Mathew Leckie’s aerial ability gives him chance to succeed Tim Cahill

September 4, 2015 – 3:39PM

Michael Lynch

Senior sports reporter with The Age

Hang time: Australia's Mathew Leckie heads the ball against Bangladesh.

Hang time: Australia’s Mathew Leckie heads the ball against Bangladesh. Photo: Getty Images

He’s got a long way to go to replicate the deeds of Socceroos legend Tim Cahill, but Bundesliga-based Mathew Leckie is shaping as the closest replacement Australia have to their goalscoring talisman if his display against Bangladesh is anything to go by.

At 24, Leckie has already played far more often for the national team than Cahill, who was hamstrung by FIFA bureaucracy because of a teenage appearance for Western Samoa, had at this point.

His goalscoring record – now two in 26 appearances – is hardly likely to have opposition defences quaking in their boots just yet. But what impressed about Leckie in the game against Bangladesh – when he opened Australia’s account with a sixth-minute goal – was the way he led the line in a fashion reminiscent of Cahill, especially his aerial ability.

Cahill still retains that marvellous sense of timing and lethal ability to head the ball, but Leckie displayed a hitherto unnoticed capacity to get up and stay up with a “hang time” that no one knew he possessed.

He tested the Bangladeshi defence with several headers himself and it was one of those that led to Nathan Burns poking home Australia’s fourth goal, when the goalkeeper Sahidul Alam parried the ball into his path from a Leckie header.

Leckie says while he has always been useful in the air he hasn’t worked particularly hard on developing hang time.

“I wouldn’t say I work on it. But with my club side [Ingoldstadt] we are one of the teams that have come up and we are not the strongest team in the Bundesliga. We play a very direct type of game, a lot of long balls, so I have to go up for a lot of headers.

“I have always been pretty good at getting up in the air, but not always perfect at getting on target. Last night I had a few good headers, the keeper made some good saves and it led up to Burnsy’s goal. The way we played last night worked perfectly, I played the middle man up front. That cancels me out of a lot of the combination work, but it was exciting.

“Here in the national team we don’t play anything like route one, we try to play a lot of football. For me it’s the most exciting style that I have played since I have been a footballer, where we are really trying to dominate possession and play . When those things go well, it’s fun to be a part of.”

Certainly Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou is a fan, describing Leckie as one of the hardest-working players in the team, an unsung hero whose efforts are not always truly appreciated.

“You will be surprised how many times we will highlight Lecks’ work in the [post-game] analysis,” the coach said. “He’s a real important part of what we have done over the past 12 to 18 months.

“He is one of the most disciplined in his role. He knows what he needs to do in his position and he does it all the time.”

Mark Milligan, who took the captain’s armband in the absence of Cahill – who started on the bench – said the players took plenty of upside from an easy win against admittedly weak opposition.

“We wanted to go out and win the match doing it in the style that we want to play in, and we still wanted to get something out of it and make sure that we improved as a team,” he said.

“I feel that we went about our business in a professional way and did it the way the boss wanted. We still tried to keep our structure and do the things we do in every match.

“We took a lot out of that trip in Kyrgysztan going into last night’s game as well. There were lot of areas we fell a little bit short on that trip. We like to pride ourselves on being better than we were in that game. We wanted to right a few wrongs last night.

“We definitely know what to expect coming into Tajikistan. We will definitely be better for the Kyrgysztan trip.”

The Canberra Times

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Air Koryo flight attendants featured on magazine

Air Koryo flight attendants featured on magazine

This photo, taken on Aug. 31, 2015, of the cover of the September 2015 issue of North Korea’s English-language monthly pictorial magazine, “Chosun,” shows female flight attendants of North Korea’s Air Koryo. The attendants wear dark blue uniforms, which were changed from red ones in 2013, and lapel pins bearing the images of North Korean founder Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il on the left chest. (Yonhap) (END)

Yonhap News

Choe Ryong-hae at China’s military parade

N. Korea's Choe Ryong-hae at China's military parade


Choe Ryong-hae, a secretary of the Workers’ Party of (North) Korea, watches a massive military parade marking the 70th anniversary of China’s victory over Japan in World War II at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Sept. 3, 2015. During the parade, Choe was positioned far away from South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Yonhap) (END)


Yonhap News

Kim Jong-un inspect factory in Sinuju bordering China

Kim Jong-un inspects machinery factory in border city

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (19th from R, front) poses for a photo with officials of a measurement instrument factory in the city of Sinuiju bordering China, in this photo provided by North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun on Sept. 4, 2015. The paper, published by the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, did not report when Kim made the visit but, given the pattern of the North’s media reports on Kim’s public activity, he is presumed to have visited the factory the previous day, when China held a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. (Yonhap) (END)

