National soccer team refuses to attend pre-match event
Chen Po-liang ( ), captain of the Chinese Taipei National Football Team, yesterday refused to attend the pre-match press conference for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifications against Thailand, instead blasting the Chinese Taipei Football Association’s (CTFA, ) failure to invite their head coach. Chen took to his Facebook page, vehemently stating that as the CTFA had failed to invite the national team’s Head Coach Chen Kuei-jen ( ) and other coaching staff to the conference, “the whole team will not attend the press conference, as it is not an official meeting held by FIFA.”
He further stated that Taiwan’s soccer environment will never improve unless its soccer players “band together in these hostile circumstances.”
The CTFA only invited Chen and three other team members, and had yet to disclose the reason as to not extending the invitation to the head coach and coaching staff.
Chen emphasized that as the match against Thailand is approaching, which will kick off on June 16 at the Taipei Municipal Stadium ( ), the CTFA’s carelessness is illogical and a blow to the team’s morale.
The head coach’s importance lies in his or her complete understanding of the team’s condition and game strategy, Chen explained in his Facebook statement.
Chen also pointed out that in any pre-match media conference; the star is usually the head coach, and that his or her interview is often the highlight of the entire conference.
The Chinese Taipei National Football Team will be competing with Thailand to gain qualifications for both the 2018 Russia World Cup and 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup.
The two teams are in Group F, which also includes Iraq, Vietnam and the disqualified Indonesia.
An empty table is seen at the press event for the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 match between Chinese Taipei and Thailand, yesterday. Chinese Taipei players, including the team’s star player Chen Po-liang ( ), boycotted the event to protest the organizer’s failure to invite their head coach.