Q and A - Taicheng Lions Attempt to Navigate League Playoffs

We managed to take time to catch up with Taicheng Lions manager Mao Cortes as he prepares for their first attempt at joining the Taiwan Premier League. We ask about their partnership with Taicheng and their reasons behind this new venture.

When did the idea to join the Taiwan Premier League Materialise?

Many of our players have played in Taiwan Premier League in the last two years so they have had this idea in their minds for a while. Last October after our training, some of our players officially proposed it to me; around the same time, Taicheng friends told me about their long-term plan in Taiwan. We had an official meeting in November and decided to give a try for 2018 qualifiers. We started this project on December 1st 2017.  

What were the reasons behind Lions decision to join the Taiwan Premier League?

The main reason was to protect our team. Recently many of our key players and managers have deviated their attention to other teams in Taiwan Premier League because they are skilful and want to play in the highest level possible. These other teams think for themselves and don’t care about Red Lions. We want to offer our players the opportunity to play in the top level within our own team so we don’t lose players and can make them happier.  

How did the partnership between Taicheng and Lions happen?

I played with their coaches a couple of times and met one of the key investors of Taicheng before discussing Taiwan Premier League. They are very nice people and love football. Taicheng have a very interesting project in Taiwan, their managers, coaches and staffs have a lot of knowledge, experience and passion for football but they are relatively new in Taiwan. We have 35 years of history and titles in Taiwan; we know the players and the dynamic of Taiwanese football. Our values and philosophy match, and we share the same interest so when we met, we realized our numerous synergies and decided to develop this idea quickly. To be honest it was them who sparked the idea.  

For those readers who haven’t heard of Taicheng could you please explain a little about them?

Taicheng Football Academy is the soccer branch of Jiugong Consulting Company, mainly focus on developing youth potential, it is an enterprise with very goodwill in Taiwan. They have a partnership with World Sports Academy, a worldwide athletic-academic consultancy with a presence in 5 continents. Taicheng coaches have PRO license and years of experience, providing a strong competitive advantage. Their aim is to develop world-class soccer players and teams in a systematic and imaginative manner that guarantees performance at the highest level of competition.

How do you feel your preparation for the qualifiers has gone?

Unfortunately, we haven’t had much time to prepare. For the qualifiers we can’t use our players that played last year for first division teams so we had to find new players, it took a lot of time and energy. After that, we have had to integrate the team and develop strategies, all of these in a very short period of time. Our coaches are highly competent and our players skilful, I wish we had had a few more weeks to prepare but there are only 3 days more. We need to keep working hard and give our best to qualify.  

Are there any players to watch out for in your squad?

All of them have talent and special skills, that’s why we chose them, of course, there are some players that highlight but we don’t want to reveal our cards before the battle ;)

If you succeed in navigating the playoffs what are your expectations for the season ahead? And will Red Lions still participate in the other amateur leagues they’re involved in?

We always want to win any league or tournament that we join; it is in our team DNA. We know it is not easy but we will work hard to make it happen sooner than later.
Yes, we will also participate in amateur leagues; we want to offer a wide range of playing opportunities to our members according to their skills and available time.

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