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adziom - The Ultimate Grind

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This is a game I'm about 6-7 seasons through, but I may as well tell the story from the beginning so I will get up to date with season by season installments.

Some people may not be interested in this save as it's not what most people play. I downloaded the extra leagues Megapack from FM Scout which adds playable leagues from pretty much any nation in the world, used a random number generator to choose a country at random and landed on Sao Tome & Principe. I also loaded the database not to use the real names for players and staff, which is something I like doing just because it gets boring with Football Manager knowing who you're going to sign on every save.

So the story begins in Sao Tome & Principe with my manager Sweetzer de Sousa, who is a former international for these African minnows, and starts unemployed in football management. The plan here was to take the first job that came up which happened to be with Santana FC in the Sao Tome Premier League (the top tier of Sao Tomean football is split into the Sao Tome Premier League - 12 teams - and the Principe Premier League - 6 teams, with the winner of each section competing in the Grand Final at the end of the season).

Depending on how much interest this gets - let me know! - I'll try and post a season review a day until I'm up to date with where I am in the game now.

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7 minutes ago, adziom said:

This is a game I'm about 6-7 seasons through, but I may as well tell the story from the beginning so I will get up to date with season by season installments.

Some people may not be interested in this save as it's not what most people play. I downloaded the extra leagues Megapack from FM Scout which adds playable leagues from pretty much any nation in the world, used a random number generator to choose a country at random and landed on Sao Tome & Principe. I also loaded the database not to use the real names for players and staff, which is something I like doing just because it gets boring with Football Manager knowing who you're going to sign on every save.

So the story begins in Sao Tome & Principe with my manager Sweetzer de Sousa, who is a former international for these African minnows, and starts unemployed in football management. The plan here was to take the first job that came up which happened to be with Santana FC in the Sao Tome Premier League (the top tier of Sao Tomean football is split into the Sao Tome Premier League - 12 teams - and the Principe Premier League - 6 teams, with the winner of each section competing in the Grand Final at the end of the season).

Depending on how much interest this gets - let me know! - I'll try and post a season review a day until I'm up to date with where I am in the game now.

would love to know how this goes!

Will be interesting to see what it's like with fictional players and staff though. Never played or seen a game like that. 

 

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2 minutes ago, Stan said:

would love to know how this goes!

Will be interesting to see what it's like with fictional players and staff though. Never played or seen a game like that. 

 

What it does, which I find irritating, is keep most of the same higher reputation managers and players and just gives them different names, but below that it basically generates a load of the fake players that usually come through the youth systems and assign them to teams so that they're roughly the same strength as they are in reality.

If I look at the Premier League now, Man City still have a Spanish manager called Javi Saenz, Man Utd have a Portuguese manager called Lucio Silverio, Chelsea have an Italian manager called Marcelo Felice... these guys are just Guardiola, Mourinho, Conte renamed and they just sort of sit there still managing those clubs even though it's 2024 in my game but nothing changes because I don't currently have any of the European leagues loaded as playable.

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Here we go, then:

Chapter One

Club: Santana FC

League: Sao Tome & Principe Premier League

Background: Santana FC are a club with a humble history in Sao Tomean football. Although Football Manager won't tell you this, the real life Santana FC were champions just once in their history, back in 1991. In 2016, Santana are content to retain their top flight status by finishing outside the bottom two each season. As I take over the club toward the end of the 2016 season, safety is not guaranteed and the club have parted company with previous manager Chadlid Deni Quaresma.

 

A Tough Start

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 0-1 UDRA

(Sao Tome Premier League) Praia Cruz 0-0 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 1-1 Bom-Bom

A difficult pair of fixtures to start off with as we faced league leaders and eventual champions UDRA at home, going down 1-0, before a respectable goalless draw at Praia Cruz, the dominant force in Sao Tomean football during my time at Santana. A first goal came in a 1-1 draw with Bom-Bom but with home advantage against one of our relegation rivals, it was disappointing not to claim our first victory here.

 

Winning Ways

(Sao Tome Premier League) Correia 0-2 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 4-1 Agrosport

(Sao Tome Cup Semi Final) UDRA 0-0 Santana FC - Santana FC win on penalties

A pair of good wins against mid-table opposition was enough to all but secure survival with two games remaining, with wide forward Faduley Napoleao and striker Cerqueira Mendes playing a starring role in both matches. With the job pretty much done in the league, focus turned to the Sao Tome Cup, where Santana had taken 3 of their 4 wins prior to my appointment to reach the semi final. We were unfancied against champions elect UDRA, but a hard-fought, even match was decided on penalties and it was my boys who held their nerve to book a place in the final.

