Taiwan faces Kenya tonight in their last game of the Hero Intercontinental Cup which is taking place in India. Taiwan had a tough opening game and suffered a heavy 5-0 defeat against India but was superb against New Zealand only losing the game on a dodgy penalty call.
The first match against India was obviously a big wake up call for the young Taiwanese side who are preparing for the Asian Games which is a U23 competition. Taiwan now cannot get into the final of the competition due to losing their first two games but will be desperate to score and at least not lose a game before they return to Taiwan.
It took me the whole first half to find a working stream for the game against New Zealand but what I saw in the second half from Taiwan was excellent, when you consider most of the Taiwanese players are based in Taiwan, and play in the domestic Taiwan Premier League where most of the teams are either semi-pro or amateur then the performance should be considered to be excellent.
Contrast Taiwan’s squad with New Zealand’s who have a team of full professionals at clubs in countries with strong domestic competition then it really does show how well Taiwan did. New Zealand’s game was pretty physical especially compared to what Taiwan are used to coming up against, and that should hold them in good stead for a match against Kenya as most African sides can play a physical style of football.
It was good to see that even though Taiwan was faced with a challenge they aren’t used to they didn’t look to hide in the game, they tried to match the fight shown by New Zealand and that was shown in the end result. The standout Taiwanese player taking the fight to New Zealand and driving Taiwan forward was without a doubt Wang Ruei who plays for NTUPES (National Taiwan University of Physical Education), he was an absolute beast at the back, winning and tackling everything then driving out of defence with the ball with his head up looking for his teammates.
Whatever the result against Kenya, this is excellent preparation for the side before the Asian Games, as this current Taiwan squad doesn’t have much experience or caps. The defeats might dampen the confidence of the team but they really shouldn’t when put into context, therefore if you look at in the right context then this has been a steep and invaluable learning curve for the young squad.
Taiwan vs Kenya kicks off tonight at 22:30 (Taiwan time)