Sat, Apr 13, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Taiwanese soccer starts today

LOOKING AHEAD:Taipei Tatung’s coach said his team is making moves to receive AFC certification to play in the Asian Cup and gain more international visibility

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan’s top club soccer competitions are to start today with three women’s matches in Taichung, while there are three men’s games scheduled for Taipei and Hsinchu County tomorrow.

The Taichung Blue Whales — the defending champions of the Mulan Football League — host the Taipei Bravo Bears, formerly Taipei PlayOne, to cap the opening-day matches at the Taiyuan Soccer Field in Taichung’s Beitun District at 4pm.

At 10am at the same venue, New Taipei City-based Hang Yuan face Inter Taipei, followed by Hualien against Kaohsiung Sunny Bank at 2pm.

“It is important to have the Mulan league, as it provides support to develop female players and improve their skills,” Blue Whales head coach Lu Kuei-hua said at the launch event for the two competitions this week.

“The league is vital to bolster women’s soccer in Taiwan and helped our national team reach the final four at last year’s Asian Games,” Lu said.

“It also helped the national squad make outstanding performances in the Asian qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympics next year, helping them advance to the third round,” she said. “We believe the Mulan league will only get better and attract more interest.”

In the Taiwan Football Premier League tomorrow, the Taipei Red Lions are to do battle against Min Chuan University at the Taipei Municipal Stadium at 4pm, followed by defending champions Taipei Tatung against Kaohsiung Taipower at 7pm.

At the Hsinchu County Stadium in Jhubei City, Taichung Futuro are to play National Taiwan University of Sport (Taichung) at 4pm.

“Taiwanese soccer has seen steady progress in recent years. More kids and teams are engaged at the grassroots levels,” Taipei Tatung head coach Chiang Mu-tsai said at the launch event.

“Also, our Tatung club will get moving this year to make preparations to obtain Asian Football Confederation [AFC] certification. This will enable us to participate in Asian Cup competitions, giving the team and players more visibility and recognition on the international stage,” Chiang said.

Min Chuan University and Taichung Futuro are in the Premier League after being promoted at the end of last year.

The Taipei-based Royal Blues and Kaohsiung-based National Sports Training Center were relegated, but their coaches and players vowed to fight their way back to the top division next year.

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