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Taiwan national football team coach leaves to train Hong Kong

2018/09/11 11:28:44

Gary White (CNA file photo)

Taipei, Sept. 11 (CNA) Following the failure of the Taiwan football authorities to extend the one-year deal of national football team head coach Gary White, he was unveiled as the new coach of Team Hong Kong Monday.

According to a press release issued by the Asian Football Confederation, the deal was announced Monday.

"Gary joins us with a wealth of experience at the international level having previously managed four senior national teams, his knowledge of football in Asia was also a factor we took into consideration in making his appointment," the press release quoted Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) CEO Mark Sutcliffe as saying.

"I wish him well and call upon all football stakeholders in Hong Kong to get behind the new head coach and work with him to achieve the success we all crave."

The 44-year-old former professional player thanked HKFA for giving him this opportunity.

"It is an honor to lead the Hong Kong team and I am very motivated to improve, progress and develop the team," he said.

"I have been in the opposite dug out a few times and I can see the potential in the players, especially some of the younger guys coming through. The lead in time to the first matches is short and I am looking forward to getting started on this challenging role."

According to HKFA, White will spend his first few weeks assessing the players and meeting the clubs. He will take charge of two international matches in October against Thailand at home, and Indonesia before leading the team into the East Asian football Federation Round 2 Qualifiers in November, where they face Taiwan on Nov. 14.

Since signing a contract with Taiwan's Chinese Taipei Football Association (CTFA) in September 2017, White led the national team to seven consecutive home wins, the most recent an exhibition game on Sept. 7 against Malaysia in Taipei.

Three years ago, the country was ranked 182nd out of 211th FIFA member associations. However, in the latest rankings released in August, Taiwan, competing under the name Chinese Taipei, jumped to No. 125.

During an exclusive interview with CNA in July, White said he was in talks about a possible extension with CTFA, but with upcoming elections for CTFA top management posts, he was unsure about his future in Taiwan.

"As far as I am concerned, I am here for the long-term but it all depends on politics," he said.

He said he had proved that Taiwan football can work and "you don't want to change if something is working."

"If you take us (coaching team) out of the equation the reality is football (in Taiwan) will go back 10 years. We moved on more in eight months than the past 50 years," he said.

"The goal is the top 100, the other goal is to win major competitions. I know how to do it and I am doing it," he concluded.

The CTFA has yet to issue a statement explaining why it refused to renew White's contract or announce who will take over as head coach of Team Taiwan.

(By Joseph Yeh)