Monthly Archives: gennaio 2012

17 febbraio: amichevole RPDC-Kuwait

Il 17 febbraio prossimo, si incontreranno a Changsa, in Cina, le nazionali di RPDC e Kuwait per una partita amichevole.

I kuwaitiani si recheranno in Cina l’11 febbraio per uno stage di allenamento e incontreranno la nazionale cinese il 22 febbraio e contro la SudCorea il 29 febbraio.

L’amichevole rientra nel piano di allenamento in vista dell’AFC Challenge Cup, che partirà in marzo nel Nepal.

Ricordiamo inoltre che il 29 febbraio si giocherà l’ultima, inutile, sfida contro il Tajikistan per le qualificazioni mondiali.



Jong Tae-Se looks back on a frustrating but revealing 2011

Jong Tae-Se looks back on a frustrating but revealing 2011

By Jong Tae-Se
Translation by Dan Orlowitz

When I look back, 2011 was an incredibly difficult year. It began with the Asian Cup, and then we were eliminated from World Cup qualifying in the third round. I suffered a bad injury to my neck, and needed to have my ankle scoped. Then for a long time there was the emotional strain of a long scoreless run.

I’ve never gone without a goal for as long as this, so it was very tough. In particular, getting eliminated in World Cup qualifying had a huge impact on me; it was like all the light disappeared from my life. Even though we won against Japan [in Pyongyang], it didn’t matter much in the end.

To be completely honest, I wanted to advance to the final round of qualifying along with Japan. National team matches have a huge effect on me. They also teach me things about myself. Matches like the World Cup finals push you to your emotional limit when you play, reveal your strong and weak points … it’s just like the Hyperbolic Time Chamber in [popular Japanese animation] DragonBall. I don’t know whether or not I’ll be called up again, but as a player I want to play for the national team as long as possible.

There were also good things this year. After we changed managers and my knee healed I had more chances to play, I had my first hat-trick in Germany, and I was able to play against Bayern Munich. In the charity match that Park Ji-Sung held in Vietnam I was able to play with several legendary Japanese players, members of the South Korean national team, and even Jaejoong of [famous South Korean pop group] TXVQ. I strongly realised that I want to play on a stage as big as them someday.

But reality isn’t as optimistic, and overall it was a year full of trials and tribulations. In the first half of 2011 I didn’t want to take responsibility for my form, and sometimes I complained or blamed my troubles on my team-mates or my manager. But I realised that I couldn’t keep thinking like that, and that I couldn’t just run away when I wanted to give up. In the last half or the year I met my troubles head-on.

Although I scored a hat-trick, I didn’t accomplish too much after that. Despite that, thanks to my manager I was able to appear in most of our matches, and after taking time during the holiday break I’m feeling recharged.

As a player there’s nothing better than playing in a match. During the break I’ve had lots of delicious food and drinks, slept a lot, talked with friends, laughed hard while watching TV … and after spending time like this, I’m extremely grateful that I even had an opportunity to suffer all of those hardships this year.

North Korea can’t appear in the 2014 World Cup, so from now on I’ll focus on my club team for a few years, and work hard to raise my value on the pitch. I’ve been with Bochum for a year and a half, so when I go back to Germany it feels like I’m coming home. The environment, from my team-mates to the city, is a great place to live and play in. It upsets me when I come back to Japan and everyone speaks ill of Bochum. It’s my responsibility for not helping my team to win, but it’s upsetting to hear people blame my friends and team-mates.

To help Bochum earn promotion this season, I want to play harder and push myself further. Fans in Japan haven’t gotten much good news lately, but this year I want to help bring them some sunshine. I feel as energised as I was in college, and I feel like I’m still walking on the road to glory.

This is the latest in a monthly series of journals written by Bochum and North Korean striker Jong Tae-Se exclusively for You can read previous editions here, here and here

Eastern promise: Ten to watch in 2012

Eastern promise: Ten to watch in 2012

Hiroshi Kiyotake (Japan)

A visitor to Japan could be forgiven for thinking that tucked in among the Nissan and Toyota factories there must be a technically-minded midfielder production line somewhere. If you are such a player then it is not easy to stand out from the crowd in the Land of the Rising Sun but Kiyotake has what it takes to follow in the slipstream of models such as Shinsuke Nakamura and Shinji Kagawa and be successfully exported to Europe. Just 22, the Cerezo Osaka star has already helped fans of the Kansai club forget Kagawa but they are resigned to losing him sooner or later. He always seems to have time on the ball and scores, creates and breaks up attacks – what’s not to like?

