North Korean makes solid debut in Germany

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North Korean makes solid debut in Germany


Jong Tae-se of North Korea responds to questions during an interview. Jong scored a goal in his debut match for VfL Bochum yesterday. [YONHAP]

DUISBURG, Germany - North Korean striker Jong Tae-se of VfL Bochum made an impressive German league debut Wednesday with a goal in an exhibition match against MSV Duisburg. The 26-year-old footballer signed a two-year contract earlier this month with the club, which competes in the second division of the German Bundesliga.

He scored the team’s first goal on a penalty kick in a friendly match held in Duisburg, marking his first goal with the new team.

“I experienced the level of Germany’s second-division league at today’s match, and I felt confident that I can play well here,” Jong said.

The match commemorated the 21 people who died in a stampede at a music festival on Saturday. The teams tied at 1-1.

“My goal is to lift the team to the first division. If I score many goals, the team will get there,” Jong said.

The striker left a deep imprint on viewers of the South African World Cup this summer, sobbing in awe at the opening of a group round match. North Korea advanced to the World Cup tournament for the first time in 44 years, but the team was knocked out in the group stage after three straight losses.

Jong was born to Korean parents in Japan and played for Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale before he moved to Germany.

He sent his best wishes to the young South Korean women’s squad, which will face Germany in a semifinal match on Thursday in Bochum as part of the U-20 Women’s World Cup.

“It’s a great honor to play at that big tournament, and I really envy them,” Jong said. “I want them to win the championship title.”

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