Kim Jong-un inspects machinery factory in border city

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) speaks to officials of a measurement instrument factory in the city of Sinuiju bordering China, in this photo provided by North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun on Sept. 4, 2015. The paper, published by the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, did not report when Kim made the visit but given the pattern of the North’s media reports on Kim’s public activity, he is presumed to have visited the factory the previous day, when China held a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. (Yonhap) (END)

Yonhap News

Choe Ryong-hae returns home empty-handed: sources

BEIJING, Sept. 3 (Yonhap) — A key aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has failed to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing where a military parade marking the 70th anniversary of China’s World War II victory took place, sources said Thursday.

Choe Ryong-hae, a member of the Politburo Presidium and the secretary of the Central Committee of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, flew back to Pyongyang Thursday afternoon after attending the parade at Tiananmen Square in the morning, the sources said.

Although he did attend a reception that shortly followed, Choe failed to hold a one-on-one talk with Xi, they added.

Choe’s short trip stands in contrast to a three-day visit by South Korean President Park Geun-hye to China.

Park arrived in Beijing Wednesday and together with Xi, warned the North against more provocations amid speculations that it may carry out a missile or nuclear test in October to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party.

It remains unclear, however, whether Choe held talks with other Chinese officials while there. But with no meeting with Xi, Choe is unlikely to have carried a hand-written letter from Kim.

Analysts are divided as to what role Choe was expected to play for North Korea-China relations. Some have argued Choe was sent to mend recently frayed ties, while others have said the fact Kim decided against visiting China himself suggests anti-Chinese sentiment.



Yonhap News

Border island residents call for pullout of loudspeakers

By Shin Hyon-hee

Residents of a border island in the West Sea have turned in a petition calling for the removal of loudspeakers installed there for anti-Pyongyang broadcasts that sparked a recent exchange of fire between the two Koreas, military officials said Wednesday.

The appeal was made Monday to the Defense Ministry by about 100 people living on Gyodong Island in Ganghwa County, Incheon, located just south of the Northern Limit Line, the skirmish-prone maritime border with North Korea.

“They have apparently been feeling anxious because the North Korean military threatens to shoot down the equipment,” a ministry official said, adding that the agency will come up with a solution taking public safety and the military’s psychological warfare strategy comprehensively into account.

After being pulled out in 2004 as a result of inter-Korean military dialogue, the loudspeakers were reinstalled at 11 places along the Military Demarcation Line following the North’s 2010 fatal attack on the Cheonan corvette, but had remained idle until the South Korean military restarted the broadcasts last month.

The broadcasts, which came in retaliation for the North’s Aug. 4 land mine attack that inflicted serious wounds on two soldiers, prompted the communist regime to launch artillery shells across the border, but again ended after 15 days following high-level inter-Korean dialogue.



The Korea Herald

Economic revival appears to be behind North Korea’s push for dialogue with South Korea: United States expert

North Korea is believed to have used the latest military standoff with South Korea to get inter-Korean talks started so as to win economic cooperation and investment necessary to rebuild its broken economy, a U.S. expert said Wednesday.

The military standoff, which began with the explosion of landmines secretly planned by the North and led later to an exchange of artillery fire across the border, was defused with a peace agreement reached after days of marathon negotiations first proposed by Pyongyang.

“Whatever the motivation for the mine incident was, I think the motivation for the resolution of the crisis was to get a dialogue started again, which is where the North Koreans had suggested in January they wanted to be,” Robert Carlin, a North Korea expert, said during a discussion organized by 38 North.

Carlin, a visiting fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, pointed out that the North sent the dialogue proposal the same day its military issued an ultimatum warning of strong strikes.

The inter-Korean deal centered on the South halting anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts in exchange for the North expressing regret over the injuries South Korean soldiers sustained from the explosion of landmines planted by the North.

The two sides also agreed to hold more government-to-government talks to move inter-Korean relations forward, organize a round of separate family reunions around Chuseok — a major fall holiday in both Koreas — and seek more civilian exchanges between the two sides.

Carlin said that reviving the economy is believed to be behind the North’s push for a dialogue.

“I think that a very consistent theme since Kim Jong-un took office is the focus on reviving the economy. It began with his very first speech in April 2011 where he … said that people would no longer have to tighten their belts. I think most of his appearances have probably been on economic projects,” he said.

“I think he’s serious about reviving the economy and one of the best ways to do that is to patch things up with the South Koreans,” he said, adding that Pyongyang would like investment from South Korea to balance all the investment from China.