 

Paying the Penalty

(Sao Tome Premier League) Ke Morebeza 1-1 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 1-2 Vitoria

(Sao Tome Cup Final) Santana FC 1-2 Praia Cruz

The 1-1 draw at Ke Morabeza was enough to secure survival mathematically as other results went in our favour, leaving the home game against Vitoria on the last day as a dead rubber. Onto the cup final, and the opportunity to get my hands on a first trophy just 9 games into my management career, and a chance to compete in the African Confederation Cup next season for the winners. Praia Cruz were our opponents, champions in three of the last four seasons, they had been forced to settle for 2nd place behind UDRA this time around, but they wouldn't be denied in the Sao Tome Cup. A late first half penalty gave Praia Cruz the lead, before Cerqueira Mendes equalised for us 10 minutes into the second half. Another Praia penalty, though, netted in the 64th minute, proved to be enough to get them over the line and leave Santana empty-handed.

 

2016 Season Review

Sao Tome Premier League: 9th

Sao Tome Cup: Runners-Up

 

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Next one will be the first full season with Santana - once I get up to date I'll try and add more screenshots and stuff but I can't bring up the league tables from my earlier season because *spoiler alert* Sao Tome & Principe is no longer loaded as a playable league.

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Chapter Two

Club: Santana FC

League: Sao Tome & Principe Premier League

Season: 2017

Background: Having come in and guided Santana to safety at the end of last season, I got stuck into the transfer market this summer to add to the surprisingly solid number of talented player at my disposal. The Sao Tome and Principe leagues don't accommodate any professional clubs, which means that all players are on non-contract terms - anyone can go to another club during the transfer window for no transfer fee. This is irritating as you can spend a whole transfer window re-offering terms to your best players every week to ensure they don't take a reasonable contract offer from another team, but I managed to keep hold of most of my talented players, brought in a couple of highly-rated forwards - Quimilson Jorgino and Charles Barros - amongst others which saw the media sit up and take note, predicting a top 4 finish for my side. The board were expecting me to re-establish the club i the top half and put last season's relegation scrap behind us.

 

Goal Crazy

(Sao Tome Premier League) Folha Fede 2-2 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 8-0 Andorinha Sport Club

(Sao Tome Premier League) Ke Morabeza 1-1 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Cup 1st Round) Santana FC 3-0 UDESCAI

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 2-3 Vitoria

(Sao Tome Premier League) Praia Cruz 3-4 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 2-0 Monte Cafe

(Sao Tome Premier League) Correia 2-2 Santana FC

An odd but exciting start to the season, beginning with a comeback at Folha Fede where we scored two goals in the last ten minutes. The 8-0 win against Andorinha looks like a highlight but that was nothing compared to the away win at league favourites Praia Cruz, where we overturned a 3-0 half time deficit to win 4-3, scoring three times in the last 12 minutes of the match. Too bad that was preceded by a home defeat to Vitoria where we squandered a 2-1 lead with 30 minutes to go to come away with nothing. Overall, a mixed start, lots of goals from star man Quimilson Jorgino but results not really generating much momentum.

 

Not so Goal Crazy

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 1-1 Agrosport

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 0-0 Alianca (STP)

(Sao Tome Cup 2nd Round) Santana FC 1-0 Monte Cafe (AET)

(Sao Tome Premier League) Caixao Grande 0-1 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 2-3 UDRA

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 2-0 Folha Fede

(Sao Tome Premier League) Andorinha Sport Club 0-2 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 1-1 Ke Morabeza

(Sao Tome Premier League) Vitoria 1-1 Santana FC

Things settled down here after that slightly mental start. The defence tightened up but the goals dried up slightly too at the other end. Still, we were able to put together a good run of results, with just the one defeat coming at home to defending champions UDRA - a disappointing one too with us holding a 2-1 lead until conceding in the 84th and 88th minutes to lose. No complaints here though, a more than satisfactory run for a club looking to finish in the top half of the 12 team league and Jorgino's 116th minute goal sending us into the quarter finals of the cup.

 

Hitting Form

(Sao Tome Cup Quarter Final) Folha Fede 0-1 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 0-0 Praia Cruz

(Sao Tome Premier League) Monte Cafe 2-7 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 1-0 Correia

(Sao Tome Premier League) Agrosport 1-2 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Alianca (STP) 0-2 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Cup Semi Final) Santana FC 3-0 Porto Real

A great run of fixtures with league leaders Praia Cruz the only team able to keep us from winning. At this point we were just 2 points behind them with 2 matches left to play. The odds were stacked against us but progression to the Cup Final for the second year running, where we'd face Praia Cruz once again, meant that we were in with an outside chance of an unthinkable double in my first full season as manager. Highlights of this run were Jorgino's hat-trick in the special punishment we dished out to Monte Cafe, Anderson Pinto's 86th minute winner against Correia to keep our winning run going, and the 3-0 thumping of Porto Real, a team from the Principe half of the Sao Tome and Principe Premier League, to secure our place in the cup final.

