Taipei, Nov. 4 (CNA) The Royal Blues Taipei won the 2018 Taiwan Cup International Immigrants Soccer Competition held at Xinzhuang Sports Complex on Sunday by defeating a team of Vietnamese.
The team clinched the title with a 4-1 victory over the Xinzhuang football club, composed of Vietnamese players, after winning quarterfinal and semifinal matches earlier in the day. The victory came with a trophy and NT$20,000 in prize money.
Royal Blues Taipei manager Robert Iwanicki told CNA after the match that he was surprised to see how competitive the opposing Vietnamese team was, especially in the early going when it took a 1-0 lead not long after the opening whistle.
He said they deserved credit because they only practice on Sundays, unlike his team which regularly practices two or three times a week and competes in the top tier Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL).
But as time went on, the Royal Blues gradually found their tempo and momentum to clinch the victory and their first title in the competition.
Iwanicki said his team just finished the 2018 TFPL season and is now preparing for next season.
It competed in the three matches Sunday with only 14 players, according to Iwanicki, with many of them younger players or people who just joined the team following a recent tryout.
Iwanicki said his team was glad to be invited to the second edition of the International Immigrants Soccer Competition, organized by Taiwan's Global Workers' Organization.
"We are a multicultural team, and we are part of this society," he said.
Players on the winning team come from over a dozen different countries, including Spain, Colombia, Haiti, The Gambia, Switzerland, Germany, Japan and Poland, among others. Some are international students while others are working in Taiwan.
The other seven teams competing in the semifinals of the International Immigrant Soccer Competition on Sunday were from Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Matches in the first two rounds last 60 minutes while the final was 70 minutes.
Karen Hsu (徐瑞希), secretary-general of the Taiwan's Global Workers' Organization told CNA that her NGO organized the first international immigrants football tournament in 2015.
"We hope that the tournament can serve as a goal for migrant workers in Taiwan who are football lovers to aim for," Hsu said. Migrant workers are not in Taiwan just for work but also seek out regular pastimes such as playing sports, she said.