Shin Young-Rok (South Korea)

The 24-year-old is not likely to be making a big move to the English Premier League or the Bundesliga anytime soon, but the spiky striker will be delighted with any kind of playing time at all – anywhere. It would be cause for national celebration if he did so. Due to heart problems, Shin collapsed during a K-League match for Jeju United in May and only swift medical attention saved his life. He was in a coma for 50 days and only made it out of hospital in September. Shin, who helped Suwon win the 2008 K-League title, has said repeatedly that he wants to play again and few doubt his determination. It would be really something if he made it in 2012.

Yu Hanchao (China)

Liaoning used to be a big club in China but those days, the ones before Chinese Super League clubs were outmuscling European giants in the transfer market, are history. Now the northerners play a very distant second fiddle to the new moneybags outfits in the south and, as such, they will struggle to hold on to the left winger who scores goals – 12 in 2011 – and makes them. His talents helped the team, in only their second season back in the big time, finish third to qualify for the 2012 Asian Champions League – ending a wait for continental competition dating back to 1995. That may just make the 24 year-old stay for a while longer and fans are praying that he does.

Fahad Al-Enezi (Kuwait)

The sight of the 23-year-old’s trademark headband provokes fear among full-backs all over West Asia. Laidback off the pitch, the Kuwaiti Aaron Lennon is like lightning on it – at times too fast for the rest of his team-mates at Jeddah giants Al-Ittihad. The Saudi-based speedster doesn’t care on which wing he plays, he just wants to run at defenders. A succession of coaches have pointed out that Al-Enezi needs to score more goals and, if he could improve that part of his game and be a little more aware of his surroundings when he starts to burn that pace of his, he really would be a fearsome opponent.

Ibrahim Ghaleb (Saudi Arabia)

A composed defensive midfielder who plays with an assurance that belies his 20 years, Ghaleb has already caught the attention of clubs in Spain and France who will have to work hard to convince Al Nassr to let him go. Hardworking, with an eye for a pass and an ability to start attacks that almost matches his more destructive talents, the Saudi Arabia international has a long and fruitful career ahead. Few of his compatriots have made the move abroad but Ghaleb looks to be different.

Pak Song-Chol (North Korea)

There is a promising crop of young players coming through the system in North Korea with a number playing for the country’s leading club April 25. Pak is 20 and nicknamed “the dagger” due to his ability to penetrate defences. A product of Pyongyang’s Central School of Physical Education, Pak has the skills to build quite a reputation at home and overseas – not easy as two players with the exact same name have appeared for the national team in recent years. As active on the pitch as he is shy off it, Pak has great awareness in the penalty area and is an instinctive finisher.

Ali Ashfaq (Maldives)

If Ashfaq was Indian, he would already have been offered trials and contracts all over Europe but while scouts and chief executives from Europe may holiday in the Maldives, they are much more interested in breaking into the huge and ever-growing market to the north. Bangladesh coach Nikolai Ilievski called the prolific marksman the best player at the South Asian Cup last month and he has been recognised as one of the best, if not the number one, striker in a region that accounts for almost a quarter of the world’s population. A huge star at home, in a country better at football than you may think, ‘The Man of Steel’ deserves a bigger stage to show his unquenchable thirst for goals. Previous interest from Benfica didn’t materialise into anything concrete, but 26-year-old Ashfaq is strong with either foot, boasts impressive balance and close control, remains keen, sharp and single-minded in the penalty area and averages a goal every other game for his country.

Amer Shafia (Jordan)

Shafia is perhaps the best goalkeeper playing in Asia at the moment and the success of Ali Al-Habsi in the English Premier League has opened doors for other goalkeepers from the western reaches of the continent. Shafia hasn’t shown much interest in pursuing such a move but he is certainly capable of doing so. It is his great form in recent times that has helped Jordan become the most improved national team in Asia. The 30-year-old is as acrobatic as the best of them but it is his ability to organise the backline that really helped Jordan reach the quarter-final of the Asian Cup last January and then stroll into the final round of qualification for the 2014 World Cup a few months later.

