Yaki Yen's journey, an international canary with Taiwan

The phrase 'nothing is impossible' becomes valuable when you know the history of Yaki And in (Puerto del Rosario, 1989). After a career in modest Spanish football marked by the Imagos, the Canarian central managed, “based on work and perseverance”, to make a name for himself in Asia. After getting promoted with the Qingdao HuanghaiYaki Yen faces “normally” his return to the Chinese Super League, a competition that he already played between 2016 and 2017 with the Changchun Yatai shirt. “It is another level, but I am going to demand the maximum, as always. I hope to be important for the team and to help achieve the objective, which is none other than permanence“he values ​​from the Qingdao rally in Suzhou.

So far, the history of Yaki Yen could resemble that of any other player who decides to try his luck in Asia. The detail to take into account is that, in 2016, the Canary went from playing in the Third Division with CD Cotillo to competing in the Chinese Super League with Changchun Yatai: “If you told me 10 years ago that I would be about to start my fifth season in China, I would have told you that you are crazy, but life takes many turns. With work and perseverance, you can go as far as you want and for me it is a luxury to be able enjoy football at the highest level in a country as beautiful as this one. ” During his four years at El Cotillo, Yaki combined soccer with the job of cook in a restaurant. “I thought I could never live from sports”, remember. Today, five springs later, he is one of the stars of the Qingdao Huanghai. Last year was included in the second eleven ideal and, in addition, it is international with Taiwan: “I am like a construction worker who wants to become an official. Striving and not giving up is what has led me to be where I am.”

Yaki Yen, with a Spanish mother and Taiwanese father, has been an international with Taiwan since 2015. An international story that began when his father met the president of the Federation and urged him to have his son for a friendly match. Everything went so well that, after a match against Iran, clubs from all over Asia began to take an interest in the Canarian central defender. This is how Yaki made the leap to Changchun Yatai, a club with which he played two seasons in the Chinese Super League before joining Qingdao Huanghai, Second. After two years in the silver category of Chinese football, the Spanish managed to return to the elite at the hands of Juanma Lillo, whose position will be filled this year by Pablo Machín: “We expect the best from him as he expects the best from us. It is always a pleasure to be able to have renowned and experienced technicians in Spain”.

The weirdest Super League

Due to the health emergency, the Chinese Super League will have a previously unpublished format this season. The competition will be divided into two groups that will compete in two different venues, Dalian and Suzhou. Once the first phase is over, the best teams will compete for the title and the rest will fight to avoid relegation. “I do not know if I will like it or not. What I am sure of is that it will be tough. 14 matches await us in 60 days,” said Yaki Yen, the only Spanish footballer in the competition along with Jonathan See (Beijing Guoan): “It is a coincidence that we are both canaries. It is an honor to be named alongside a footballer of his quality. If there are no more Spaniards it is because of the salary limit that the Federation imposed this year.”

Qingdao Huanghai, who has had nine other Spanish members since Pablo Machín's arrival, has been held in a hotel along with the other seven teams from Group B. “We cannot leave,” reveals Yaki Yen, who is subjected weekly to a test to diagnose covid-19. Without going further, This week more than 1,800 people, including soccer players, coaches and journalists, were tested for the virus and no positive was reported.. “Life here is normal. The only thing different from other seasons is that they take our temperature and there are many more hygiene measures,” says Yaki before starting his fifth season in China.