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Tim Chow arrives in Taiwan to play for national soccer team

2017/11/07 19:37:06

Tim Chow (周定洋)

Taipei, Nov. 7 (CNA) Tim Chow (周定洋), a Scottish professional soccer player of Taiwanese descent, arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday and will represent the national team in an upcoming Asian Cup qualifier in Turkmenistan after last-minute issues were resolved.

Speaking to the Central News Agency following his arrival at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Tuesday afternoon, Chow said he was excited about joining the national squad for the first time.

"It's been a bit of whirlwind the past week, and I'm really excited to be back here to get my residency permit," Chow said.

The 23-year-old Chow obtained a Republic of China (Taiwan) passport on Oct. 30.

Chow was to visit the National Immigration Agency later Tuesday to apply for a Taiwan residency permit to ensure the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) recognizes his eligibility to play for the team, his agent said.

He will fly to Qatar on Wednesday to join the national team, which has been training there since Nov. 2 and will head to Turkmenistan on a charter flight on Nov. 12 for the Nov. 14 match.

This is Chow's second visit to Taiwan. He visited the island in late May to familiarize himself with the country of his grandfather.

The player's arrival ended a week of uncertainty over whether he will be eligible to represent Taiwan's national soccer team in the Nov. 14 match against Turkmenistan, one of the qualifiers for the 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup.

However, a law firm representing the player issued a statement last Thursday, which said Chow would not be able to play because of issues with Taiwan's Chinese Taipei Football Association (CTFA).

The STRing Law Firm in Taipei said the team's coach, Gary White, also a British national, expressed concern over Chow's current physical condition. In addition, Chow and the CTFA had yet to agree on a salary and other terms, it added.

After a week of negotiations, the CTFA said earlier Tuesday that all outstanding issues have been resolved.

Asked to comment on the previous controversies, Chow said "what happened in the past is in the past." He now wants to focus on making the best of the next few days and fitting in with the national team.

Although Chow has never played with the team before, he said he has seen highlights of their games and is confident he will be able to fit in with the team's playing style.

"I will do my best to help the team however I can," he noted.

Pursuing ROC citizenship has been a long and winding road for Chow.

Born in the U.K., Chow said his grandfather was born in China when it was the Republic of China and lived in Shanghai before moving to Taiwan after World War II. He then lived in Taiwan until emigrating to Britain in 1956.

Chow's bloodline makes him eligible to obtain ROC citizenship in accordance with ROC law.

The CTFA first contacted Chow four years ago, hoping to recruit the midfielder who plays for Scottish Premiership club Ross County to boost the competitiveness of Taiwan's nation team, which has lagged behind other Asian soccer teams.

Taiwan is currently ranked third in the qualifying group, one point behind Bahrain and Turkmenistan, with two games left.

A loss in Turkmenistan on Nov. 14 would likely knock the team out of contention for one of the group's top two spots and qualification for the 2019 tournament.

However, a win or a draw would boost the chances of qualification with only a match against Singapore, the group's last-placed team, standing in the way.

Taiwan has not made an Asian Cup final since 1968, when it finished fourth in a five-team tournament. The main draw has been opened to 24 teams this year, after being limited to 12 in 1996 and 2000, and 16 in 2004, 2007, 2011 and 2015.

Taiwanese fans are hoping Chow will help the team defeat Turkmenistan and keep hopes alive for 2019.

(By Joseph Yeh)
Enditem/AW