Cardiff Met head for Sarajevo in Uefa Women’s Champions League

A student soccer team from Cardiff Metropolitan University will head for the Balkans this summer when they make their debut in Europe’s premier competition for women footballers.

The Met, reigning Welsh Premier Women's Football League champions, were yesterday (note: Thursday June 28) drawn in a Uefa Women's Champions League qualifying tournament based in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Qualifying tournament winners progress to the Champions League final 32 when opponents could include holders Olympique Lyonnais, Spanish giants Barcelona or previous European champions Arsenal.

From August 11-16, the Met will face host club and group top seeds SFK 2000 Sarajevo, Israeli outfit ASA Tel-Aviv and Irish hopes Peamount United, from Dublin.

The hosts are twice Bosnian champions and three times national cup winners. Their squad features internationals with Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia and America. In 2003-04 they beat Cardiff City 2-1 in the European Women’s Cup.

Met coach Kerry Harris said: “We’re thrilled with the draw; just seeing in black and white shows that the dream really is becoming reality.

“It’s going to be a fabulous opportunity for our students; we can’t wait to fly the flag for Wales and the Met.”

Karen Espelund, chairwoman of the Uefa Women's Football Committee, said: "This is the fourth season of the Women's Champions League in this form and the very start to the road to the pinnacle of European women's club football. The winners will be crowned champions in London on 23 May 2013."

The Cardiff Met team, known as UWIC until now, won the Welsh title in May. Their players, all aged 18-23 and amateur, have started an eight-week training programme leading to Sarajevo. It will include intensive conditioning and a series of friendlies.

Last season’s Welsh representatives Swansea City lost out at the qualifying stage.



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