Forgot Password

 

Register

 

Create your Connect ID

This will allow you to login to all DStv websites & applications




or
Login using
x

Email Reset

 




Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | League Cup

Michu and Pablo Hernandez © Action Images

Wembley date for Swansea and Bradford



Swansea City and fourth-tier giant-killers Bradford City are both chasing history in one of the most unlikely English League Cup final contests in the tournament's 52-year history.

In years gone by, a match between the two provincial clubs would have raised barely a flicker of interest beyond the boundaries of the cities they represent.

But at a sold-out Wembley Stadium on Sunday, they will be centre of attention, with the added incentive of a Europa League berth awaiting the victors.

Bradford's progress in the competition has been truly remarkable.

The League Two outfit entered the tournament as 10 000-1 outsiders but stunning victories over Wigan Athletic, Arsenal and then Aston Villa saw them become the first team from England's fourth tier to reach a major Wembley final.

It is an achievement rendered all the more impressive by the fact they came close to extinction in the wake of the financial crises that followed their relegation from the Premier League in 2001.

Swansea, however, know a thing or two about dicing with disaster themselves.

The south Wales club may now be a tried and tested Premier League team, feted for the quality of their play, but 10 years ago they came close to going out of business altogether.

Only a 4-2 win over Hull City on the final day of the 2002-03 season prevented them from slipping out of the English Football League and potentially going under.

Midfielder Leon Britton is one of only three survivors from that game against Hull in the current Swansea squad, alongside Alan Tate and club captain Garry Monk, and he admits he still has trouble believing what has happened.

"If someone had said to you then that we would be in the Premier League and a major cup final, you would have thought they had landed from the moon," he said.

"Even six years ago, the LDV Vans Trophy (Football League Trophy) final against Carlisle was a massive game for us.

"Even the most optimistic Swansea fan could not have thought we would be where we are."

Over the decade that followed, successive managers Roberto Martinez and Paulo Sousa shaped a side renowned for the slickness of their football, before Brendan Rodgers took over and propelled the Swans into the top flight in 2011.

These days, Swansea's passing statistics stand comparison with those of Barcelona, while in manager Michael Laudrup they possess a coach who scaled the loftiest heights of the European game as a player.

"I played in a lot of finals in my career. I think it was seven or eight and it was fantastic," said the Dane, a European Cup-winner with Barcelona in 1992.

"You get used to playing home or away, but a final is 50-50 and I am pleased the players will get the chance to try something so unique."

Swansea have never before reached a major final and success would enable them to crown their centenary year in fitting fashion.

Bradford, in contrast, have already tasted glory in the FA Cup – albeit 102 years ago, in 1911 – and despite the huge void in league positions, winger Gerry Thompson says his side will not be overawed.

"Swansea are an excellent passing side," he said.

"But it's 11 men versus 11 men and that's how we look at it. We won't be scared of what they can do. It's all about what we do on the day."

Swansea are no giants, but striking contrasts between the two squads abound nonetheless.

Bradford striker James Hanson was playing semi-professionally and stacking supermarket shelves three years ago; Swansea's record signing, Pablo Hernandez, has played alongside Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Iker Casillas for world and European champions Spain.

Bradford are expected to take 33 000 fans to London and manager Phil Parkinson has warned his players not to let the occasion get the better of them.

"We've got to enjoy the build-up haven't we?" he said.

"It's quite unique for a team from the bottom division to get to a major cup final, so we've got to enjoy it, but we'll only truly enjoy the day if we play well. If we do that, I'll be a very proud man."

Shop

Gerrard: My Autobiography
Steven Gerrard is a hero to millions, not only as the inspirational captain of Liverpool FC, but as a key member of the England team.
R152.00
Rafa: My Story
Revelatory memoir from the greatest sportsman in the world today.
R182.00
FIFA 14
Xbox 360
R549.00
Mitre Ultimatch Soccer Ball - White
A high quality football, offering high performance at both training and during football matches.
R252.00


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Live Video Streaming

MLS - Major League Soccer - Week 20; Toronto Fc v Sporting Kc
Swimming - Day 4 - H\L
Badminton - Mixed Teams Sf 2 - India v England

Sports Talk



Dr Errol Sweeney
World Cup refs return home ‘battered and bruised’
The World Cup is over for another four years and already the post mortem has started into some...

Sunday Oliseh
What Germany did to become champs
The 2002 Japan and South Korea World Cup saw the Germans lose in the Finals to Brazil, thanks to...

Collins Okinyo
Amrouche is his own worst enemy
Thunder has struck twice with news of Harambee Stars coach Adel Amrouche being slapped with a...

Claudia Ekai
Save our Stars
First and foremost, it is not all over for Harambee Stars in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations...

Carol Radull
The Harambee Stars' secrets
A week ago Kenya’s Harambee Stars hosted Burundi in our first international friendly this year. I...

Emeka Enyadike
Joachim Loew: German lessons for Africa
How do you win the World Cup? How do you prepare a team for the greatest show on earth? How do you...