FEW PEOPLE FROM Hong Kong have been to North Korea, let alone worked there. Kwok Ka-ming did exactly that when he visited the communist state to do what he does best: coach football coaches. The Hong Kong soccer master did his two-week stint there in May 2000. 'Everything is quiet there, no noise, no television and no outside world,' says Kwok, who now travels the globe as a technical adviser for FIFA, football's governing body. 'I had to leave my mobile phone at Pyongyang airport when I arrived. The authorities said I couldn't use it in public as people wouldn't know what it was and might be frightened or suspicious.' The man most famous for guiding Hong Kong to an unlikely 2-1 victory over China in Beijing in 1985 talks with authority about his job of developing football in Asia. 'I look at things such as the level of coaching ability and the preparation techniques used and identify problem areas. Finally I'll interview the coach and write a report.' His FIFA work most recently took him to Seoul and Busan - two of the host cities for this summer's World Cup - in South Korea. Kwok made a name for himself as a player when he captained the Hong Kong team in the 1978 World Cup qualifiers. 'We beat Indonesia 4-1, Thailand 2-1 and drew with Singapore and Malaysia and then beat Singapore in a play-off to win Group One of the Asian qualifiers. In the next round, we struggled against stronger sides such as South Korea, Australia, Kuwait and the eventual - and only - Asian qualifiers, Iran,' he says. It is the closest the national side have ever been to making it to the finals which were held in Argentina that year. He says the national team may not be as strong these days for a reason: 'Things have changed a lot - in the 1970s, I think it was more about taking part in sport. People played it rather than be entertained by it on television. I think lifestyle changes have had an effect.' Kwok, a former student of St Francis Xavier's College and the University of Hong Kong, has collected numerous accolades, including 10 Outstanding Young Person Awards in 1977, the same year he was voted best footballer in Asia. He was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 1978, and retired from playing in 1979. He has been deeply involved in the development of football since, coaching the national team from 1982 to 1990 and again from 1996 to 1997, along the way receiving the Hong Kong Outstanding Coaching Award in 1994. He is married with two sons at university and has been in charge of the youth development programme here for 20 years. With his extensive experience and contacts, what does he think about China's chances at the World Cup this summer? 'China have nothing to lose, the finals are an experience which they will learn from. But after this they must qualify for every World Cup,' Kwok says.