 

The Run-In

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 0-1 Caixao Grande

(Sao Tome Premier League) UDRA 2-1 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Cup Final) Praia Cruz 2-3 Santana FC (AET)

These three opponents were without doubt the biggest thorns in my side during my tenure as Santana FC boss, and the end of the season carried mixed fortunes as we clashed with all three. A disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Caixao Grande put to bed any hopes of an unthinkable title conquest and Afonso Ramos' 91st minute winner for UDRA on the last day of the domestic season saw them steal 2nd place off us in the table. The less said about this pair of results the better, so we'll focus on the great success of the season, the Sao Tome Cup Final.

Remember earlier in the season where we pulled Praia Cruz' pants down with a 4-3 win from 3-0 down? Well lightning doesn't strike twice, everyone knows that. So when Praia Cruz led 2-0 an hour into the final, there was no chance that Santana could deny them the double, was there? Quimilson Jorgino pulled one back for us in the 66th minute before Charles Barros converted a 78th minute penalty to send the match to extra time. Midfielder Agilson Montoia was on target for us in the 10th minute of extra time, and we held on to clinch Santana's first major trophy since they were founded (according to FM's history banks anyway). Winning this tournament also qualified us for the African Confederations Cup

 

Season Review

Sao Tome Premier League: 3rd (Exceeded Expectations)

Sao Tome Cup: Winners! (Exceeded Expectations)

Summary: A highly successful first full season, flirting with the top of the table and securing a first trophy in my career.  The aims for next season are to build on this success with a strong title challenge, to upset the apple cart in the African Confederations Cup if possible, and to establish Santana as a major force alongside Praia Cruz and UDRA in Sao Tome & Principe.

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Slightly enraged by 'modern day' of this career so posting an update. Might do another later this evening.

Chapter Three

Club: Santana FC

League: Sao Tome & Principe Premier League

Season: 2018

Background: Third place last season and a win in the Sao Tome Cup to pick up our first silverware since I took charge. Not a bad return for just over 12 months. This season I went for stability with my young squad, expecting them to naturally develop and move closer to challenging for the title. Due to our Sao Tome Cup success, we also competed in the African Confederation Cup this season, entering the preliminary rounds several weeks before our domestic season got underway. The board's expectations were a top half finish and a decent cup run, with very little expected of us on the continental stage.

 

Pass me the Noose

(African Confederation Cup Preliminary Round Leg 1) Santana FC 0-3 Enugu Rangers

(African Confederation Cup Preliminary Round Leg 2) Enugu Rangers 1-0 Santana FC (Enugu Rangers win 4-0 on aggregate)

(Sao Tome Super Cup) Santana FC 0-2 Praia Cruz

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 2-3 UDRA

(Sao Tome Premier League) Praia Cruz 4-2 Santana FC

Fuck me. Not only did we draw Nigerian powerhouse Enugu Rangers in the first round of the Confederation Cup, where we unsurprisingly got absolutely fisted, we start the season against Sao Tome's most dangerous sides, UDRA and Praia Cruz. We never stood a chance against Enugu Rangers but it may have helped if the tie wasn't played 2 months after the end of the previous season and 3 months before the beginning of the current season. Oh well, we tried. We went down dismally to Praia Cruz (the bastards) in the Super Cup before shipping 7 goals in the opening two league games of the season. 2 games into the 22 game season and we're already 6 points adrift of Praia Cruz (the bastards) who barely lose one game in ten.

 

Positive Momentum

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 3-1 Vitoria

(Sao Tome Premier League) Correia 2-4 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Cup 1st Round) Bom-Bom 0-2 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 4-1 Trindade FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Ke Morabeza 3-3 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 3-3 Caixao Grande

Nobody can say that we didn't score a lot of goals this season but jesus christ, look at our defending. A successful start to our cup defence with an away win and a five match unbeaten run in the league, but we blew a 3-1 lead at Ke Morabeza, conceding on 70' and 80', before coming from 0-2 down at home to dangerous Caixao Grande to lead 3-2 until we fucked it up again in the 90th minute. This season hasn't gone as planned so far and these last two capitulations set the tone for what was to come.

 

Shambles

(Sao Tome Premier League) Alianca (STP) 2-1 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 0-1 Folha Fede

(Sao Tome Cup 2nd Round) Santana FC 2-1 Alianca (STP)

(Sao Tome Premier League) Operarios 2-5 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 7-2 Andorinha Sport Club

(Sao Tome Premier League) UDRA 2-1 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 3-4 Praia Cruz

(Sao Tome Premier League) Vitoria 2-1 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 0-1 Correia

Seriously, how can a team be this inconsistent? Winning 5-2 and 7-2 one minute, then losing at home to Folha Fede and Correia who are the Sao Tome equivalent of Watford and Stoke. Awful. At this stage we were closer to the relegation zone than the title chase and, while we were never in serious danger, the quarter final run in the Sao Tome Cup which was miraculously still in tact was the one chance left we had to do something with our season. The home loss to Praia Cruz (the fucking bastards) summed up this season. We trailed twice, came back to lead 3-2, conceded two goals between 70' and 80' to lose 4-3.

