Mon, Jan 21, 2019 - Page 10 News List

National soccer teams get new coaches and sponsorship

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Taipei Football Association president Chiou I-jen, center, is accompanied by the new men’s national soccer team head coach Louis Lancaster, left, and new women’s national team head coach Kazuo Echigo, right, in Taipei on Friday.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

Louis Lancaster was named as head coach of the men’s national team and Kazuo Echigo appointed to head up the women’s team, while jersey designs for home and away matches were also unveiled at a Chinese Taipei Football Association (CTFA) event in Taipei on Friday.

The head coach appointments and a new sponsorship deal with Taiwanese sporting goods manufacturer Ango would give Taiwan soccer a boost in the coming year and push the men’s and women’s squads to improve, CTFA chairman Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) said at the event.

Lancaster, who was deputy manager under former men’s team head coach Gary White, has his work cut out for him, as Taiwan failed to advance this year to the Asian Cup finals, which are currently taking place in the United Arab Emirates.

The Briton told reporters that he relishes the opportunity to help Taiwan achieve improved results and to qualify for major Asian tournaments.

According to CTFA officials, Lancaster beat out other highly qualified candidates, because he already knows the players, the local soccer culture and the people he has to interact with to get the job done.

Lancaster’s one-year contract begins on Feb. 1, the CTFA said.

Hailing from north London, Lancaster coached in the youth system for English Premier League side Watford, became White’s assistant at China’s Shanghai Shenxin club and followed White to the Taiwan national team in 2017, he said.

“I am happy to return here to take up the job as head coach. Taiwan always felt like home to me,” Lancaster said. “My goal is to lead a team which can compete against other elite teams of Asia, and a team that Taiwanese fans can be proud of.”

There are to be no set goals, such as achieving a certain world ranking, Lancaster said.

“I want my players to express themselves on the pitch, and the players must their own personalities,” he said, “My team will play attacking football and we will get more wins, but I want to win games with entertaining style.”

At Watford, he developed the youngster Jadon Sancho, who is now a star at Borussia Dortmund, the elite of the Bundesliga, Lancaster added.

At the event, the CTFA unveiled new national team jerseys for home and away matches, made possible through a two-year NT$15 million (US$486,350) sponsorship with Taiwan Ango.

Officials also presented Echigo, who was an outstanding soccer player who went on to coach at Japan’s Vegalta Sendai club.

Echigo said he became familiar with Taiwan last year when the Vegalta Sendai women’s team came to play several friendly matches.

“During the visit, I began talking with CTFA officials and got to know the situation of the women’s national team,” Echigo said. “Then, the job came up and I decided it was a good opportunity to work overseas — and Taiwan is a good place to come for new challenges in soccer.”

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