The Taiwan Mulan Football League begins today, with the spotlight on a “clash of the giants” of the women’s game in Taichung, where defending champions Hualien City are to be visitors for what is expected to be a fierce contest against Taichung Blue Whale.
Hualien City head coach Chu Wen-pin and team captain Wang Hsiang-hui on Thursday said at the Mulan League launch event in Taipei that they are confident of repeating their championship-winning form, but other clubs have strengthened their squads, so improved teamwork and performance would be needed in every match.
“The other teams made signings during the off-season, boosting their squads with the addition of new players. It will take at least three rounds of play to get to know their tactics, strengths and weaknesses,” Chu said. “As champions, we are under pressure, as all the other teams will be aiming to beat us. So our players must redouble their efforts and have better teamwork to reach the top again.”
Photo: Liao Yu-wei, Taipei Times
Chu led the team on an unbeaten run last year — 12 wins and three draws — to take the league title, then added the “double” by defeating Taichung Blue Whale 1-0 to claim the Mulan Football League Cup at the end of the season.
“Our players have gained lots of experience over the years, and we have a nice mix of youngsters, newly established regular starters and a core of veterans,” Wang said. “I believe the good chemistry, as well as players competing to get into the starting lineup, will be key if we want to defend the title this year.”
Taichung Blue Whale, who won three consecutive league titles from 2017 to 2019, are expected to be Hualien City’s main challengers this season.
Michelle Pao is to lead the Blue Whale attack on the back of winning last season’s Golden Boot with 21 goals in 15 games.
They have also bolstered their defense by signing Thailand international Pitsamai Sornsai from Inter Taoyuan and Hong Kong international goalkeeper Ng Cheuk Wai.
The league kicks off at 3pm today when Hang Yuan face Kaohsiung Sunny Bank at the Fu Jen Catholic University campus in Sinjhuang, New Taipei City, while Inter Taoyuan host Taipei Bravo Bear at Taoyuan’s Qingpu Football Field.
Hualien City’s clash with Taichung Blue Whale kicks off at 4pm at the Taiyuan Football Field in Taichung.
The Taiwan Football Premier League begins tomorrow, with defending men’s champions Tainan TSG taking on Hang Yuan at 4:30pm at Fu Jen Catholic University, while Taipower FC face Land Home-National Taiwan University of Sport at Hsinchu County Second Stadium in Zhubei.
Promoted CPC FC begin their campaign by hosting Taichung Futuro at 6:30pm at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung.
At Ming Chuan University at 6:30pm, Tatung take on Flight Skywalkers, formerly known as the Red Lions, who have a lineup consisting mainly of players from the University of Taipei.
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