The CTFA has announced the reappointment of Englishman Gary White as head coach of Taiwan’s men’s national squad, who are preparing for an international friendly against Thailand on June 16 at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung.
White was previously in charge from September 2017 to September 2018 when Taiwan rose from the 140s to 121st in the FIFA world rankings.
Although there has been some negative reaction, the players have in the main welcomed White’s return, saying that he has good international experience from coaching in other nations and the team previously played well under him.
Michael Chandler, co-owner of Master Football Academy in Taipei, was positive about the reappointment.
“I believe Gary White’s reappointment as national team head coach makes sense. During his previous tenure, White had an immediate impact on Taiwan’s FIFA ranking, which is a promising sign of his ability to develop the team and bring out their potential,” Chandler said.
“As an experienced and successful coach, he can bring valuable knowledge and experience to the team, and contribute to the overall professionalization of football in Taiwan,” said Chandler, who has been a prominent figure in the promotion and development of grassroots soccer in Taiwan since 1999.
However, these are turbulent times for the CTFA after new chairman Wang Lin-hsiang cut its youth programs and secondary-level competitions due to financial shortcomings, reportedly NT$90 million (US$2.93 million) of debt.
The money problems got worse this week when the director for the women’s players’ union told reporters that the CTFA still owes it NT$1.25 million for travel and other expenses incurred when attending the qualifiers for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand in February.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Pei-yu is helping with the negotiations and yesterday the Sports Administration said it would assist and expedite the payment.
Meanwhile, in the Taiwan Football Premier League, Leopard Cat and AC Taipei are among the front-runners to challenge reigning champions Taiwan Steel Group (TSG).
Leopard Cat (formerly Tatung) in Taoyuan on Wednesday were held to a draw when Taichung Futuro grabbed a late goal to level the match at 2-2.
Leopard Cat forward Chen Po-hao dribbled past two defenders and the goalkeeper to fire home an equalizer on the hour mark after Futuro striker Lee Mao had opened the scoring in the first half.
Japanese midfielder Naoyuki Yamazaki gave Leopard Cat the lead from the penalty spot in the 74th minute, before former Japan international Takayuki Morimoto scored a well-timed header in the dying minutes.
AC Taipei had their three-game winning streak snapped, slumping to a 1-0 loss to Ming Chuan University, with the lone goal early in the second half a volley by midfielder Hsiung Yuan-kuang.
Leopard Cat FC and AC Taipei are in second and third place on 14 and 12 points respectively, behind leaders TSG on 21 points, after they picked up their seventh win of the season.
TSG fell behind at the end of the first half when South Korean striker Joo Ik-seong smashed in a fierce shot for Hang Yuan to take a 1-0 lead.
However, TSG forward Marc Fenelus notched two second-half goals, the first from a free-kick shortly after the break, then pocketed all three points with a thumping header with only three minutes remaining.
The other midweek result saw Taipower pick up just their second win of the season, a 3-1 victory over the Taipei Dragons.
In the women’s league, four teams are locked in a close race for the title after four matches, with Hang Yuan level on seven points with Taichung Blue Whale and Kaohsiung Sunny Bank, while Taipei Bravo PlayOne are only a point behind in fourth.
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