Cha Jong-Hyok’s consistency in defence ensured that the 24-year-old was a key component of the Korea DPR side that made history by qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
Having played a prominent role as captain of the Olympic team which reached the final round of qualifying Beijing 2008, Cha emerged as a permanent fixture in Kim Jong-Hun’s squad during the preliminaries, playing in every match except the North Koreans’ opening fixture against Mongolia. However, he was back wearing the captain’s armband in the return leg a week later, shoring up the rearguard and leading his team to a 5-1 win.
The Amrokgang defender switched to a cameo role at the start of Asia’s third qualifying round, coming off the bench in Korea DPR’s opening two matches. However, through his commitment and discipline, he earned Kim’s esteem and a return to the starting line-up. He went on to hold on to this starting berth in his side’s remaining games, playing a key role in the rock-solid defence on which Korea DPR’s successful South Africa 2010 campaign was built.
An all-round player who is mostly known as a centre-defender or full-back, the versatile Cha is also capable of operating in an attacking role on the flanks. He can be a formidable force going forward and possesses impressive attacking flair amongst his armoury. His surging runs from deep caused problems for the Chollima’s rivals on more than one occasions during qualifying and will be well worth watching during South Africa 2010.