COME Sunday, Cardiff players will troop into Wembley Stadium for the Carling Cup final with “Malaysia” emblazoned on their jerseys.
A very patriotic moment indeed for all Malaysians and especially to the Malaysian owners. Their opponents are overwhelming favourites Liverpool.
For a team that was founded in 1899, and relegated to the Fourth Division in 1986, Cardiff FC have come a long way.
Winners of the Welsh Cup on 22 occasions and the only non-English club to lift the FA Cup as well as the FA Charity Shield in 1927, they are just a step away from the pinnacle of the Premier League.
In their first appearance in the UEFA Cup, (1967/68), they were a surprise semi–finalist.
Tagged as the Bluebirds, Cardiff is the largest city in Wales and the 10th largest in Britain.
The introduction of Malky Mackay as the team manager in June last year has injected a sense of urgency and belief in the team.
Mackay has not made any major signings but he remains very shrewd in getting the best from his players.
With the support of the Malaysian owners they are well perched in the Championship League and remain optimistic of an automatic promotion or even a play-off .
So, there is always a first for Cardiff .
> They were the first non-English club to win a major English tournament which is the FA Cup and FA Charity Shield in 1927;
> First Welsh club to make the semis in the UEFA Cup1967/68;
> The possibility of winning promotion to the Premier League next season; and
> The possibility of another run in Euro next season after a lapse of almost 45 years.
In Cardiff , they have Mark Hudson, Rudy Gestede and Solomon Taiwo as potential match winners.
With the chants of “boleh...boleh” by the Cardiff and Malaysian fans, Cardiff are in a position to inflict the same damage Birmingham did to Arsenal last year
A match not to be missed and Mark Hudson may just lift the Carling Cup come Sunday.
N. SURESH R. NARAYANAN,
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