Pan Wen-chieh (潘文傑) is becoming Taiwan’s first cult hero


The Taiwan first team goalkeeper Pan Wen-Chieh is firmly on his way to becoming the first ever footballing cult hero in Taiwan. The reason for this is down to Pan’s actions on the pitch. The keeper has made some excellent saves since he was brought into the squad from obscurity by Gary White and his fellow coaches. What has adored him to Taiwanese footballing fans is that every save he makes is greeted with fist pumps which shows how much desire he has to play for Taiwan.

This wasn’t always the case though before Gary White was appointed Pan was unheard of, other than by people who watched the Taiwanese football league. With low crowds in the Taiwanese league, not many people had heard of Pan when he was drafted into the national team. Pan has played for the biggest side on the island Tatung since 2012. This makes it all the more bizarre that he hadn’t been called up to the national team in the past.

After Pan had played in the Chinese Taipei Invitational tournament, this prompted questions to Gary White on why Pan had never been picked in the squad before. It turned out he is a difficult character, and unsurprisingly looking at his on-field actions rather eccentric. Although out of all the goalkeepers in the world, the ones who reach the very top are often hard to deal with. As they say, you have to be a bit mad to want to be a goalkeeper. As Gary White alluded to that very point in the press conference.

It’s quite disappointing from a fans perspective that Taiwan has had this guy available since 2012 but have only started to select him recently. When a passionate character is seen as hard work we might as well all give up and go home, in my opinion. From the outside, it looks like his difficult character is down to a drive to succeed. 

As Pan hopes, his teammates to, therefore, share this drive. So when his teammates are not showing as much fight and desire he seems the kind of guy to really let them know about it. From the outside, this would make his hard work. Furthermore, people in all aspects of life should never confuse passion and desire for being a flaw. As these are the exact traits that will get you to the highest level you can possibly achieve. 

Before the current coaching team came in it looked like they hadn't realised Taiwan really needs people like this for the country to kick on and get more people excited by the game. Think about it logically, when you went to watch football growing up what did you love seeing your team do more than anything? For me at least I loved seeing my team getting stuck into the opposition and sweating blood for the cause (or maybe that’s just Newcastle United fans but I’m sure it isn’t).

Until now, young Taiwanese football fans have never had any player like this only the ‘nice boys’ have been getting picked previously. Now when children in Taiwan are taking to games they too can see this kind of player who isn’t afraid to show his emotions of passion, desire and fight to win games for Taiwan. 

Pan is then without a doubt the exact player to inspire more youngsters to get involved in the sport and the small rabble of committed Taiwanese fans have an unoriginal song about him already; which shows his popularity as they normally don’t have many songs directed to individual players.

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