Taiwan’s participation in Indian Hero Intercontinental Cup not a waste of time

Taiwan will participate in the 2018 Hero Intercontinental Cup invitational four-team tournament which will be hosted by the Indian Football Association with all games taking place at the Mumbai Football Arena in the city of Mumbai.

The tournament has been planned as an annual event by the Indian FA, four nations will participate and with the competition running from June 1-10. The other teams involved are host nation India, New Zealand and Kenya (who are replacing South Africa due to them dropping out).  India – currently ranked 97th – are the highest ranked team in the tournament, Kenya is next at 113th Taiwan are ranked 121st and New Zealand are ranked 131st.  

Part of the negotiations for being invited was that all participating teams have to send their senior teams. Every team will play each other once in a round robin format but the slight difference to other similar competitions means we will see the top two of the group play each other again in a grand finale. The tournament has been scheduled in preparation for India’s Asian Cup campaign.

This is a great opportunity for Taiwan and again shows that everyone behind the scenes is busting a gut to help Taiwan play more games that have ever happened before during my eight years living in Taiwan. Playing games away and against teams from other associations will be an excellent experience for everyone who is selected in the squad, previously whenever Taiwan have played friendlies they have always played other Asian nations. By playing New Zealand and Kenya they’ll play against teams with very physical styles of play which to be brutally honest, isn’t on show in Asia as much as it is in other confederations around the world.

Taiwan has minimal experience in playing teams from outside of Asia, so they should take the opportunity to compete against opposition like Kenya and New Zealand when the chance arises. There has been some criticism from local media about participating in the competition which is frankly illogical. It isn’t only the local Taiwanese media who have been criticizing, there was a local based foreign ‘journalist’ who is well known for criticizing, moaning and causing a ruckus that recently went onto a foreign-run radio station to support the idea that this tournament is pointless, and a waste of time and money. A lot of the information this ‘journo’ said was just a carbon copy of the Chinese article published in Next Magazine a couple of weeks ago.

Taiwanese people may not have much experience of how football works in other countries, but foreigners should know very well that other Football Associations take part in playing loads of friendlies, or ‘pointless competitions’. These games are played for a reason, without playing games how can you improve or prepare for your next competitive fixtures. Too much attention is being paid on the countries rankings who they will face because Kenya play tough opposition in African qualifying, New Zealand play weaker teams in their attempts to qualify for the World Cup, but all their friendly games have been against tough opposition and their last game came against Peru who dumped New Zealand out of the World Cup. India is ranked in the top 100, this could be a bit of a ‘false’ ranking but India has been performing fairly well in AFC competitions especially Asian Cup qualifying and have qualified for the Asian Cup in Dubai next year.

Therefore these games are not a waste of time for Taiwan, regardless of what is being said in the ‘media’ by misinformed ‘journos’ be they local or foreign.

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