 

Mood Swings

(Sao Tome Cup Quarter Final) 1^ de Maio 0-2 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Trindade FC 1-3 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 1-2 Ke Morabeza

(Sao Tome Premier League) Caixao Grande 3-0 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 1-0 Alianca (STP)

(Sao Tome Premier League) Folha Fede 2-3 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Cup Semi Final) Sporting do Principe 1-1 Santana FC (Sporting do Principe win on penalties)

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 0-1 Operarios

(Sao Tome Premier League) Andorinha Sport Club 1-3 Santana FC

No words can sum up this phase of the season. Back to back away wins, followed by another home defeat to joke opposition and a battering at Caixao Grande, followed by back to back wins before getting knocked out of the cup on penalties and losing to another no-mark opponent at home without scoring. At least we got to play Andorinha on the last day to boost our league position to 7th.

 

Season Summary

Sao Tome Premier League: 7th (Below expectations)

Sao Tome Cup: Semi Final (Met expectations)

African Confederation Cup: Preliminary Round (Met expectations)

Summary: Surprisingly, my job was never in jeopardy this season but it was an enraging one all the same. 6th would have put us in the top half and met the board's expectations in all competitions, but with pre-season predictions pegging us as 3rd-4th best, to finish 7th in a league with only 12 teams marks a significant underachievement and in truth, we spent most of the season below this and never looked like threatening the top half. A decent run in the cup. For those wondering, 1^ de Maio and Sporting do Principe aren't lower league sides, they play in the Principe half of the Sao Tome & Principe Premier League which is why they don't appear in the league fixtures. Next season we look to bounce back from this disappointment and finish in the top three at least.

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Chapter Four

Team: Santana FC

League: Sao Tome & Principe Premier League

Season: 2019

Background: So last season was disappointing, we never got going and we conceded far too many goals. The aim for this season was to get in the top 3 and the pre-season predictions had us right up there. A couple of signings to bolster the squad but no real headline grabbers as many of my key players were young, still improving and performing well. I did settle on a 4-3-3 formation with wingers and a defensive midfielder towards the end of the 2018 season and some new defenders had me optimistic that we could improve on last season's disappointments. The board were expecting a top half finish and a good cup run again. No continental competition this year.

 

Racing out of the blocks

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 1-0 Vitoria

(Sao Tome Premier League) Ke Morabeza 0-4 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 0-0 Caixao Grande

(Sao Tome Cup 1st Round) FC Neves 1-4 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Alianca (STP) 1-2 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) UDRA 1-1 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 2-0 Monte Cafe

(Sao Tome Premier League) Correia 2-4 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 2-0 Folha Fede

A really impressive start from us left us top of the table by 2 points ahead of Praia Cruz. Forwards Quimilson Jorgino and Charles Barros were in irresistible form while the new look back line fared a lot better than their predecessors, conceding just 4 goals in the opening 8 league games. Draws against Caixao Grande and UDRA were far from disastrous given that both were expected to finish in and around the top four come the end of the season.

 

Fuck off Praia Cruz

(Sao Tome Premier League) Praia Cruz 2-0 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Cup 2nd Round) Santana FC 5-0 Desportivo de Oque d'El Rei

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 3-1 Agrosport

(Sao Tome Premier League) Operarios 2-0 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Vitoria 1-3 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 5-2 Ke Morabeza

Praia Cruz took over the lead at the top of the table with a 2-0 win against us, the absolute bastards, then proceeded to win every league game during this spell to pull out a four point gap due to our disappointing loss to Operarios. Aside from that, we did okay in this run, Desportivo de Oque d'El Rei - what a name, by the way - were unfortunate lower league victims, while Jorgino's hat-trick saw us brush Ke Morabeza aside. 9 wins, 2 draws and 2 defeats was enough for us to hold a comfortable 2nd place in the table at this stage.

 

Can't keep up

(Sao Tome Premier League) Caixao Grande 0-0 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 0-1 Alianca (STP)

(Sao Tome Cup Quarter Final) Santana FC 0-1 UDRA

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 2-2 UDRA

A disappointing run of results put paid to our chances of winning any silverware this season as Praia Cruz rampaged away into an unassailable lead. A draw at 3rd-placed Caixao Grande was no disaster, but our first home defeat of the season to Alianca was a big blow. UDRA knocked us out of the Cup but a comeback draw against them in the league kept them at arm's length in what was now a race for 2nd place.

 

Limping over the line

(Sao Tome Premier League) Monte Cafe 0-4 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 2-1 Correia

(Sao Tome Premier League) Folha Fede 1-0 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 0-2 Praia Cruz

(Sao Tome Premier League) Agrosport 2-2 Santana FC

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 2-2 Operarios

Far from an impressive end to the season. Wins against Monte Cafe and Correia extended our gap to Caixao Grande and UDRA behind us in the table as Praia Cruz did us the courtesy of beating both of our main rivals in the run in - a truly phenomenal rampage from them this season. Two losses and a draw meant we went into the final fixture of the season just one point ahead of Caixao Grande, though, and while we shat the bed after leading Operarios twice at home, Caixao were unable to pick up three points in their final fixture against Vitoria, preserving our 2nd position.

