s not the guy who got picked as a goalie so he might get a run out.

Manager: Kim Jong-Hun – Obviously completely mental but don’t you wish he’d gambled and picked two strikers as keepers and then watched as his only goalie broke his arm against Brazil? Guarantee that would be grown man weeping time. He’s probably spot on when he said “Perhaps there is no other team in the world who would be fighting with the same dedication to please the leader and to bring fame to their motherland.” Italy got rotten tomatoes when they returned home embarrassed in 1966, you dread to think what fate might befall these North Koreans.

Prediction: Will I be cheering for them? Hell, yes. Have I bought a North Korean top to wear? You better believe it. Will they win a game? No. Out in the group stages 4-0 to Brazil, 3-0 to Portugal and 2-1 to Ivory Coast. Go on, Jong Tae-Se, like I said, I’ll let you have that one. 2000/1 if you have faith in the Chollima’s Juche powers.



  1. It’s good to see the return of MOIST. Looking forward to hearing the story of how the Dear Leader was the first to come up with the idea of holding a World Cup.

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