The lively kick-off of the World Cup in Russia, this super-gathering event that gathers more than 3.2 billion people in the world, is undoubtedly the most popular sports cup in human history. However, for the four-year World Cup football match, for Taiwanese people, I am afraid there is a sense of familiarity and strangeness.
The Taiwanese themselves are not enthusiastic about football, but they still like to follow the trend of the World Cup. Therefore, before the World Cup kicks off, there will be a four-year “vicious tide supplement.” Like these four years, which footballer is most worthy of attention, which player is a football rule with “high skills and high face value” and even “What is offside”, many Taiwanese people must re-introduction.
Of course, many Taiwanese have become true football fans after the World Cup. In recent years, many TV stations have also introduced Premier League, Bundesliga and Champions League events so that Taiwanese fans can watch European football. Only in terms of proportion, the number of football fans in Taiwan is still relatively small, and the ratings of the games are generally not ideal.
Even the AFC Cup held each year, the elite clubs of Asian football leagues gathered together, but Taiwan is unfamiliar with the AFC Champions League because there is no professional league. In the midst of a football frenzy in Asia, Taiwan did not participate, not only in politics. Even in football, Taiwan was “marginalized” like an outsider.
After the first game in Japan took 2 to 1 to South America’s strong Hao Colombia, the Asian team’s performance was once again discussed by Taiwan fans. Many fans also spontaneously believe that they expect their national football team to stand on the world stage and compete against other national teams.
However, if we mention the strength of the representative team in Taiwan, it is true that in recent times, Taiwan has ushered in a fairly good peak period. According to the FIFA, the representative team in Taiwan was 121 in the world in May. It is the best result since the ranking was announced in history.
Originally in 2014, they still slipped 182, which was about the same as the Macau team. In the past two years, under the leadership of an English coach, Taiwan has gradually climbed to the present position in the international game by winning the streak of the Philippines, East Timor, and Singapore.
The main reason for the great progress has been in the past few years. Officials have adopted policies similar to those in Japan and Hong Kong in the early years and have actively domesticated foreign players as Taiwanese. From Chen Changyuan (Belgium) from 2011 onwards, Zhu Engle (Turkey) and Yin Yaji (Spain), to Zhou Dongyang and Shen Zigui (both from England) in recent years, these Chinese or foreign forces immediately made Taiwan’s strength possible. increase.
In addition, there are already many local players in Taiwan, such as Chen Bailiang (Hangzhou Greentown), Chen Haoyi, and Wen Zhihao (both Beijing Beikong) playing in the Chinese League. The overall strength of the Taiwan team has gradually increased. However, in the June friendly match, Taiwan lost again to India, New Zealand (Taiwan calls New Zealand) and Kenya (Taiwan calls Kenya). How to deal with the next level of the team has become a new topic for Taiwan football.
Football is “marginalized” in Taiwan
It is only ruthless to say that although football is very popular in the world, it is still a “marginalized” movement in Taiwan. Under the past history and education, Taiwan’s younger generation mostly likes baseball and basketball. Baseball is also referred to as the “national ball” by Taiwan’s officials. Even if the official only gets a name for baseball, it suddenly responds with a high profile.
However, to trace the history of Taiwan’s football, in fact, in the era of Japanese rule, football was already taught. Many schools also had football teams. In 1938, high school teams from Taiwan participated in the Cup for the first time in Japan.
At that time, the Republic of China on the mainland also established the “China National Sports Federation” in Nanjing in the “Capital” in 1924, and organized more than 30 teams to participate in the football league. Following the civil war between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party, the Kuomintang relocated to Taiwan and still participated in the creation of the Asian Football Federation in 1954.
In 1971, the “Republic of China” was forced to withdraw from the United Nations. At that time, the Chinese Football Association was forced to withdraw from the Asian Football Federation and transferred to the Oceania Football Association. In addition, Taiwan’s baseball game has repeatedly gained name abroad, allowing the Kuomintang authorities to vigorously implement baseball to “stabilize the people”. Although football pitches were widely set up at all levels of school, football was never implemented.
New South to “Football Diplomacy”
In 2002, Senegal in Africa participated in the World Cup for Japan and South Korea for the first time and won the top eight. At the time, Senegal was still a state of diplomatic relations with Taiwan. President Chen Shui-bian was pleased to invite the representative team of the country to Taiwan to meet with him. He held a football at a press conference and shouted: “2002 is the first year of Taiwan football.”
However, after 16 years have passed, Taiwan’s grass-roots football is still almost standing still, allowing many fans to use the phrase “This year is the first year of football” as a joke when each World Cup kicks off. With the departure of former friends Senegal and Costa Rica, even Panama, which broke diplomatic relations, has also played for the first time in the World Cup. In addition to the marginalization of world diplomacy in Taiwan, the football upsurge is undoubtedly marginalized.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen paid a visit to Africa’s “Single Friend” Schwartyni (formerly Swaziland) in Africa in April for the King’s 50th year of independence, Sri Lanka’s independence for 50 years and the establishment of diplomatic relations for 50 years. Yan Zhensheng, a researcher and international expert from the Institute for International Relations at the Political University at the time, told the “At these three 50th commemorative moments, it was a pity that Taiwan and Sri Lanka did not have a friendly football match.”
The reason is that football can best bring closer the friendship between countries, and Slovakia ranks 134 in the world, which is not far from Taiwan’s 121 and is not in a dilemma of losing a big score. Even Burkina Faso (52 in the world), which had not yet been cut off at the time, were the objects that Taiwan could discuss with each other. Taiwan aided the construction of basic soccer and exchanged for football cooperation with each other so that Chen Zhensheng sighed and lost his chance.
Now, the Cai government’s promotion of a “new southward policy” is also a good opportunity for Taiwan to exchange football with Southeast Asian countries. In the future, if Taiwan can develop a professional football league, it can also use a large number of Southeast Asian, Thai and Vietnamese countries to play.
However, with the diplomatic situation of the Taiwanese government has gradually become marginalized by China and is busy with its own internal reforms, it is still difficult to express love and care for football. Even though there are many “sports revitalization plans” and large budgets to promote football, but in the absence of active support and implementation steps, the World Cup is still one of Taiwan’s once-in-a-year people crazy, and Taiwan’s football community is short-lived for a month.