President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) faced down another sports challenge in The Gambia before leaving the country on Saturday, leading Taiwan past The Gambia 4-3 in a soccer penalty shootout at a junior high school.
Ma scored a goal in each of three rounds in which five top officials from each country attempted a penalty. Ma’s sporting abilities were previously tested on Wednesday when he engaged in a push-up challenge against Gambian President Yahya Jammeh.
Yesterday’s contest ended in a tie. -Taiwan’s team in the penalty kick competition consisted of Ma, Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添), National Security Council Secretary-General Hu Wei-jen (胡為真), Council of Labor Affairs Minister Jennifer Wang (王如玄) and Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Sheng-chung (林聖忠). Wang Hsien-min (王先民), an official at Taiwan’s embassy in The Gambia, was the team’s goalkeeper.
On The Gambian team were Jammeh and the country’s foreign minister, health bureau chief, interior minister and -secretary-general of the Presidential Office, with the construction minister as their goalkeeper.
Ma scored one goal for Taiwan in each of the three rounds and Yang scored a decisive goal in the third round. Jammeh scored a goal in the second and third rounds for the home team, and The Gambia’s foreign minister added a score in the second round.
“The most important thing is friendship. Winning or losing is not the point,” Ma said, when asked how he felt about winning.
As to whether any other sports challenges might be on the horizon, Ma said: “We have yet to compete in my strong suit — running.”
Ma is on a 12-day trip to Africa to visit three of Taiwan’s four diplomatic allies on the continent. He started his trip in Burkina Faso and arrived in Swaziland on Saturday night after his stay in The Gambia.
Before leaving The Gambia, Ma signed a joint communique with Jamme, in which the two countries agreed that all countries around the world should resolve international disputes through dialogue, negotiations or other peaceful means.
They also agreed to cooperate closely to promote global peace and prosperity.
Ma is scheduled to return to Taiwan on Wednesday.