Malaysia sets up academy with Cardiff

KUALA LUMPUR - Southeast Asian champions Malaysia have set up an academy with English Championship club Cardiff City in a bid to improve their youth teams.

The academy, to be located in Malaysia, will also help to facilitate exchange programmes between Cardiff City and Malaysian coaches.

"Through this collaboration, we hope we can gain something by having programmes that we share together," Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) deputy president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah told the New Straits Times after witnessing Cardiff beat Derby County 4-1 on Saturday.

"Someday we hope to see Malaysian players playing for Cardiff."

The Welsh club were taken over by Malaysian duo Chan Tien Ghee and Vincent Tan last May and currently sit in third place in the Championship, where the top two teams earn automatic promotion to the Premier League.

"This is not a trophy asset uniform. This club is Welsh, we are only the custodians," said club chairman Chan. "They know that, we know that and we have this pleasure of having some participation.

"We hope that we can share this with Malaysians at home and of course the Welsh people in this country."

Despite winning the southeast Asian title in December, having a successful domestic league and football being hugely popular in the country, Malaysia are ranked only 138 by FIFA and have been striving for ways to improve.