Fri, Mar 01, 2002 - Page 16 News List

Taiwan attempts to take slice of World Cup action

STAFF WRITER

At least three of the 32 soccer teams playing in the upcoming World Cup tournament are planning warm-up matches in Taiwan, according to the nation's new sports paper Leadtek Sports (麗台運動報).

To help their players adapt to conditions in the region, all 32 qualified teams are planning to train in Asia before the World Cup tournament kicks off at the end of May in Japan and South Korea, the paper said.

The Senegalese team has confirmed that it will train in Taiwan from May 18 to May 23 and may play a warm-up match with a British team here, according to the paper.

Meanwhile, world No. 2 Argentina is also planning a warm-up match with Senegal in Taiwan.

The Chinese Taipei Football Association (中華足球協會) is helping to coordinate the events, the paper said.

Marcelo Bielsa, Argentina's coach, wants his team to play four warm-up matches before the World Cup, but so far only one match with Germany in April has been confirmed, the paper said.

Another match with China is in the works for May but has not been confirmed.

As the other two teams which Bielsa had in mind for friendlies -- Cameroon and Belgium -- may drop out , Bielsa is said to be making contingency plans for a game against Senegal in Taiwan, the paper said.

Taiwan's football association is seeking government and corporate funding to pay for the matches, the paper said.

The Chinese-language Leadtek Sports released its inaugural edition yesterday and will be published every Tuesday and Friday.

The paper was founded by Lu Kun-shan (盧崑山), who also runs the electronics company Leadtek Research Inc (麗臺科技).

In related news, Japan's media said Koizumi will make a three-day visit to Seoul on March 21 for talks with South Korean President Kim Dae-jung.

The discussions will deal with the staging of the World Cup, which will take place from May 31 to June 30, and policy toward North Korea.

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