 

Season Summary

Sao Tome Premier League: 2nd (Exceeded Expectations)

Sao Tome Cup: Quarter Final (Under-Performed)

Summary: This season has to go down as a success really. Our highest finish yet but still some way off a rampant Praia Cruz who took their third consecutive Sao Tome Premier League title and went on to win the Grand Final against the Principe Premier League champions for the third time running too. There is one obvious aim for the 2020 season and that is to win the league.

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Chapter Five

Team: Santana FC

League: Sao Tome & Principe Premier League

Season: 2020

Background: So this is set to be my fourth full season with Santana and I'd be hoping by this stage that I'd have done enough in my first job to justify moving up the ladder a bit. I plan to move up the leagues in Africa by loading the next step up set of leagues from the one I'm currently employed in. Sao Tome & Principe's Premier League is rated at 0.5 stars in the Competition Rankings, so I have loaded all of the African 1 star leagues ready to move on if I get an offer from one of these leagues at some stage. It has to be the right move though as this career can go down the shitter if I go straight to a new country and get relegated.

Anyway, focusing on the present, I was quite surprised that the board's pre-season expectations were to win the league outright and at least reach the Sao Tome Cup final. Having finished 2nd last year, this was clearly my aim anyway but with Praia Cruz romping away to their third successive title last season, I was shocked that the media had us down as league favourites in the early pre-season. They did reconsider this and reinstate Praia Cruz as favourites after they successfully wrestled Sao Tome international centre back Wilson Tati from us during the transfer window.

 

Start as you mean to go on

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 5-2 Trindade FC

We've given Trindade some batterings in my time here but this one was especially notable for Jorgino, now club captain, scoring 4 goals on the opening day of the season.

(Sao Tome Premier League) Andorinha Sport Club 0-1 Santana FC

Another side we've cruelly smashed a few times in previous years, but an 80th minute goal from Jorgino was enough for 3 points here. Meanwhile, Praia Cruz lose away to Correia!

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 2-1 UDRA

A massive result for us. While UDRA have failed to live up to their high expectations in the league in recent seasons, we have frequently struggled for results against them. Two goals in the first 10 minutes put us in a strong position and UDRA didn't have enough to come back. We now have a 6 point lead over Praia Cruz who lost to Caixao Grande at home!

(Sao Tome Premier League) Correia 0-1 Santana FC

Four out of four. Jorgino on target in first half stoppage time.

(Sao Tome Cup 1st Round) Operarios 2-0 Santana FC

Rotated the squad here, the team that started the season had made themselves pretty much undroppable with a 100% record so I gave chances to other players who should be good enough for regular football. Needless to say, it was a while before they had another chance.

 

Irresistible Force

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 2-0 Caixao Grande

With Praia Cruz faltering, this was a 1st v 2nd clash and we came through with another pair of goals from Jorgino, opening up a 4 point gap at the top after just 5 games. Trindade FC took over as the surprise package in 2nd place while Praia Cruz draw at home.

(Sao Tome Premier League) Vitoria 0-2 Santana FC

Goals from Jorgino and Barbosa see us to another 3 points. Praia Cruz lose at Agrosport and I genuinely start to believe they aren't coming after us.

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 2-0 Alianca (STP)

Another 2-0 win while Praia Cruz draw 0-0 with Operarios. Our main threat are floundering in mid-table with just 8 points to our 21. Trindade FC and Folha Fede are our closest competitors in the league table now, but surely neither of these sides have the legs to challenge us over the remaining 15 games?

(Sao Tome Premier League) Agrosport 1-3 Santana FC

We concede our first goal in 5 matches but it doesn't matter as we were already leading 3-0.

 

Halfway House

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 1-0 Operarios

Revenge for knocking us out of the Sao Tome Cup as Jorgino scores the game's only goal in the first half. That's 12 goals for him in 9 matches, and there has only been one game where he hasn't found the net.

(Sao Tome Premier League) Praia Cruz 1-1 Santana FC

Praia Cruz have returned to form and won their last three games, but both sides see their winning run come to an end here. We were second best in this match and fell behind to a late first half penalty but Jorgino (again) equalised in the second half.

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 3-0 Folha Fede

Of all the distant specks in our rear view mirror, Folha Fede are still the closest, until we smash them 3-0. Folha Fede and Trindade fall away after this as Caixao Grande, UDRA and later Praia Cruz take back their usual positions in the top four. For us, we have now played everyone once, winning 10 times and drawing just once.

(Sao Tome Premier League) Trindade FC 1-3 Santana FC

Jorgino scores another pair of goals as we put a dent in Trindade's hopes of staying ahead of the other big boys.

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 2-0 Andorinha Sport Club

Jorgino puts us 2-0 up in 12 minutes. Jociley Catua is sent off for us in the first half but we shut the game down and take another win.

