Fifa has informed North Korea that they will not be able to use Kim Myong-Won as a striker this summer.
The forward was named in Kim-Jong Hun's 23-man squad as a third-choice goalkeeper, despite being an outfield player.
North Korea opted to name just two goalkeepers in an effort to boost their attacking options, giving them the best possible chance of springing an upset in South Africa.
Having been placed in a tough group, alongside Brazil, Portugal and Ivory Coast, they felt they needed as much firepower as possible.
However, the move has backfired on them spectacularly as they have been told that Kim will only be able to turn out as keeper, having been named in that position.
With final selections already presented to Fifa, and with the deadline for alterations having passed, North Korea now face the prospect of having a player within their ranks that they cannot use.
In a statement, world football's governing body said: "The squad lists that the teams had provided to Fifa by June 1, 2010 are final and can no longer be changed. On the final lists must be no more than 23 players, three of whom shall be goalkeepers.
"The only exception is in the case of a serious injury of a player in the list of 23, who could be replaced up until 24 hours before the first match of the team in the competition.
"The three players listed as goalkeepers can only play as goalkeepers during the Fifa World Cup and cannot play outfield. This will be communicated to the teams in the team arrival meetings and will be enforced on match days."
The statement added: "Kim Myong-Won will not be allowed to play as an outfield player if he has been put on the list as a goalkeeper."