Spanish Derby in Asia


Fundación Marcet’s North Korean youth players win the U-16s Asian Cup in a clash against South Korean side led by Barça’s youth players.

The U-16s Asian Championships that have just been held in Thailand were a luxurious shop window for Fundación Marcet’s youth players, they have turned themselves into true stars in the tournament. The North Koreans Han Kwang-song, Choe Song-hyok and Jong Chang-bom took their national squad to victory in a historic final against South Korea.

The three stars from the Asian country didn’t take long to become successful with their national outfit after spending one year in Barcelona as players at Fundación Marcet’s Professional Program. In July last year, they returned home to prepare themselves for the Asian Cup, where they would turn into the main characters of the tournament.

After eliminating Iran in the quarter finals and Australia in the semi-finals, the North Korean national side cemented their place in the final thanks to goals from Han y Choe, who’s names also light up on the score board during the final encounter against their neighbours, South Korea (2-1). A historical triumph for a country who’s trying to gain a name in the international football scene and put their trust into Fundación Marcet in the coaching of their elite footballers.

The final derby was a double sided one. Not only were both Koreas battling out for the trophy, there was a clash of two youth squads based in Barcelona. The young talented North Korean players of Fundación Marcet were up against a South Korean squad led by Blaugrana prospects such as Lee Seung-woo and Jang Gyeol-hee.

Despite their status as international stars, both ‘Culé’ players weren’t able to impose the North Korean team, who sealed the win with a outstanding performance from Han – who was named man of the match – and an incredible strike by Choe which ended up in the top corner. A great demonstration of talent inside the Bangkok stadium left the scouts and watchers of half of the world stunned.

Han and Choe, who both ended up scoring 4 goals each, came to Barcelona the previous year alongside 14 other North Korean players in the wake of a historical project that was destined to change the face of football for the Asian country.

The government in Pyongyang are aiming for their athletes to become the future stars of the Asian continent and with this as an objective, last year they decided to send a selection of players to Spain to be coached for a few months at Fundación Marcet’s Professional Program. And just as they witnessed in the U-16s Asian Championships, they haven’t had to wait long to see the results.

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