Monday, September 12, 2011


Safee's Cardiff Trial


He is set to enjoy a two-week trial with Welsh outfit Cardiff City and join the handful of local footballers, including the likes of Baddrol Bakhtiar (Chelsea) and Akmal Rizal Rakhli (RC Strasbourg, FCSR Haguenau), to enjoy stints abroad.

Safee has been inspirational for Harimau Malaya since the Asean Cup victory last year. He was the top scorer with five goals in the regional tournament.

He now plies his trade with Pelita Jaya in the Indonesian Super League and is a hit among the fans there.

Safee, who left for the UK at 3.30am this morning, managed to spend some time with Mailsport's Haresh Deol as he recollected the moments leading up to him flying off to Wales.

Here is what Safee had to say:

"It all started when Cardiff City contacted my agent about the arrangement. When my agent told me, I was in a state of shock. I didn't believe it at first, thinking it was a practical joke. Then my agent had to reassure me that it was for real; that Cardiff City was really interested in having me on board for a two-week stint.

It slowly sank in and naturally, I was elated over the whole matter. When things were finalised, I told my wife Sabarina (Yusof ) and she too was in disbelief but she and my whole family were very happy about the whole news.

I'm still very happy and really excited. In a few hours time, I'll be flying off but I do have several concerns — one being my old (knee) injury. I'm praying that I will be fit and well throughout my time there.

Language too will be an obstacle. But I hope I will be able to adapt quickly and make the best of my opportunity.

I know some people may treat this trip lightly but to me, being called up for trials with the first team is already an honour. Deep down inside I am bent on impressing them... perhaps this would help market my capabilities in that region.

Yes, I know I've been linked to the Bundesliga, too. A good showing in Cardiff would surely help me secure something in Europe.

I don't want to be seen as being too far-fetched so for now, I'm just going to enjoy myself by playing good football. I'm thankful, it is certainly a chance of a lifetime."

COMMENT - now far be it for me to be all cynical, or even a negative ninny, but anybody out there more than a little nonplussed by this sudden interest in Malaysian players from European clubs? We have also had talk about QPR being interested in Sali as well. Oh, wait a minute, both clubs are owned by Malaysians! Could that have anything to do with it I wonder?

Anyway, club owners don't pick the squad. At least not in Europe. Apart perhaps from Heart Of Midlothian. Just because the club owner, with his eye on some positive headlines back home, decides to invite a fellow countryman over to kick a ball around doesn't mean said player needs to start finding schools for his kids in Cardiff or West London. The manager has some say and anyway it is not guaranteed a Malaysian player would be granted a work permit.

Now, how about some foreigners taking over a Malaysian club or two eh? What's good for the goose and all that...

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