NORTH Korea are encouraging their players to head abroad and on the evidence of Wednesday night, the quicker they do the better.
The competition's mystery boys surrendered the lead to lose 4-1 to Saudi Arabia, ending their hopes of qualifying for the knockout phase of the Asian Cup.
Technically adept, there was plenty to like about Chollima (Thousand-mile horse), but their naivety and tactical ill-discipline gifted a mediocre Saudi Arabia three points at AAMI Park.
Nineteen of the 23-man squad play in the ironically named Highest Class Football League — North Korea's top tier.
Ryang Yong-gi celebrates after scoring a surprise opening goal for DPR Korea. Source: Getty Images
Despite coach Jo Tong Sop claiming a day earlier that the overseas-based quartet were largely to blame for the opening game loss to Uzbekistan, Swiss-based beanpole Pak Kwang Ryong was again a standout.
But the striker lacked service and pals, as a series of comical mistakes handed the Saudis giftwrapped chances and the clinical Mohammed Al Sahlawi punished them.
Reinstated after being controversially benched in game one, Al Sahlawi scored a brace and played a part in Naif Hazazi's opener, before Nawaf Alabid scored the fourth.
Almost 13,000 were exposed to a fast and loose encounter, with North Korea was more threatening early.
They forced world-class saves from Saudi keeper Waleed Abdullah within seven minutes — a shot from Sim Hyon-Jin then a Re Yong-Jik header.
But Waleed let himself down four minutes later when he failed to clear Pak's long-range strike, with Ryang Yong Gi tapping in the rebound.
Nawaf Al Abid gets inventive after Saudi Arabia's fourth goal. Source: News Corp Australia
Striker Hazazi had two golden chances, but headed wide on both occasions, either side of North Korea's goal.
But he made up for it moments before half-time, with calm control and finishing, though Al Sahlawi and Nawaf's shrewd lead up play sucked the defence out of position.
Al Sahlawi scored two in three minutes just after the restart both from woeful North Korean mistakes.
Then Ri Yong Jik was red carded for handballing on the line with 14 minutes to go, with Nawafi's penalty striking both posts.
But he was quickest to react, sprinting in to put away the scraps.
The North Koreans were dejected and with most of the AAMI Park crowd sympathised with them, with only Sunday's dead rubber against China left before they return home.
Al Sahlawi Mohammed bagged two goals in a crazy five-minute passage of play. Source: Getty Images
FULL TIME: NORTH KOREA 1 (Yong-Gi 11) SAUDI ARABIA 4 (Hazazi 37, Al Sahlawi 52, 54, Nawafi 77)
2015 Asian Cup — Group B
Crowd: 12,349 at AAMI Park
Referee: Abdullah Mohamed Al Hilali (OMA)
Red cards: Yong Jik 76 (PRK)