North Korea’s squad for the Asian Cup was announced on Wednesday as the secretive country looks to build on its recent Asian success.
The roster, released by the Asian Football Confederation, features just 22 names for Chollima – one less than the official limit of 23, making the list reminiscent of their 2010 World Cup
Vegalta Sendai midfielder Ryang Yong Gi, who will turn 33 just three days before the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup winners play Uzbekistan on January 10, will be the oldest player on the squad. He is joined by fellow J-Leaguer Ri Yong Jik, who next season will play in the midfield of J2 outfit V. Varen Nagasaki.
Striker Pak Kwang Ryong of Vaduz and FC Wil’s standout defender of the 2010 World Cup Cha Jong Hyok compose the remainder of the side’s foreign-based contingent.
Of the 18 domestic-based players, eight hail from Rimyongsu FC, who were runners-up in the 10th and last AFC President’s Cup held earlier this year.
The announcement closes a successful year for North Korea, who in 2014 won the AFC Under-16 Championship, were runners-up in the AFC Under-19 Championship and Asian Games, and qualified for 2015’s East Asian Cup.
After spending the New Year in China, Jo Tong Sop’s men are scheduled to arrive in Sydney on January 2. The reclusive nation are yet to publicly announce where they will be based before or during the Asian Cup, where they will face Uzbekistan, China and Saudi Arabia in Group B.
North Korea squad for Asian Cup 2015
Ri Myong Guk (Pyongyang FC)
Ri Kwang Il (4.25 FC)
Ju Kwang Min (Rimyongsu FC)
Ri Chang Ho (Rimyongsu FC)
Jang Song Hyok (Rimyongsu FC)
Jon Kwang Ik (Amroksang FC)
Han Song Hyok (Rimyongsu FC)
Ro Hak Su (Rimyongsu FC)
Sim Hyon Jin (4.25 FC)
Jang Kuk Chol (Hwaebul FC)
Cha Jong Hyok (FC Wil / Switzerland)
Ri Sang Chol (Rimyongsu FC)
Ryang Yong Gi (Vegalta Sendai / Japan)
Pam Song Chol (Rimyongsu FC)
Jong Il Gwan (Rimyongsu FC)
Ri Yong Jik (V. Varen Nagasaki / Japan)
O Hyok Chol (4.25 FC)
Pak Kwang Ryong (Vaduz / Switzerland)
Om Chol Song (4.25 FC)
Kye Song Hyok (4.25 FC)
So Hyon Uk (4.25 FC)
Choe Won (Hwaebul FC)