The window of opportunity created by the North’s willingness to talk can be short-lived, Carlin said.

“History tells us the windows open and close pretty rapidly …. but a wide open window as there has been for the last few weeks is not likely to stay open that long,” he said, adding that Pyongyang could shut the window depending on South Korea’s attitude.

Joseph Bermudez, an expert on North Korea’s military, noted that the North sent out about 70 percent of its submarines, or about 50 submarines, during the crisis and such capabilities show that Pyongyang’s efforts to improve its submarine capabilities produced concrete results.

“The ability to flush your submarine force, and to do it well and quickly, is a demonstration of your level of capability.

Typically, the North Koreans only have two to six submarines out on patrol at any one time. To send out a high percentage of your force, in this case 70 percent, shows a level of readiness,” he said.

“It proves to them that the work they’ve done, the initiatives they had undertaken, the training programs have actually resulted in solid, concrete results,” he said.

The North’s move could have also been aimed at testing how the South and the U.S. will react, he said.

“They intend that their submarine force be a key component of any future conflict. Knowing how the Japanese, South Koreans, the United States will react to a submarine operations, large scale submarines operations, will help them better plan their operations going forward,” he said. (Yonhap)


The Korea Herald

United Nations rapporteur on North Korean human rights to visit South Korea next week

The U.N. special rapporteur on North Korea’s human rights situation will visit South Korea next week to assess the impact of recent developments in inter-Korean ties on the North Korean people’s human rights, according to the U.N. human rights office in Seoul.
Marzuki Darusman plans to visit South Korea on Sunday for a five-day stay and meet with government officials, civil society actors and other interested parties here, the office said in a statement on its website.
It will be the independent expert’s first visit here since the U.N. office opened in June as a follow-up to last year’s Commission of Inquiry report that accused North Korea of gross human rights abuses. The communist nation bristles at criticism of its human rights situation, calling it a U.S.-led attempt to topple its regime.
“I will use this mission to Seoul to obtain new information on the alleged human rights violations in DPRK, but also to discuss the impact of new developments in relations between the two Koreas on human rights,” Darusman said in the statement, referring to North Korea by the acronym of its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The two Koreas reached a landmark agreement last week to defuse heightened military tensions sparked by a landmine explosion and to increase cross-border exchanges, including temporary reunions for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.
Darusman plans to use the data collected during his trip in a report to the U.N. Human Rights Council next March.
At the end of his trip, he will hold a press conference at Yonsei University in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)


The Korea Herald

Kim Jong-un inspects machinery factory in border city


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has inspected a machinery factory in a northwestern border city, the North’s official media said Friday.
Kim visited the factory that produces measuring instruments in Sinuiju, where he expressed his appreciation for machinery developers’ efforts to produce the goods with indigenous technology, according to the Korean Central News Agency.
It did not specify the date of Kim’s inspection, but given the pattern of KCNA’s reports on Kim’s public activity, he is presumed to have visited the factory on Thursday, when China held a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
KCNA said that Kim expressed satisfaction with the factory that manufactures new modern measuring instruments to be used in various fields of the national economy and defense industry.
Kim added that the factory served as a “big steppingstone” for developing the North’s industry of measuring instrument production “at a leaping pace,” KNCA said. (Yonhap)


The Korea Herald

North Korea rebukes Park Geun-hye for warning against North Korean provocation

North Korea blamed President Park Geun-hye on Thursday for warning against the North’s provocation during her summit with China’s leader, saying inter-Korean ties can return to confrontation at any time.

The North’s message came as Park held a summit with her Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Wednesday in Beijing where they warned Pyongyang against taking any action that could escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula. She expressed gratitude to Xi for the constructive role Beijing has played in defusing tension.

The North’s committee for the peaceful reunification of Korea said that South Korea should refrain from making comments that could dampen inter-Korean ties.

“If the South’s leader has basic political perspectives, (she) should be careful of making comments that can hamper inter-Korean relations at a sensitive time,” the committee said in a statement, carried by the North’s Korean Central News Agency.

“Currently, inter-Korean ties are like standing on thin ice that can be easily broken,” it said, adding that whether the bilateral relations can be improved hinges on Seoul’s attitude.

Just one day before, the North denied Seoul’s claims that its recent expression of regret over the land mine explosion near the inter-Korean border in early August is equal to an apology.

Last week long-strained Seoul-Pyongyang ties took a dramatic twist as the two sides reached a landmark deal on easing military tension and resuming a much-awaited reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

The North expressed “regret” over the land mine explosion that left two South Korean soldiers seriously injured as part of the deal. South Korea has said that the North’s regret is the equivalent of an apology by international standards. (Yonhap)



The Korea Herald