North Korea intend to develop players better than Lionel Messi
North Korea might be labelled as a country with little or no freedom of choice, but they certainly possess a huge ocean of optimism as they are looking to create players who would put even the likes of Lionel Messi to shame.
The Pyongyang International Football School was opened back in 2013 with superb infrastructure and an astonishing amount of hope of creating legendary players, despite being under strict sanctions and restrictions.
However, a coach of the academy, Ri Yu-Il, stated to reporters that the ultimate target of the facility is to provide the country with top class players who could match shoulders with the Argentina captain.
He said: “We are training our students to become super-talented players who can surpass the skills of people like Lionel Messi.”
He also added that their initial target is to dominate Asia before reaching the final destination of global supremacy.
"For now, I think we should dominate Asia and, in the near future, I hope that we will achieve global dominance.”
North Korea are 126th in the FIFA rankings, right between Armenia and Ethiopia. They might hate South Korea with a passion, but even they envy their bitter rivals’ place in the world of football and this could be one of the reasons for their pursuit of brilliance.
However, if their Norwegian-born national team manager, Jorn Anderson, is to be believed, the plan of producing players that surpass the calibre of the Barcelona talisman may be overly optimistic. Despite that, the national team coach does insist that if the barriers of travelling abroad to play football are relieved, the players would improve leaps and bounds.
While Jorn Anderson doesn’t think that a player of the Barcelona number 10’s calibre could be produced, he does state that players who could improve Asian football could be woven.
He told AFP: "No, I don't think they can make a Lionel Messi, but I think they can make good players for Asia.”
He then went on to state the current problem within the fraternity as North Korean players aren’t allowed to go abroad and showcase their talent, which makes highly difficult for them to improve.
"There are many talented players... but they always have to stay inside the country. They can't go out.
"When they are always playing inside (North Korea), it's difficult to create better players."
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