Taiwan has taken a youthful squad to the Hero Intercontinental tournament in India. Using the competition as preparation for the up-and-coming Asian Games.
This is pre-dominantly an under 23 competition with the rules allowing for three over-aged players.
Taiwan has taken the chance to call up many youth players. Much of this is due to Chinese clubs not allowing some of their players to leave on international duty. These players are some of Taiwan’s key players – namely Wen Chih-Hao, Chen Po-Liang and Yaki Yen, while Tim Chow who is playing in Scotland is currently out of contention through injury. Taiwan’s squad is often youthful looking, but with four experienced players missing out, the squad has an even more fresh look about it than usual.
Out of all the Taiwanese players currently playing in China, only Chen Chao-An and Chen Hao-Wei were released, meaning there is a total of ten under 23 players, and four under 21 players.
The competition in India is being played outside of FIFA’s international window, and therefore clubs are not obliged to release their players. The reason it is being played outside of the international window is that it is a World Cup year, and the normal international weeks allocated by FIFA fall when the World Cup is on. India no doubt want to try and draw a crowd to watch the games and entice sponsors to support the competition financially.
If you decide to run the competition at the same time as the World Cup the chance of people showing up to games and sponsors being interested in pumping money into the tournament is pretty low. Therefore the tournament will start on June 1st and the final will take place on June 10th. Taiwan will be aiming to be in that final and have a chance.
There will be an opportunity for a total of ten youth team players to make their mark on the senior national team. With many senior players not having the chance to play in the games, it gives the youngsters a chance to gain tournament experience before the Asian Games. The management team will also be looking to see how the youngsters do when it comes to playing competitively in a tournament away from home.
One player who a lot of fans will be happy to see back in the national team setup is Onur Dogun who is otherwise known as Chu En Lu. The naturalised Taiwanese striker has returned to Taiwan to play for Tatung after he left his club in Chinese League Two. Onur was the player who scored the winning goal in the famous game that took place on Taiwan’s national day. This goal has won him a place in a lot of Taiwanese football fans hearts and fans will be glad that he has managed to find a new club.
As Tsai Shuo-the (Hasus TSU), Tu Shao-chieh (Ming Chuan University),, Wang Geon-myeong (Cheongju City), Chen Sheng-wei, Chen Hung-wei (both Hasus TSU), Wu Yen-shu (Hualien High School FC) Wei Mao-ting and Chen Ching-hsuan (both Hang Yuen / Fujen University) all have their chance to make their senior debuts in India.
Taiwan has had a good record so far under English manager Gary White but this will be one of his toughest challenges so far as Taiwan come up against India, New Zealand and Kenya. If the youthful side manages to win games without influential captain Chen Po-Liang who is also Taiwan’s top scorer with 25 goals, then they will have done excellently. It is going to be interesting to see how the young players get on, but one thing is for certain – this young team will be heading to India to attack teams and win games. Taiwan is going into this with a winning mentality and positivity, they aren’t there to just make up the numbers and India, Kenya and New Zealand shouldn’t take Taiwan lightly.
Taiwan will face India in the first game of the tournament on Friday 1st June, with the match kicking off at 22:30 Taiwan time.