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New coach vows to make Taiwan's soccer team more aggressive

2011/07/13 22:49:02

Taipei, July 13 (CNA) Taiwan's national soccer team is now led by a South Korean coach after a recent 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier victory boosted the country's enthusiasm for the sport, the Chinese Taipei Football Association said Wednesday.

Lee Tae Ho, a retired South Korean national footballer, took the helm after the Taiwanese team, ranked 165th in the world, beat 144th-ranked Malaysia 3-2 in a qualifying match in Taipei on July 3.

This marked the first time in 11 years that Taiwan defeated a top-150 team in an international match.

The 50-year-old, two-time World Cup participant said he hopes the team will become more aggressive under his one-year leadership instead of focusing on defense as it previous did.

"I prefer the attacking style of football, which means when the opponents make one goal, we must try to make two," the former Asian All-Star player said.

Taiwan was lucky to have found a good coach who had led many clubs and universities, including the Youth Team, said Lu Kun-shan, the football association's president.

Although Taiwan failed to advance to the second round due to insufficient aggregate goals, Lee said the enthusiasm shown by the more than 15,000 fans in the venue left him impressed.

Lee's first hurdle as coach will be a friendly match with Singapore on July 18. Taiwan was invited to compete against the Southeast Asian country after its impressive defeat of Malaysia.

Singapore will face Malaysia in the second round of the Asian World Cup qualifiers later this month, and wants some practice with Taiwan's team first.

Meanwhile, FIFA sent six delegates to Taipei from July 4-10 to help the football association review its operations and map out a two-year development program for a country that has no professional soccer league.

The plan includes establishing a panel responsible for developing soccer at the entry level, proposing an eight-year coach nurturing program, and organizing matches at different ages around the country, said the association.

One of Lu's ultimate goals is to form a professional league in Taiwan, with 12 teams for men and six for women's soccer. He also hopes the men's team can break the top 100 by 2019.

(By Kendra Lin)