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Three J-League Koreans to play for North Korea

11 May 2010 09:20

TOKYO (AFP) - J-League Kawasaki Frontale striker Jong Tae-Se, nicknamed "Asia's Wayne Rooney", will lead a contingent of three Japan-born ethnic Koreans in North Korea's World Cup squad.

The two others are also J-League players, Omiya Ardija midfielder Ahn Yong-Hak and Vegalta Sendai midfielder Ryang Yong-Gi, a group affiliated to North Korea's national football association said Tuesday.

Jong and Ahn helped the communist nation qualify for their second World Cup finals -- the first in 44 years since they upset Italy with a single-goal victory to reach the quarter-finals in England in 1966.

The trio will leave for Switzerland on May 20 to join North Korea's training camp there, the Korean Football Association in Japan said.

"I will shoot and finish whenever I get a pass," the 26-year-old Jong told the ethnic Korean daily Choson Sinbo.

"Even if I am blocked by defenders for 89 minutes, there may be one minute in which a loose ball comes. I will seize on that chance."

Jong, whose combative style has prompted South Korean media to liken him to the England and Manchester United striker, has scored 12 goals in 20 matches for North Korea since his international debut in 2007.

He was born in Nagoya as a third-generation Japan-based Korean.

"Now I am selected to fight on the stage of dreams which I have chased since my childhood," Jong said in a statement released by his J-League club. "I will fight for the country and for Kawasaki Frontale as well."

Ahn, 31, has played for North Korea since 2002 and even plied his trade in South Korea with K-League clubs Busan and Suwon.

North Korea, known for their tightly defensive football, will be taking two other foreign-based players -- Hong Yong-Jo, a striker for Russian Premier League team FC Rostov, and Kim Kuk-Jin, a midfielder for FC Wil of the second-tier Swiss league.

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