Pyongyang, December 25 (KCNA) — Ri Song Gun (1950-2012) was one of the noted sportsmen in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Born into a scientist’s family, he made a signal contribution to developing the nation’s football, as a footballer and women’s football coach for more than 40 years.
During his career as a footballer, Ri played a big role in making the DPRK prove successful in many international tournaments including the Thai “King Cup” Soccer Games and was honored with the title of Merited Athlete in Juche 71 (1982).
Later, he worked as a football head coach and official, devoting his all to upgrading the women’s football of the nation. Under his direction, the DPRK team won the two consecutive Asian Women’s Football Championships, the women’s football tournament of the 14th Asian Games and the Albena Cup International Women’s Football Tournament in the years between 2001 and 2003.
In 2002 he was awarded the title of the People’s Athlete.
Ri Sun Chol, who was an assistant coach, told KCNA that Ri Song Gun had contributed to developing the women’s football of the nation.
Ri Kum Suk, Ri Jong Hui and Ra Mi Ae, former aces of the National Women’s Football Team, said that as the head coach, Ri Song Gun was very strict both in training and matches but was as good as their real fathers in life.
His team finished first in the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, which brought him the title of DPRK Labor Hero.
Ri Un Ju, Ri Song Gun’s daughter, said:
“My father loved football more than his children. He was always among footballers in playing ground, so I felt disappointed at him once.
But, growing up, I came to be proud of my father devoting himself to the nation’s football development.” -0-