Andik Vermansyah (Indonesia)

He swapped shirts with David Beckham and received words of praise from the superstar just a few weeks ago and, if rumours are to be believed, the 23-year-old could soon be mixing with such lofty company on a more regular basis – his club chairman at Persebaya 1927 has talked of overtures from the likes of Benfica and AC Milan. He could be accused of simply looking to drive up any potential transfer fee but, with growing European interest in Indonesian football, such moves for Vermansyah are not as unlikely as they may seem. The attack-minded midfielder is slight and skilful and has been called the Indonesian Messi. That may be unimaginative and predictable but, when he has the ball at his feet, Vermansyah is anything but.

Fareez Farhan (Singapore)

One European coach with extensive experience in South-East Asia recently said that Farhan is the most talented 16-year old that he has ever seen in the region. Now 17, there are hopes in the city state that the speedy striker can become a genuine star along with an acceptance that he may need to leave Gombak United and the S-League in order to do so. He has already impressed at a higher level, training with Dinamo Zagreb with an offer of a longer stay, although he was unable to accept due to FIFA regulations. Farhan is already the S-League’s youngest ever player but wants to go on making history at home and selection for the Under-21 team is a good start.

Park Won-soon suggests Seoul-Pyongyang soccer match and orchestra performance

Park Won-soon suggests Seoul-Pyongyang soccer match and orchestra performance
Seoul mayor’s address reminds that events between North and South can enhance cooperation and bring peace

By Park Ki-yong

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon made a formal proposal to the South Korean government and North Korean authorities to revive the “Gyeong-Pyong match”, a football event organized by Koreans during the Japanese occupation, and to allow the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra to perform in Pyongyang. Park said he hoped these events would contribute to the establishment of peace between North and South.

In a New Year’s address Saturday, Park said, “The strained state of inter-Korean relations and the unpredictable situation in North Korea represent an issue that is directly linked with balanced development in Seoul and the lives of Seoul’s citizens.”

“The city wants to do something, however small, to help relieve the tensions and establish peace,” he added.

The Gyeong-Pyong football event began in 1929 with a match at Seoul’s Hwimun High School’s stadium between a Gyeongseong team consisting primarily of Gyeongseong Middle School players and a Pyongyang team made up mainly of Soongsil School players. Gyeongseong is an old name for Seoul. The first event was met with enthusiasm as over 7,000 people came to watch over the three days it was going on.

The last event was organized in Seoul in March 1946 before the battle disappeared into history with the entrenchment of the peninsula’s division. Park’s reference to a Pyongyang performance by the Seoul Philharmonic was a reference to a proposal made by that orchestra’s artistic director, Chung Myung-whun, during a September 2011 visit to the North Korean capital. At the time, Chung suggested the organizing of a joint performance by symphony orchestras from the North and South.

Ri Myong-Hun: chi è il Soldato Gigante di Pyongyang?

Ri Myong-Hun: chi è il Soldato Gigante di Pyongyang?