 

Implosion?

(Sao Tome Premier League) UDRA 2-1 Santana FC

Our first loss of the season as UDRA come from behind to beat us 2-1 and cut our gap at the top to 12 points. Jorgino put us in front but we eventually went down to a 76th minute penalty.

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 0-3 Correia

Don't know what the fuck happened here. 3-0 down after 32 minutes and didn't trouble mid-table Correia with a comeback. Lead is chopped to 10 points.

(Sao Tome Premier League) Caixao Grande 2-1 Santana FC

Caixao Grande score on 75' and 85' to turn around a top of the table clash. They move clear into 2nd place and are now only 7 points behind us. However, there are only 6 matches left.

 

Bringing it home

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 3-0 Vitoria

Vitoria are the victims of our backlash as two goals from Agilson Montoia and one from Jorgino have us 3-0 up at half time.

(Sao Tome Premier League) Alianca 0-1 Santana FC

Defensive midfielder Jakson Almeida is the unlikely hero, coming off the bench to score a winning goal that puts us within one win of confirming the title. With four games left we still lead Caixao Grande by 7 points.

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 4-0 Agrosport

Caixao Grande lose 3-0 at Correia the day before this match, meaning that a win here is enough to secure the league. The lads make no mistake, with goals from Derilson Pinto, Barros, Jorgino and Dungue Nunes leading us to glory.

 

Next Steps

Following the Sao Tome Premier League success, I was offered the post of Sao Tome & Principe national team manager. At this stage I made the decision to resign from Santana at the end of the season, but there remained a few league games including the Grand Final, where the winners of the Sao Tome Premier League face the champions of the Principe Premier League to determine the overall champion of Sao Tome and Principe.

 

Grand Final

(Sao Tome Premier League) Operarios 1-2 Santana FC

Another win, not much to see here...

(Sao Tome Premier League) Santana FC 1-2 Praia Cruz

Praia Cruz annoy me by inflicting our fourth and final league defeat of the season. For them, this moves them back into second place which is pretty impressive given their shambolic start to the season. However, we still won the league and there's nothing they can do about it. Bastards.

(Sao Tome Premier League) Folha Fede 0-1 Santana FC

Last game of the league season and Jorgino's 24th goal in the 22 game campaign gives us momentum going into the Grand Final against UDAPB, back to back winners of the Principe Premier League who lost last season's Grand Final to Praia Cruz.

(Sao Tome Premier League Grand Final Leg 1) Santana FC 2-0 UDAPB

A dominant performance and an early goal from Jorgino puts us in the driving seat before Dungue Nunes doubles our first leg advantage late in the game.

(Sao Tome Premier League Grand Final Leg 2) UDAPB 1-0 Santana FC (Santana win 2-1 on aggregate)

UDAPB put their home advantage to use and take the lead late in the first half. We have our chances too but digression is the better part of valor - we Contain our way to Grand Final success.

 

Season Summary

Sao Tome Premier League: 1st (Met Expectations) and won Grand Final

Sao Tome Cup: 1st Round (Under-performed)

Summary: Exactly the season I was hoping for as we became champions of Sao Tome and Principe. Similar to last season, we started on fire and Praia Cruz' disastrous start to the season removed the only side who could have lived with us from title contention. Had they been themselves and put us under more pressure, maybe we'd have bottled it, but we were never under serious threat from the point we went 4 points clear after just 6 matches. The first round cup exit was a disappointment but the league was the priority this season and we won it.

Having succeeded in Sao Tome & Principe, it was time to look at the international stage with the following leagues loaded - Zimbabwe, Niger, Guinea, Gabon, Botswana, Benin, Central African Republic, Burundi, Chad, Burkina Faso, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, The Gambia. In the interim I will manage the Sao Tome & Principe national team for a socially acceptable amount of time until an "attractive" job comes up in one of these countries.

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Typing up back-to-back chapters as this isn't a very long one!

Chapter Six

Team: Sao Tome and Principe

League: International

Season: November 2020 - March 2022

Background: I'll be honest, I'm only typing up this chapter for the sake of continuity. An absolute waste of time this, not only because Sao Tome & Principe are ranked 185th in the FIFA rankings, right between Cook Islands and Mauritius, meaning that the chances of taking a competitive victory or even a draw of any kind, were almost none, but also because 2021 was a dead year in the fixture list. Even numbered years see African sides take part in African Nations qualifying, with World Cup qualifying every four years (2019 and 2023). I wasn't best pleased when the groups were drawn in March 2021 only for the fixtures to be scheduled in late 2022, so my time as Sao Tome manager was spent playing friendlies every few months until an opportunity came up at club level.

 

A few casual kickabouts

(Friendly) Sao Tome & Principe 2-3 Tanzania

Led this 2-1 but conceded two late goals. Picked my strongest team and lost to Tanzania. One game into my tenure in this job and I'm already thinking what the hell have I done.

