Pre-Llanelli Town | Tija Richardson
Cardiff City Women begin their Bute Energy Welsh Cup campaign on Sunday, October 15th, facing Llanelli Town at Stebonheath Park, 2pm KO.
The Bluebirds head into the contest on the back of an impressive 3-0 win over Wrexham last Sunday, Molly Kehoe netting a brace, along with a first goal of the season for Ffion Price.
Midfielder Tija Richardson, who signed for the Club in the summer from Cardiff Metropolitan University, made her City debut in the second half, having returned from injury.
“It was a special moment for me," Tija began. "I’ve been waiting for it to come because I’ve been out injured. I just couldn’t wait to get back out on the pitch and it was good for me to gain some gametime to see how I was feeling, both physically and mentally.
“It was a devastating injury for me. It’s never good to get injured when you join a new team, especially a team that I couldn’t wait to play for. I was counting down the days until I could get back on a football pitch.
“Coming on was a big moment for me. My family weren’t sure if I was going to play or not, but they were all watching back home. They’re all huge Cardiff City fans. They’ve been watching the girls every game even though I’ve not been playing. It was an important moment for me and my family.
“It was definitely the performance of the season so far. We’ve been building towards that since the season started. Some things haven’t gone the way we wanted them to, but we’ve picked up good results and that was the best performance I’ve seen since I’ve been watching on the sidelines.”
Sunday's opponents, Llanelli Town, compete in the Adran South, the second-tier of Wales' domestic system.
The Reds began their cup campaign with a 19-0 win over Morriston Town in the qualifying round.
Ahead of this weekend's fixture, Tija added: “We’re the defending champions, so it’s an important game for us to start off well. This week has gone well in terms of preparation; we can’t wait to get out there now, put in a good performance and get the result we want.
“Games like these are very enjoyable. Playing at Stebonheath Park will be nice for us, I’ve played there a few times before and it’s a really nice local ground.
“It’s very important that we don’t underestimate them. We’ve set the standard now after Sunday’s game, so we have to keep to the same principles.”
The Bluebirds have won the competition for the past two consecutive years, having defeated Cardiff Metropolitan 2-0 in the final in 2022.
Last season, City faced Briton Ferry Llansawel in the final at Penydarren Park, claiming a 4-0 victory to secure a successful cup defence.
"I’ve been really impressed with what the Club have achieved, especially in the last two years," Tija continued. "There’s been so much development in the team, they’ve just been striving forward and they’ve been a joy to watch. Their passing and the way they play football, it was a big reason why I wanted to come to the Club.
“Winning silverware consistently is the standard I want us to set. I’m a winner, I like to win things and we’ve set high targets for this season.
“When I had the phone call to ask if I would come to play for Cardiff City, I spoke with my family and it’s just an honour. The first thing you think of is silverware and that’s what I want this year.”