The miracle boys – the story of Sime Darby

The Premier League team became the first club side to reach the final of the FA Cup since its inception in 1990, but the club itself was founded just three years ago

Sime Darby is a Malaysian conglomerate based in Kuala Lumpur, with its fingers in plantations, real estate, industrial, motors and energy & utilities. Founded in 1910 by a Scot, William Middleton Sime, and Englishman, Henry Darby, Sime, Darby & Co. initially dabbled in Malaysia's prosperous rubber industry, before moving on to palm oil and other fields, reaching considerable success.

In early 2007, together with Golden Hope, a British tea and coffee trading company founded in 1905, and Guthrie Group Limited, the famed first British trading company to be founded in South East Asia with its roots in Singapore by Alexander Guthrie in 1821, the multinational conglomerate Synergy Drive was born, which by later that same year was renamed to the now familiar Sime Darby Berhad.

Just under three years later Sime Darby Football Club was born. In their debut season in the lowest tier of the Malaysian football pyramid, Sime Darby clinched automatic promotion to the Premier League undefeated and as champions of the 2010 FAM Cup.

2011 in the second tier of Malaysian football was a sobering year for the young side who finished fifth in a twelve-team league to miss out on a second consecutive promotion. But the future giant-killing capabilities of the team were already evident.

They edged out then Malaysian Super League side Pahang FA 6-0 over two legs to reach the prestigious Malaysia Cup tournament for the first time. But their run in Asia's oldest football competition will be shortlived, failing to get through a group consisting of Terengganu FA, Negeri Sembilan FA and PKNS FC.

The 2012 FA Cup campaign kicked off with a home match against Super League side Sabah FA, who went down 2-0 at Stadium Majlis Perbandaran Selayang before, fellow Premier League team USM Staff FC were knocked out by the same scoreline on home turf in the second round.

By the quarter-finals stage, Sime Darby were one of two non-top tier sides left in the competition, together with third division Kuala Lumpur SPA FC.

SPA crashed 5-0 on aggregate to mighty Kelantan, but Sime will go on to claim their second Super League scalp, beating Johor FC home and away, to claim the tie 5-3 on aggregate.

Led by coach Ismail Zakaria with a side spearheaded by Liberian, Patrick Ronaldinho Wleh, more appropriately known by his middle name, and former Malaysian international Mohamad Nor Ismail, they would claim their biggest upset in the semi-finals against Terengganu.

The two-time FA Cup winners, with four final appearances, were sent crashing out at the semi-final stage by a club that is only into its third year of professional football.

To add insult to injury, the Turtles were also the defending champions to boot and had shut out an in-form LionsXII side to reach this stage.

But Terengganu who have been in semi-freefall since crashing 6-1 to Selangor in the league, lost the home leg 2-1 to goals from Ronaldinho and Syukor Saidin.

Last night, in front a vociferous home support at Selayang Stadium, a goalless draw ensured passage to the Final despite missing star player Ronaldinho and attacker Irme Mat.

At the halfway mark of the season, Sime Darby sit in third place in the Premier League, two points off from an automatic promotion spot to take them into the top tier of the Super League.

But their hearts and minds will be on May 19, as they have a date with defending Super League Champions Kelantan in the FA Cup final at Shah Alam Stadium.