North Korea have decided to bring in Kim Yong-jun as the new coach of the national team. The 35-year-old has been appointed as the coach just ahead of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. The underdogs have been placed alongside the likes of Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Qatar. The first match of the group stages will start in January 8. Prior to the actual tournament, North Korea will be taking part in a string of friendly matches that starts with a game against Vietnam on Christmas Day. This match will serve as the debut game for Kim Yong-jun, who is only 35 years old.
The 35-year-old began mentoring for the under 16, under 17, and under 23 teams of North Korea from 2013 right up until 2017. It remains to be seen if his extended experience with the youth setup of North Korea will pay its dividends in the actual tournament. North Korea will have limited expectation going into the tournament with other teams in a much better shape. It is also likely that Kim Yong-jun’s position as the national team coach will not be determined on the basis of just one tournament.