By Jo In Chol, Chief Coach of the Hwaebul Sports Team
“We have a photo in the entrance hall of our training centre.
It is the photo of the respected Kim Jong Un stepping forward with a bright smile on his face amid the enthusiastic cheers raised by the coaches and players of our Hwaebul Football Team.
Whenever looking at the photo, I recall his efforts devoted to the development of football and the glorious day when we met him.
On April 29, Juche 102 (2013) men’s football finals of the Sports Games for Mangyongdae Prize took place at the Kim Il Sung Stadium in the presence of Kim Jong Un.
Watching the match carefully, Kim Jong Un said it is necessary to include the event of football in the sports team of the youth league and named it ‘Hwaebul’ Team.
This is how the Hwaebul Football Team was newly organized and I was appointed its chief coach.
In order to make ours strong team, we trained hard and took the first place in the National Men’s Football Match held in July that year.
With the pleasure, we wrote a letter to Kim Jong Un.
Reading the letter, he sent us his autograph that we should become the unquenchable ‘torch’ in making the country astir with the zeal for football.
Bearing its deep meaning in mind, we made a firm determination to display the honor of the country.
Some time after we received the autograph letter, we took part in a football match organized by him.
That day he came out to the stadium and said he would cheer the Hwaebul Team, encouraging us.
Thinking that he was watching us, we played the match in the indomitable spirit and finally became winners.
After the match, Kim Jong Un descended from the rostrum and shaking hands with the players and me one by one, proposed having a photo taken with the players of the Hwaebul Team who won the match.
Then he expressed his belief that we would win consecutive victories in international games to live up to the trust and expectation of the Workers’ Party of Korea.
Several years has passed since then, but I still remember what happened on the glorious day.
Always keeping the love and trust of Kim Jong Un, I will devote all my energy to making our team the standard-bearer in stirring up the country with enthusiasm for football.”