Pretoria - One of the 2010 FIFA World Cup surprise packages, Korea DPR, arrived at OR Tambo airport a short while ago, to take part in the upcoming football spectacle.
After years of misfortune, the past decade saw the revival of the nation's footballing talent. With their women's football teams running riot at all levels on the international scene, the men's side came close to qualifying for Germany 2006 before successfully negotiating the road to South Africa 2010.
"I would like to welcome Korea DPR to South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and we wish them well for their second World Cup appearance," said Local Organising Committee CEO Danny Jordaan.
Korea DPR seemingly came from nowhere to storm into the Asian Zone's final round of qualifying, where they defied the odds to take one of the continent's four automatic spots at this year's FIFA World Cup. In a sense they lived up to their long-standing reputation as Asia's surprise packages, their qualifying success marking a return to world football's top table for the first time since going all the way to the last eight in 1966.
To reach the 2010 showpiece, the team went through a grueling qualifying campaign spanning 20 months and a whopping 16 games. They made light work of Mongolia in the Asian Zone's first qualifying round, winning both home and away to earn a bye to the third round as one of the 11 highest-ranked first-round winners. Once there, they finished second in their group behind southern neighbours Korea Republic to qualify for the final round.
"It is great for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to come to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and we have a great desire for success in the tournament," said Coach Kim Jong Hun.
Jong-Hun was only ten years old when the "Chollima" made history at England 1966 and now, 43 years on, he was the man who guided them back to the pinnacle of world football.