Chiayi Tienching lead the Taiwan Futsal League, scoring 13 goals to win their first two matches in the season openers last week.
Last year’s season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s league is comprised of five city-based clubs — Chiayi Tienching, Inter Taoyuan, Traveler of Taichung, YTFC of Taipei and Fangyi Precision of Kaohsiung — as well as CTFA U-20, the national governing body’s U-20 training squad.
Photo courtesy of CFTA
In the opening matches on Saturday last week at New Taipei City’s Sinjhuang Gymnasium, Traveler battled CTFA U-20 to a 3-3 draw, while Inter defeated Fangyi 3-2 and Tienching pummeled YTFC 7-0.
On Sunday last week, CTFA U-20 trounced Fangyi 8-3, while Traveler edged out YTFC 3-2 and Tienching thrashed Inter 6-0.
In launching the season, CTFA chairman Chiou I-jen said his main objective is to foster healthy growth for soccer at all levels in Taiwan.
Photo courtesy of CFTA
“We have already established first and second tiers for the Taiwan Football Premier League, and set up the promotion and relegation system,” he said. “Last year, we started working on a youth soccer league and national programs to train younger players. This year, we have the return of the Taiwan Futsal League.”
The Chiayi club has been rated as title favorites, since the team’s start at Chiayi County’s Wufeng University, which has a long history of soccer programs and as a powerhouse in central Taiwan.
Some club players have played on the national squad in various age divisions, including Kuo Yin-hong, Chu Chia-wei, Huang Wei-lun and Tai Wei-jen.
They are considered defending champions, since the club, then under Wufeng University, won the Taiwan Futsal League title in 2019, while Taipei Okane took second place.
The team was renamed Chiayi Tienching after receiving sponsorship from Tien Ching Energy, a solar energy service and optoelectronics production firm in Chiayi County.
CTFA secretary-general Fang Ching-jen said the league matches follow futsal international regulations, with two 20-minute halves.
“This year the clubs have more players focused on the futsal game. In the past, we had futsal teams, like Tatung, Taipower and Ming Chuan University, with players mainly trained for the outdoor 11-a-side game,” Fang said.
Regarding the national squad, Fang said that they are to play in the group qualifiers for the AFC Futsal Asian Cup.
“Although it has been pushed back due to the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on many Asian countries, we are scheduled to play matches in October,” Fang said.
After the season finishes in May, the CTFA would focus on preparing for the AFC qualifiers, sharpening players skills and identifying new talent, Fang said, adding that some key players are with Chiayi Tienching and CTFA U-20.
The nation’s main futsal league started in 2012, nearly a decade after Taiwan hosted the 2004 FIFA Futsal World Cup, with matches in Taipei and New Taipei City sports venues.
In that inaugural season, when the league was known as the Chinese-Taipei Enterprise Futsal League, Tainan’s club won the championship, while Ming Chuan University finished second.
The next rounds are set for March 6 and 7 at Wufeng University, followed by games on March 20 and 21 at Pingtung County Stadium.
The matches can be watched live on the CTFA.TV YouTube channel.
More than 100 spectators gathered for the season openers.
Officials and players said they would welcome more to attend, but they must wear masks and have their temperature taken at the entrance.
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