Marco Bagozzi, per Stato & Potenza

Per la solita disinformazione occidentale è la prova provata che la censura della Corea Popolare ha mistificato le fotografie del funerale di Kim Jong-Il, per “moltiplicare” la folla che rendeva omaggio al Leader. Una semplice pseudo-verità: un “soldato gigante” in mezzo ai militari schierati è la gaffe del censore nordcoreano che non sa usare bene Photoshop, senza spiegarci perché è enorme solo una persona e non tutta la fila di soldati. Un misto tra disinformazione, incompetenza e malafede, insomma. Soprattutto considerando che la foto non è timbrata Korean Central National Agency, l’agenzia di stampa ufficiale, ma arriva dal servizio dell’Associated Press. Una bufala che, naturalmente, si smonta dopo pochi minuti: basta una breve ricerca su google per scoprire che il “Soldato Gigante” non è un errore, un fotomontaggio mal riuscito o, ancora più assurdo, “tre bambini uno sopra l’altro” (come ipotizzato dal giornale americano The Atlantic).
Il “Soldato Gigante” è Ri Myong-Hun, totem della pallacanestro del paese socialista, stella assoluta dello sport asiatico negli anni 90. E’ considerato uno degli uomini più alti della terra, con i suoi 2 metri e 35 centimetri.
Nato a Pyongyang il 14 settembre 1967, ha giocato, naturalmente, da pivot. Dominante a livello di basket asiatico è uno dei primi estremo orientali a cercare la fortuna nel basket pro americano, che in quegli anni fortemente interessato ai centri di statura imponente (sbarcano in america il sudanese Manute Bol, e il rumeno George Muresan, entrambi 231 cm).
Esplode a livello internazionale durante i Giochi Asiatici Pechino: segna 32 punti nella vittoria contro l’Arabia Saudita (84-82), nel girone di semifinale 34 punti nella sconfitta contro le Filippine (finale 82-98), 38 punti nella sconfitta contro la Cina (120-87) e 34 nella finale settimo-ottavo posto contro l’Iran (sconfitta 88-71)
Nel 1991 Ri guida la squadra coreana al quinto posto della  ABC Championship di Koba, dopo aver superato l’Iran 84 a 97 nella finalina.
Nel 1993 guida la nazionale coreana allo storico secondo posto dei Campionati Asiatici in Indonesia. In finale la RPDC è superata dalla Cina, per 72 a 93. Nella sfida di qualificazione contro l’Iran (vittoria per 88 a 69, il 20 novembre 1993) mette a segno 51 punti, record assoluto dei Campionati Asiatici di tutti i tempi.
Nel 1996, durante il torneo amichevole di Taiwan, Jones Cup, segna 27 punti contro una squadra statunitense di college. Russel Turner, della Wake Forest University è impressionato da Ri “Giocarci contro e’ impossibile, e’ come andare a canestro cercando di superare un albero. E in piu’ Ri e’ dotato: schiaccia senza neppure saltare”.
Nel maggio del 1997, in accordo con il governo di Pyongyang (come hanno più volte ricordato i giornalisti, il Caro Leader Kim Jong-Il era grande appassionato di basket), sbarca in Canada, accolto dai favorevoli pareri degli scout, tra cui il decano degli allenatori canadesi Jack Donohue, e accompagnato dalle “notizie” sulla sua presunta diserzione, smentite dal suo portavoce Peter McAskile: “Il ragazzo ha tutte le carte in regola, visto compreso. I governi canadese e nordcoreano lavorano assieme da anni. Tutto a posto. Ora cerchiamo di risolvere il problema anche con gli Usa”. Si allena anche con la leggenda Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Per tutti diventa Micheal Ri, in “onore” del suo cestista favorito Michael Jordan. In America è ricordato anche come “Chopstick”, le bacchette kuàizi tipiche della tradizione culinaria orientale. Alla CNN Ri dichiara: “Sono un grande uomo. Voglio testare le mie capacità. Non mi interessa il denaro o la politica. Il Generale Kim Jong-Il vuole vedermi giocare nella NBA, ma grazie a lui vivo una vita molto bella anche a Pyongyang, anche senza un contratto da professionista”. Durante il periodo di allenamento in Canada Ri fa segnare incredibili miglioramenti atletici: il grasso corporeo passa dal 20 al 15 per cento. Il suo peso aumento da 108 a 127 chilogrammi. La sua capacità di salto aumenta da 30 a 40 centimetri.
Cerca un ingaggio nell’NBA, ma la legge federale USA Trade with Enemy Act, impedisce al coreano di essere contratualizzato da squadre americane.
Fallita la possibilità di sbarcare nel basket USA, Ri ritorna in Patria.
Michael Coyne, l’agente che ha cercato di portare Ri in NBA, ha dichiarato: “Era potenzialmente più forte di Yao Ming. Era una macchina dalla linea dei tre punti. Dai 4 metri poteva girarsi e tirare sopra tutti. Penso che la Corea del Nord poteva usare il ragazzo per farsi della pubblicità, per dimostrare che i coreani sono persone normali. E avrebbe funzionato perché Michael era un ragazzo perfetto per mostrare questo. Era un grande lavoratore e aveva un grande carisma”.
Il 31 maggio del 1998, in una storica partita a Pyongyang, si scontrano la nazionale coreana e una squadra statunitense di college. Finisce 127-83 per i coreani, grazie ad ottime prestazioni di Ri e Pak Chol-Jong.
Dopo la partita Jang Ung, segretario del comitato olimpico coreano, dichiara che tre squadre dell’NBA sono interessate a Ri: Miami, Toronto e New Jersey. La NBA sembra propensa a rilasciare il permesso per il tesseramento, a condizione che nessuna percentuale del suo compenso fosse spedita in Corea. Ma un incidente stradale che ha coinvolto Ri, causandogli un infortunio, fa saltare la trattativa.
Nel 1999 partecipa ad due simboliche Partite della Riunificazione tra squadre miste nord- e sud- coreane. Nella sfida di Seul segna 26 punti in 21 minuti.
Ri Myong-Hun è uno degli idoli di infanzia del centro cinese Yao Ming, che ricorda di averlo visto giocare da giovanissimo.
Ai Giochi Asiatici di Pusan (Sudcorea) del 2002 gli appassionati di pallacanestro sognano la sfida tra il 35 enne centro coreano e la fresca prima scelta NBA in semifinale. Ma, nonostante, i 23 punti e 17 rimbalzi di Ri, la RPDC non riesce a superare il Kazakhstan nel girone eliminatorio e viene eliminata dal torneo.
Ma l’impresa più clamorosa di Ri e della nazionale coreana è dell’anno successivo: l’8 dicembre 2003, a Catania, nell’ambito dei Campionati Mondiali Militari, centrano un’epica vittoria contro gli Stati Uniti, con il risultato di 101 a 105. I coreani centreranno il quinto posto finale, dopo aver superato la Croazia nella finalina.
Ri è inoltre il recordman di punteggio della nazionale della Corea Popolare: nel maggio 1998 segna 55 punti in una partita contro la Cina.
Ri fa parte dell’esercito coreano ed è considerato un eroe nel suo paese.