(Friendly) Reunion 2-3 Sao Tome & Principe

Sao Tome's first win for 20 months, the last one coming against Lesotho in the World Cup preliminary qualifiers, get in there lads! Afonso Santos came off the bench to score on 87' and 90' to secure this win for us. I looked at his profile to see who he played for as I don't remember coming up against him at domestic level, turns out he's 14 years old. What the fuck?

(Friendly) Sao Tome & Principe 0-3 Togo

Togo are a country who have a modicum of reputation, in African football at least. We never stood a chance here.

(Friendly) Sao Tome & Principe 0-1 Mozambique

Mozambique play football? Surely we can get another win here? Nope.

(Friendly) Sao Tome & Principe 2-0 Chad

Thought Chad would be decent but clearly they aren't as we beat them, comfortably too. My old mate Jorgino from Santana is on target for us. Rumours that Chad considered disbanding their national team after this result.

(Friendly) Malawi 5-2 Sao Tome & Principe

Might have been tempted to stick around in this job a bit longer had we won this but Malawi tore us a new one. Was nice to see Jorgino along with Paolo Lima, another of my old charges at Santana, on target for us at least.

(Friendly) Sao Tome & Principe 0-4 Eritrea

I know these have only been friendlies but I seriously can't be fucked with this job any more. Resigned the day after this result.

 

Summary: I think my comments above pretty much sum up this venture. Shortly after I resign from Sao Tome and Principe I get a job at club level overseas (no spoilers!). Perhaps managing on the international stage raised my profile enough to spark attention from the club in question, but I've still spent the last 18 months getting thumped by Mozambique, Eritrea and Malawi which is pretty ugly.

Oh well, stay tuned for Chapter Seven B| ...

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A short chapter and a full one to get me within 3 seasons of being up to date. First a bit about my new club...

EF_Ouagadougou_(logo).png

Etoile Filante de Ouagadougou - we'll stick to Etoile Filante, French for "shooting star", for short.

A big club in Burkina Faso, winning the Premier League in 2001, 2008 and 2014, and the Burkina Faso Cup six times in their history, most recently in 2011. Despite a lack of silverware in recent years, Etoile Filante are still expected to compete at the sharp end of the Burkina Faso Premier League, but have under-performed with 3rd place in the last campaign (2020-21) marking their highest league finish since their last championship. Despite this, the side had consistently finished in the top half and were shocked to find themselves getting sucked towards a relegation battle in May 2022, having been predicted another 3rd place finish, and so parted company with manager Moussa Salama following a 3-0 loss at AJEB.

A pair of wins under the direction of a caretaker manager meant that when I took over the club, relegation fears were pretty much abated by the time I took charge.

Chapter Seven

Team: Etoile Filante

League: Burkina Faso Premier League

Season: 2021-22

Background: Just a handful of fixtures here, with no threat of relegation and very little prospect of improving our league position to a slightly better bottom half finish. This short chapter is about getting to know my team. For some background on the Burkina Faso league, big guns include ASFA-Yennega, RC Kadiogo and US Forces Armées, but the current league leaders and champions elect were surprise package US Comoé. I get to know all of these teams over the course of this chapter, yay! The Burkina Faso league stretches over 30 fixtures, compared to Sao Tome's 22 game season, this will make for slightly longer chapters.

 

In it to win it

(Burkina Faso Cup 2nd Round) Etoile Filante 1-1 US Comoé (US Comoé win on penalties)

Lovely, we face the league leaders in an early round of the cup in my first match. Burkina Faso take about a month off towards the end of the league season to play the majority of the rounds of the cup for some reason. Anyway, to my surprise, on-loan winger Ibrahim Traoré scored in the first half to give us the lead in this tie, but an equaliser for Comoé in the second half turned the game and we eventually lost on penalties.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 0-2 US Forces Armées

We face one of our fierce rivals in my first league game. My players have struggled for goals all season and it becomes apparent why in this match. Wingers won't take on their full backs and creativity is generally poor. We are beaten handily.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) RC Kadiogo 0-1 Etoile Filante

You're joking? Another top four opponent, this time away from home. Surprisingly, we win this one, Ibrahim Traoré on target again for us from the right wing. Nice to win but concerning that the 2 goals we've mustered in 3 matches have come from a loanee.

 

Finding our feet

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 5-0 Salitas

Nice, we get to face the league whipping boys Salitas next, already relegated with a hilariously negative goal difference. Siaka Sanon opens the scoring for us before Moussa Ouedraogo and Adama Haiki each bag a brace before half time.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) ASFA-Yennega 3-2 Etoile Filante

Our biggest rivals and Burkina Faso's top dogs in recent years. They need to win to secure 2nd place in the league whereas we have nothing to play for so simply have a go at them. We lead twice through Traoré's early penalty and a goal from Hervé Ouedraogo but eventually go down 3-2.

