The 2023 Taiwan Primary School Football World Cup Invitational is to see the soccer tournament go international for the first time this year when it starts on Wednesday at a university in Taipei.
The tournament, which was first launched in 2019, is being held from Wednesday to Friday at the University of Taipei Gymnasium in Tianmu Admission is free.
For the first time in the tournament’s history, international soccer teams have been invited, including from Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan and Indonesia, the event co-organizer Taiwan Good Association said in a statement.
Photo: Lo Pei-de, Taipei Times
The inclusion of teams from those countries is consistent with the government’s New Southbound Policy, as well as the organization’s mission to promote international cultural exchanges, the association said.
Vice President William Lai (賴清德), in remarks at a news conference to announce the event on Wednesday, referred to a trip to Germany when he was Tainan mayor, during which he visited an exhibition about famous soccer teams from around the world.
He was pleased to see a display on the Taiwan women’s national soccer team, Lai said.
The team, which put in a strong showing from the 1970s to 1990s, won three championships in the Asian Football Confederation Women’s Asian Cup in 1977, 1979 and 1981.
The Taiwan women’s national soccer team even reached the quarter-final stage at the first FIFA Women’s World Cup in China in 1991.
Soccer used to be big in Taiwan, but with the local sports scene becoming increasingly diverse, it receives less attention than it used to, Lai said.
“Football is one of the most popular sports in the world,” he said. “If Taiwan does well in the sport, it will help to promote social unity and raise the country’s international profile.”
Toward the end of the news conference, Lai put jerseys on two players who are to represent Taiwan in the competition from Taichung Sie-He Elementary School and Hualien County Dongli Elementary School, wishing them good luck.
In conjunction with the competition, there is also to be a “young farmers’ produce exhibition,” enabling the audience and international visitors to enjoy locally grown fruit.
Agriculture and Food Agency Director-General Hu Jong-i (胡忠一) said 30 produce vendors are to be featured on the sidelines of the event.
“We will present national teams from other countries with Taiwanese fruit,” Hu said. “We will be able to promote local produce and share the highest-quality fruit with the world.”
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