(Big hat tip to Werner who located this information) For some time now now, DPRK football players have been earning hard currency and training with European pro-football teams.
- Choe Myong Ho (in Russian: Tsoi Min Ho) is playing for the Russian Premier League’s team Krylia Sovetov Samara–which has a player from both North and South Korea (read more here)
- Hong Yong Jo is playing for Russia’s Rostov:
Hong plays his club football at FC Rostov in the Russian First Division, following a short spell with Serbian outfit FK Bezanija. Unlike those days at his first club April 25 of Pyongyang, for whom he scored 41 goals in four seasons, Hong has had to fight for his place in the European leagues while frequently flying back home to join the national team for their South Africa 2010 qualifiers. The time change and distance has to cover is considerably greater than those of team-mates An Yong Hak or Jong Tae Se, who ply their trade in Korea Republic and Japan respectively.
There has, in fact, been signs of fatigue: Hong was uncharacteristically unimpressive during the UAE game and he was replaced in the 71st minute. His substitute Kim Kum Il made an instant impact with a neat through ball that resulted in Korea DPR’s opening goal. But it took only four days for Hong to redeem himself, winning and converting a crucial penalty against Korea Republic (FIFA.com).
- Pak Chol Ryong and Kim Kuk Jin are playing for FC Concordia Basel (2nd Swiss division). Read more in German here.
Additionally, two DPRK women football players are training with the FFC Turbine Potsdam (a leading German women’s team from Potsdam). The players, Jon Myong Hwa and Kim Un Hyang, are both from the 2008 FIFA women’s championship team. The managers of the German football club said that they did not actively seek out the North Korean players, but rather they were approached by a North Korean who has been living in Cologne for several years who asked Potsdam to invite the women players to train with them. (Read more in German here).
Also, the DPRK men’s national team is attending a training camp in Switzerland right now. (Read more in German here). Last week they played a friendly match against FC Concordia Basel (2nd division) and lost (Read more in German here)