Thu, Jul 14, 2011 - Page 2 News List

FIFA offers funding to develop players

RANK HOPES:The Chinese Taipei Football Association set itself the goals of getting the men’s national team into the top 140 and the women’s into the top 30 by 2015

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

The performance by Taiwan’s men’s national soccer team during 2014 World Cup qualifiers earlier this month prompted soccer’s world governing body FIFA to offer about US$300,000 to develop soccer in Taiwan.

Taiwan lost to Malaysia 1-2 in the first round of qualifiers in Malaysia last month, but made a strong comeback in Taipei by beating Malaysia 3-2.

The national team didn’t make it into the second round of qualifiers, having failed to qualify on goal difference because it scored one fewer goal away from home.

The game in Taipei drew about 10,000 spectators.

Chinese Taipei Football Association (CTFA) president Lu Kun-shan (盧崑山) said yesterday that FIFA had sent six senior managers and consultants to Taipei last week to evaluate the association’s operations.

The FIFA officials helped establish a two-year development plan based on the goals that CTFA had set for itself, he said.

The goals include raising the men’s national soccer team’s ranking to the top 140 and that of the women’s team to the top 30 by December 2015. By 2018, the nation would have 12 professional men’s soccer teams and six women’s soccer teams.

“Our understanding is that about US$300,000 will be invested in the plan,” Lu said.

“Whether we can continue to secure the funding depends on our performance,” he said.

FIFA said Taiwan’s global ranking stood at No. 153.

Taiwan reached its highest FIFA ranking, No. 144, in 2006. Its second-highest FIFA ranking, No. 147, was achieved in March, up from No. 170 last year.

Meanwhile, the CTFA has recruited former South Korean national team player Lee Tae-ho (李泰昊) as the new coach for the men’s national team.

Lee, 50, participated in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, the 1988 Olympics in Seoul and the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

The South Korean veteran was also assistant coach of the Daewoo Royals Football Club between 1993 and 1994 and head coach of the national youth team between 2003 and 2007.

In 1989, he was selected by the K-League as their top scorer, with 57 goals and 27 assists in 181 games.

Lee was on hand to watch the performance of the Taiwanese team in Malaysia and Taipei. His first task as head coach will be to lead the team in a friendly against Singapore, which will take place in Singapore on Monday.

He said the team needed to strengthen its offense.

“If you lose one goal, you redeem that loss by scoring two,” Lee said through an interpreter. “Defense is also important if you want to win, but offense has to be better.”

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