TFPL Team Preview: Will NTUS’ Italian Partnership Yield Results?

NTUS are hoping that a new partnership may translate to greater development prospects for their young players.

On April 10 NTUS football team announced a 3-year partnership with Italian industrial giant MAPEI. The team will take the name of MAPEI’s official distributor in Taiwan, Land-Home International Co. MAPEI is well known in Italy for being the parent company of Serie A club Sassuolo.

Although the full details of the agreement are undisclosed, head coach Zhao Rong-Rui will hope that “Land-Home NTUS” players will have the opportunity to play in Italy soon. If it happens, it will represent be a huge improvement on the current CTFA agreement, which sees players sent to J3 League side FC Ryukyu.

This season, Land-Home NTUS will once again fight to stay in the Premier League. Competition to avoid relegation promises to be even stiffer in 2020 with strengthened Taipei Red Lions and Ming Chuan University teams and new relegation rules.

The Taichung club’s main offensive threat will be the captain, Taiwan U23 international Gao Wei-Jie. The 22 year-old forward will aim to form a useful partnership with either former U19 international Chen Po-Yu (5 goals in 2019 TFPL), or teenager Tan Yi-Shan (3 goals in 2019 TFPL).

Despite the loss of several players during the offseason, including influential defender Cheng Hao to Taiwan Steel, NTUS manage to keep some of their key players. Taiwan international midfielder Chen Hung-Wei and experienced Chen Kai-Wen will stay with the team, whilst former U19 international defender Huang Tzu-Ming will bring some quality to a depleted defense.

Olivier Vidal

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