Wed, Feb 13, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Taiwan to take on Solomon Islands in Taipei next month

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan are to play an international friendly against the Solomon Islands next month in Taipei, the Chinese Taipei Football Association (CTFA) said, while the newly inaugurated Canadian Premier League is to feature Taiwan’s Emilio Estevez Tsai.

Taiwan’s match against the Solomon Islands is to be held at the Taipei Municipal Stadium on March 24, five days after the team’s international friendly against Myanmar in Yangon.

The CTFA also outlined plans for Taiwan in June to host a mini-tournament against teams from Asia.

CTFA secretary-general Fang Ching-jen said the friendly matches are preparation ahead of the start of Asian qualifying for the 2020 FIFA World Cup, which begins later this year.

The new CTFA management team has appointed Englishman Louis Lancaster as head coach of the men’s national team, while Japanese Kazuo Echigo is to coach the women’s team.

Brazilian coach Adil Amarante has been retained as head coach of the national futsal team.

CTFA president Chiou I-jen said he is looking forward to the international coaches bringing new ideas to the national teams and improving the skill levels of the players.

Hopefully they would pass on their valuable experience and leave their mark on Taiwanese soccer in the long term, he said.

“Although I have my own expectations, I am not going to set targets for the men’s and women’s teams to achieve in the world rankings. I just want our national teams to make progress, and narrow the gap between our teams and the powerhouses of Asian soccer,” Chiou said.

Meanwhile, local fans are buzzing after the news that York 9 of the Canadian Premier League have signed Tsai.

Canada-based Tsai, 20, whose parents are from Taiwan, is eligible for the Taiwan national team and he was called up and trained with the squad last year.

York 9 have listed him in their squad as a Canadian.

In the past year, Tsai had a trial for La Liga side Levante UD while playing for North Mississauga SC, a team based in Toronto who play in League 1 Ontario.

He was previously with the Sheridan Bruins, the soccer team of Sheridan College in Ontario.

York 9 confirmed signing midfielder Tsai in a statement on Friday last week, along with defenders Morey Doner and Saint Kitts and Nevis international Justin Springer.

“He [Tsai] was a little hidden gem. Just watching him train now, we’re just excited at the potential he has … he plays with flair and always has a smile on his face. He’s one we’re all excited to work with and push him to the next level,” York 9 head coach Jimmy Brennan said.

Tsai was a standout performer in the Toronto #GotGame Open Trials and scouts called him a “crafty midfielder” who impressed with his technique on the ball, a club statement said.

Tsai could make his debut in the first-ever Canadian Premier League match when York 9 travel to take on Forge at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario, on April 27.

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