By Jason Pan / Staff reporter
Local soccer officials are aiming to elevate women’s soccer to the next level and ensure Taiwan qualifies for major Asian competitions, saying the nation must have more professional teams and a larger pool of players drawn from youth programs.
Taiwan women’s national team head coach Chan Hiu-ming in a presentation at CTFA headquarters in New Taipei City on Jan. 23 said that plans are under way to build new facilities, have enhanced physical conditioning for female players and set up three national training grounds in the north, south and east of the nation.
Taiwanese players would improve with better training regimes and by playing more competitive matches, Chan said, adding that by instituting youth programs the nation would look to produce more full-time players.
While admitting that Taiwan still has some distance to go to catch up with Asia’s first-tier teams — Japan, Australia, China, South Korea and North Korea — he said that Taiwan belongs in the second tier alongside Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia.
A Hong Konger who has been head coach since May last year, Chan said that most Taiwanese female players and officials are part-time and do other jobs, and he wants to have more full-time players so that Taiwanese soccer can reach a professional level.
“We estimate Taiwan right now only has about 25 full-time female footballers, including a few who are playing abroad. The CTFA has set a target for Taiwan to have 200 full-time players by 2028,” he said.
That would give the nation a better chance of qualifying for major Asian tournaments, he added.
The same goes for the coaching team that Chan has assembled.
“All of them are dedicated full-time to the national squad, no matter whether they are an assistant coach or a strength and conditioning coach. They must design training regimes catering to each individual player and track each player’s development,” he said.
Another key plan is to elevate the national women’s soccer league by organizing more matches and garnering more sponsors to provide financial support, while interspersing weekly rounds of matches with regular call-ups for national squad training, he said, adding that the long-term aim would be for all women’s clubs to turn professional.
Chan said that this year the national squad would train for upcoming international matches at the three main training grounds in the north, south and east of the nation, and that the “CTFA would organize three friendly matches against high-level opponents, then host an invitational international tournament at the end of the year.”
He emphasized the need for start-up programs for young female players at the grassroots level, and the need to start cultivating teenage players and those who are even younger.
The current national team players have the physical fitness and stamina required, but are not up to par in regards to speed when compared with other top Asian teams, he said.
“This can only be achieved by starting training regimes at the youth level to build up the core strength and physical conditioning required to get through an entire match. We need to focus more on ability, skills and speed to be able to match our opponents,” he said.
Chan replaced Yen Shih-kai, who held the position from April 2022 to May last year, and who also was interim head coach for three month in 2018.
Having played club soccer and futsal in Hong Kong, Chan began his managerial career in 2003 when he coached the youth team at Hong Kong’s Tai Po Football Club, before moving on to Eastern, HK Pegasus and Lee Man.
As well managing the Macau national team from 2016 to 2018, he led Lee Man to the Jockey Club Sapling Cup title in 2019.
Chan holds an Asian Football Confederation pro license, and is also a certified coaching and fitness instructor for the Asian confederation and FIFA.
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