Top of the Moldovan table after 18 games, FC Dacia Chişinău are too busy to mark their tenth anniversary, with president Timur Kuriev promising a party at the end of the season.
Founded on 12 November 1999, Dacia initially had the modest target of surviving in the second division, but while they have yet to win a trophy, the club's first decade has gone much better than expected. They achieved a brisk promotion to the top flight, or Divizia Nationala, before enjoying a memorable UEFA Intertoto Cup campaign in 2007, only ended by a 1-1 home draw and 4-0 away defeat against Hamburger SV.
Given Dacia's short history and commitment to local talent, several players have grown up with the club. "Lasting ten years in Moldovan football means something," said 30-year-old defender Igor Negrescu. "I have been with the team from the early days. We have been through a lot together, from brilliant victories to big setbacks. I hope Dacia can push on and collect some trophies."
Striker Ghenadie Orbu agreed, with the 27-year-old saying: "It's my ninth year here and I have experienced a lot – getting promoted, European games, medals and much more, although I hope the best is still to come." The best in Moldovan terms would be to deny FC Sheriff the championship, yet considering Dacia have never beaten the Tiraspol side over 90 minutes, that may be asking a lot.
For the moment, Sheriff are third in the table, five points behind Dacia but with three games in hand, and with FC Zimbru Chişinău already out of contention, it may be down to Dacia to deny Sheriff's bid for a tenth successive title. "I hope victories against Sheriff and league titles come soon," said captain Alexandru Onica. "I think we can do well in Europe too."
Dacia face Sheriff in Chisinau in their final fixture before the winter break on Wednesday, and should they win they may have more than a birthday to celebrate come next summer. "We have not forgotten the anniversary, but we are planning to celebrate at the end of the season," explained president Kuriev, successor to now honorary president Gabriel Stati whose investment saved the club from oblivion in 2001. "For now we're only thinking about our upcoming league and cup matches."
©UEFA.com 1998-2013. All rights reserved.