Saturday, 27 August 2011

Cardiff City to give trials to Safiq Rahim

Malaysian skipper Safiq Rahim is set to undergo trials with English Division Two club Cardiff City.

Club chairman Datuk Chan Tien Ghee said in an telephone interview from London yesterday that Selangor skipper Safiq had accepted an offer to attend trials after the Malaysia Cup in late Octo­ber.

“If everything goes well, Safiq will be the first Malaysian to play in England. We will give him a full trial ... the full works ... just like any other player,” assured Tien Ghee yesterday.

Safiq said that he had set his mind on plying his trade in Europe and would not want to let go of this golden opportunity to undergo trials with the English club.

“I have spoken to Datuk Chan and I am prepared to try my luck with Cardiff. Yes, it is a big challenge but I am game for it ... I want to be the first Malaysian to play in the English League,” said Safiq.

However, it will be tough for any Malaysian to ply his trade in the UK.

To qualify for a work permit, a non-Euro­pean Union player must have featured in at least 75% of his national team’s “A” level matches and his country must have averaged at least 70th in FIFA’s world rankings. While Safiq is a regular with the national team, the country’s ranking of 146 works against him.

“If he (Safiq) qualifies ... then we will do everything possible to get him over here. We are aware of the tough qualification conditions for Asian players but, if we don’t try, we will never make it,” said Tien Ghee.

“Let’s not worry ... for now we want Safiq to attend trials and then we will cross the bridge when the time comes.”

Tien Ghee also welcomed his counterpart Tan Sri Tony Fernandes’ ambition to send national striker Mohd Safee Sali for trials with his newly-acquired English Premier League club Queens Park Ran­gers.

“I was also contemplating trying out Safee, but I read that Tony wants to try him out for QPR. It is good for Malaysian football,” said Tien Ghee.

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