Sat, Mar 23, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Lancaster eyeing first win as head coach

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan’s men’s soccer team are seeking their first win under new English head coach Louis Lancaster in tomorrow’s international friendly against the Solomon Islands at Taipei Municipal Stadium after a scoreless draw in an away friendly against Myanmar on Tuesday.

Advance tickets cost NT$200, while they will also be available at the gate for NT$300 and NT$150 for those aged over 65 or under seven, Chinese Taipei Football Association (CTFA) officials said.

Lancaster has adopted a high pressing game, pushing players high into the opposition half to put pressure on their opponents and to create opportunities to attack in the final third.

“I want the national players to go on high pressing for the full 90 minutes, to take the initiative to strike out at the opposition, instead of waiting for them to strike us first,” Lancaster said at a news conference yesterday. “We can gain more possession and create more chances, while I also want our players to be more ruthless, to take shots when they have the ball in the opposition’s final third.”

Taiwan has many good players, but they are at different levels of fitness, skills and game experience, he said.

They need to play more matches against other nations, and therefore he and the CTFA plan to schedule more international friendlies and participate at tournaments in the summer, he added.

“Our aim is to prepare for the team to get good results, when the qualifying rounds for the Asian zone for the 2022 [FIFA] World Cup get started in September,” Lancaster said.

The broad direction is to aim for a higher level of soccer development, and for the nation to do well at the major tournaments and to compete for big trophies, CTFA officials said.

Although the Solomon Islands are a diplomatic ally, all preparations for the match were carried out by the CTFA and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was not directly involved, CTFA officials said.

Arranging the flights was the most complicated issue, as it takes more than two days of traveling, they said.

The squad flew from Honiara International Airport in the Solomon Islands to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, then on to Manila, before the final leg to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

Meanwhile, the men’s national team competing in the AFC U23 Championship were yesterday outclassed by South Korea in their Group H match at Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium in Cambodia.

South Korea scored three times in the first half, before netting five more in the second to win 8-0.

The team’s next match in Phnom Penh is against Australia on Sunday evening.

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