L’editoriale congiungo di inizio anno chiede di promuovere lo sviluppo dello sport

L’editoriale congiungo di inizio anno indica una via per la promuozione e  lo sviluppo dello sport

L’editoriale del nuovo anno richiama l’attenzione sull’entusiasmo per lo sport attraverso il rafforzamenteo dell’interesse pubblico per la cultura fisica e sportiva, rendendoli parte della vita quotidiana delle persone.

L’appello è motivato dalla volontà di rendere il paese una potenza calcisitica e sportiva, incoraggiando tutti a prendere parte ad addività sportive in modo da promuovere sportivi sempre competenti.

Nell’anno passato gli sportivi coreani hanno ottenuto grandi prestazioni, generando interesse nel pubblico.

Gli atleti della RPDC hanno centrato medaglie d’oro nel sollevamento pesi, lotta, tiro, maratona, boxe, atletica leggera.

I ragazzi delle squadre giovanili coreane hanno ottenuto la qualificazione per i tornei asiatici under-16 e under-19 e le ragazze hanno ottenuto la qualificazione per le Olimpiadi 2012 e i mondiali under-20.

Il Paese ha vinto 4 trofei, 19 medaglie d’oro, 3 argenti e 3 bronzi ed è arrivato primo nel 17esimo Mondiale ITF di Taekwon-do che si è svolto a settemebe a Pyongyang.


Extracalcio: 2003: Ri Myong Hun stende gli USA!

In vena di notizie sensazionalistiche, i media nazionali e internazionali ci hanno presentato in tutte le salse la fantasmagorica storia del “Soldato Gigante”, inopportuna gaffe dei “censori di regime” durante il funerale di Kim Jong Il.

In realtà, quel “Soldato Gigante” non è altri che Ri Myong-Hun, totem del basket della Corea Popolare, uno degli uomini più alti della Terra con i suoi 2 metri e 35 centimetri.

L’8 dicembre 2003, Ri è stato protagonista con la nazionale militare della RPDC di un’impresa straordinaria: ai giochi militari di Catania ha steso, con il risultato di 101 a 105, la nazionale americana.

Nel torneo la RPDC arriverà poi quinta. Gli americani ottavi.

Qui, il video di quella sfida: