Yaki Yen and Tim Chow look like they'll never play for Taiwan again

Yaki Yen and the former Wigan Athletic man Tim Chow are two players who have both benefited by representing Taiwan. They are also players that would greatly improve the national side as they are part of a small group that are playing professional football who are eligible to represent Taiwan. 

The curious case of Yaki Yen

Yaki Yen has played 11 times in his career for Taiwan and to be honest, it feels like a lot more as he had that big of an influence on the defence.

The Spanish born defender, who was eligible to represent Taiwan through his father was a solid influence on the side's defence. 

But at some point during the short period he represented the national side of Taiwan, he fell out with the coach Toshiaki Imai during his time in charge. He has since been back in the setup but he played his last match for his country in March 2018 under Gary White as he kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory over Singapore.

You would think though with a history with managers it shows it is possible it could happen again, as none of us sees what goes on behind the scenes.

What we are saying here, is there is nothing in the media saying he has fallen out with anyone but as he is one of the very few professional players Taiwan can call on, it seems odd that he wouldn't be called up. 

Therefore this either points to a falling out, Yen refusing to play for Taiwan, or the Football Association or manager refusing to call him up for whatever reason. 

It is a sad situation because he has benefited greatly from being called up by Taiwan, as without those international caps, he wouldn't be playing in China for Qingdao Huanghai who have just been promoted to the CSL (Chinese Super League). 

This is because players like him are very attractive to CSL clubs as it helps them fill an Asian spot in their squads (AFC rules set foreigner limits on squads, but add an extra spot for foreign players from an Asian nation).

As lately Chinese clubs have been scanning far and wide to find players from Europe, South America and Africa who can fill these Asian player spots due to family heritage or international call ups through naturalisation, this move has seen Yaki benefit first hand.

I hope then that Yaki Yen can bite the bullet and represent Taiwan again and respect the fact they have given him an opportunity to play in a league which is pretty well respected, and one of the higher levels in Asia, as without Taiwan, he wouldn't be at Qingdao. 

The curious case of Tim Chow

To Tim Chow when the news broke that he could represent Taiwan, a lot of people got excited, because this is a player who has played football professionally in England and Scotland. It may seem like no big deal to folk who support big European countries, but for Taiwan, where the majority of the side is mostly semi-pro, this was big news.

There was a lot of excitement about it, and Tim himself seemed excited. That was until it all went tits up, and that happened very quickly too, which is infuriating. 

He made his debut in Turkmenistan, in a crucial qualifier that Taiwan could not afford to lose. Somehow they did lose it, but if they had any forward competent enough to bang the ball in the net when presented gilt-edged chance, after gilt-edged chance, then they would have qualified for the Asian Cup.

As things turned out, this was the closest Taiwan have and look like ever coming to getting into the Asian Cup finals. They lost that match 2-1, and it was the first, only, and looking like the last time we will ever see him Taiwan pull on that blue shirt.

That is because after being called up by Gary White to play in a friendly, it was said that a certain middle man rocked up at the airport and whisked him off for some unknown reason. 

This fella seemingly thought he was a big-time charlie because he pulled the same trick with Xavier Chen another former Taiwan player. The person in question being involved in two players not playing for Taiwan then sure does seem very fishy.

The question obviously, is why would he be whisked off by this random fella instead of the official CTFA (Chinese Taipei Football Association) representative. Did this middle man have an agreement with the CTFA that was broken? Did he act without the CTFA knowing? What did Tim himself know, or was he told a load of garbage? Who really knows.

The big issue and fallout came after he was whisked away by said middle man instead of the CTFA representative. Tim had flown his family over from the UK to watch him make his home debut for Taiwan, but Gary White said no player is above the team rules and told him he was booted from the squad for not turning up to the team hotel on time.

This, looking from the outside in, seems to have caused the CTFA and Tim Chow to burn his bridges with the Taiwan national team but hopefully things do change and we see him in Taiwan again.

Tim Chow now plays for Henan Jianye in the CSL, and he is another player who has benefitted from being classed as an 'Asian' foreign player. 

As with Yaki Yen, it is very unlikely that any team in the CSL would have looked to bring in Tim Chow if he was classed as an English player (his place of birth). The foreign player rule the AFC have in place once again showing how it can benefit players. 

Think what you will of Tim Chow's level compared to Europe, but he could have been a superstar in Taiwan because of being one of the very few Taiwanese players who have played in Europe. 

This is changing with the new breed of youngsters coming through as we see with Will Donkin at Stabaek in Norway and Emilio Estevez recently signing with Ado Den Haag in Holland. These are two players that have senior caps for Taiwan, while another is Miguel Sandberg who is making strides in Sweden impressing so much, in fact, he had a trial at QPR before COVID-19 forced him to return to Sweden.

Taiwan will be hoping that these youngsters value the chance Taiwan has given them in raising their profile on the international stage, even for a world minnow, because it has been a factor in them getting transfers to good European clubs that could become a stepping stone for the rest of their senior career.

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