The best have a shot at making the national squad.
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Undaunted by sanctions and hard realities on the pitch, North Korea's lone football academy has set its sights high – producing players better than Lionel Messi, and teams that can dominate the world.In the circumstances, producing players of Messi's standard is a stretch, but 200 live-in students aged from nine to 15 – and 40 percent of them girls – are doing their best at the Pyongyang academy.North Korea have had their share of controversies, and were barred from last year's Women's World Cup after five players failed drugs tests at the previous edition in 2011 .One of North Korean football's main obstacles is a lack of matches: Its clubs don't play Asian football Confederation tournaments, and with just an 11-team league, domestic games are scant and draw crowds of only 200-300 spectators.Another major impediment is international sanctions imposed on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, which has seen two nuclear tests conducted this year.The player left the side in July, according to a club spokesman who acknowledged there had been "some bureaucratic problems".
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