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Ones to Watch: Jong Il-gwan (DPR Korea)


Kuala Lumpur: In the absence of 2018 AFC Cup top scorer An Il-bom, attacker Jong Il-gwan remains DPR Korea's key attacking outlet in their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 campaign.

DPR Korea qualified to the AFC Asian Cup for the third time in a row, finishing second behind Lebanon in their qualifiers group, but they remain without a win in the Finals since 1980. Key to their chances of getting a first victory in the UAE will be leading scorer Jong Il-gwan.

Nationality: DPR Korea
Date of birth: 30/10/1992
Position: Forward
Current club: Free Agent
Previous clubs: Rimyongsu (DPR Korea), FC Luzern, FC Wil (both Switzerland)

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International Background

Rising to prominence at the 2010 AFC U-19 Championship after scoring a hat-trick in the final as DPR Korea defeated Australia, Jong went on to lift the AFC Youth Player of the Year accolade at the confederation's annual awards.

Domestic success at Pyeongyang side Rimyongsu followed before a move overseas to Switzerland and FC Luzern in July 2017.

UAE 2019 will be Jong's second appearance at the AFC Asian Cup, having been in the squad for the previous edition in Australia.

Style of play

With Kim Yu-song likely to be the central target man for DPR Korea, Jong is expected to play off the forward with the freedom to play a more creative role. He could also be used as a wide left forward as part of a front three for the Chollima.

As well as the attacking impetus he provides, Jong brings a high degree of workrate from the front to complement his composed finishing in front of goal.

What to look for

After collecting just two points and scoring four goals in their AFC Asian Cup campaigns in 2011 and 2015, DPR Korea will look to Jong as a source of attacking threat as they take on three-time champions Saudi Arabia as well as Qatar and Lebanon in Group E.


Where and when to watch him

DPR Korea vs Saudi Arabia
Venue: Rashid Stadium, Dubai
Kick-off: January 8, 20:00 UTC+4

DPR Korea vs Qatar Venue: Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain
Kick-off: January 13, 15:00 UTC+4

DPR Korea vs Lebanon
Venue: Sharjah Stadium, Sharjah
Kick-off: January 17, 20:00 UTC+4

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