Taiwan’s national football team may have made a piece of football history that many other professional football teams in the sport might find hard to replicate in the future.
When taking to the field against Nepal in their recent 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying match on Tuesday, the national side decided to name a player who is the founder of a football league side within the country.
Yoshitaka Komori was a Japanese footballer before he retired, however he has since become a naturalised Taiwanese man, and decided to come out of retirement so he could play for his new country against Nepal in their fixture that was played in Kuwait.
Komori is the founder of Taiwanese Football Premier League side Taichung Futuro, and have only been fully founded in the last few years. The club had initially started off as an academy setup in 2016, but two years later it was turned into a men’s team that have competed in competitive league football.
Unfortunately, the 34-year-old was unable to make too much of a difference during his debut for his new country, as Taiwan were defeated 2-0 by Nepal. He did trouble the referee for the game, though, as he received a yellow card for his efforts. Those bettors who placed a Big Free Bet on Nepal winning this game will have been happy Komori did not have an impact!
Having lived in Taiwan for the last five years, he met the eligibility criteria that FIFA have set out, which allowed him to achieve his first cap and perhaps there will be a couple more in the offering for him?
Henry Vom Ca-nhum knows Komori rather well, as the Taiwan manager is also the manager of Futuro. The 34-year-old would have also known many of the players involved in the match, as six of the players in the Taiwan squad play for his club, as well.
The club are continuing to go from strength to strength under the manager’s guidance, having finished third last season (in just their second year in the Taiwan Premier League) and currently sit third in this year’s edition of the competition.
Komori may have been born in Japan – Yokohama specifically – but he had played football in Singapore and Thailand before deciding to quit the game in his 20s and look to return to a family business.
Speaking about his chance to play for the Taiwan national team, he said: “It is a rare opportunity to become a Taiwanese player. If I can be selected to play [for] the country, I will feel very proud!”
Now he has a taste for it, perhaps he will try and get a call-up for future contests?