 

Season Summary

Burkina Faso Premier League: 12th (not judged on this)

Burkina Faso Cup: 2nd Round (under-performed)

Summary: Clearly, there is plenty to work on here. We have a solid defence but, despite the 5-0 thrashing of Salitas, clearly have a lot to work on up front. Plenty of dealings done in the transfer market ahead of next season but I will touch on that in the next chapter...

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Chapter Eight

Team: Etoile Filante

League: Burkina Faso Premier League

Season: 2022-23

Background: Here we go then, two and a half years after leaving Santana, I embark on my first full season with a new club. I have brought in a number of attacking options, including non-domestic signings, something most managers in Burkina Faso seem reluctant to take advantage off, as well as a couple of defenders. I'll pretty much stick to my 4-3-3 formation that was successful at Santana, with 1x DM, 2x CMs, two wingers and a centre forward.

The board's expectations were a top half finish (out of 16 teams) and a run to the quarter-finals of the cup, with the media putting us in 6th place in their season preview. I go into the season hoping for at least a top 6 finish, but with half an eye on getting into the top three like we should have been last season. This is a different challenge to Sao Tome where you could pretty much take any side in the top flight and free transfer any player from other clubs if they were interested, but Etoile Filante are the definition of a sleeping giant, pulling in crowds of around 10,000 a week despite a lack of success, and progress should be possible.

 

Solid Foundations

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Bobo Sport 1-3 Etoile Filante

A tricky away tie to start the season, new signing Aubin Kouagou put us in front only for us to concede a penalty 2 minutes later. We pressed until the end and got our reward with goals from Paul Ouattara (89') and Kouagou again (91') securing the three points.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 0-0 RC Kadiogo

You always want to win your first home game in a new season but this isn't a bad result given that Kadiogo are one of the 5 teams touted to finish above us.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) US Comoé 0-2 Etoile Filante

Not an easy start to the season this at all, our third fixture sends us to defending champions US Comoé, but Abel Camara, another of my new signings, put us ahead after 15 minutes. US Comoé, who would go on to have an underwhelming season, had no response other than to double our advantage with a late own goal.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 1-0 RC Bobo

Another potential top six rival in our next game. An 18th minute penalty from Kouagou and a third consecutive clean sheet bag us another win and that's 10 points in 4 games from a punishing set of early fixtures.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) ASFA-Yennega 0-2 Etoile Filante

It doesn't get any easier but we really are flying now. We defeat our rivals and title favourites ASFA-Yennega with another imperious defensive display, an 80th minute penalty from Kouagou and an 87th minute strike from winger Mamadou Sow.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 1-0 Commune FC

Our first real 'home banker' on the fixture list and Camara's first half strike is enough to secure victory. Conceding 1 goal in 6 is a stunning effort from my defence but we're still not scoring bags and bags of goals so I wonder if we can survive at the top of the table? Our closest challengers at this stage are RC Kadiogo and US Forces Armées, who are keeping pace admirably. ASFA-Yennega have had a poor start and the pre-season favourites are off the pace in mid-table.

 

Bumps in the Road

(Burkina Faso Premier League) SONABEL 2-1 Etoile Filante

Our first defeat of the season comes at SONABEL. Another Kouagou penalty is a mere consolation for us. Mamadou Traoré opens the scoring for SONABEL before I bring him to Etoile Filante in the mid-season transfer window.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 0-0 US Ouagadougo

For fuck's sake how does anyone remember how to spell that word? One of our minor local rivals hold us to a goalless draw as our lack of firepower begins to catch up with us and we fall to 3rd in the table. Defensive midfielder Souleymane Tapsoba receives a late red card for us.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) US Yatenga 0-2 Etoile Filante

Camara bags a goal in each half to put us back on track with a win over struggling US Yatenga. After this match, we are level with RC Kadiogo and US Forces Armées in a three-way tie at the top of the table, with us 3rd on goal difference, shock horror.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 1-1 AS Police (BFA)

Camara on target again after 3 minutes but we can't put the game to bed and end up being pegged back in a frustrating draw against mid-table AS Police.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) ASF Bobo-Dioulasso 0-0 Etoile Filante

Another delightful name to spell out in the diary. Tapsoba is sent off for the second time this season as we draw a blank away from home. US Forces Armées now hold the lead at the top, we sit 4 points behind in 3rd which is pretty much where I hoped we could be as the season approaches the halfway point. ASFA-Yennega are further back in 6th.

 

Three Way Battle

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 1-0 AJEB

A win is a win but it still took (yet another) Kouagou spot kick to secure a home win against mid-table opposition.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 0-2 US Forces Armées

A win here against one of our rivals would have put us right back in the title frame, but instead US Forces Armées gave us the sucker punch, scoring a penalty and a late breakaway goal to take all the points despite us bashing away at the door all match. They now lead us by 6 points with RC Kadiogo 2 points behind them.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Santos (BFA) 0-1 Etoile Filante

An immediate response from us. Centre half Tassembedo weighs in with the only goal of the game as well as leading the back line to another shutout.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 3-0 Majestic

Our biggest win of the season so far. I've signed Mamadou Traoré, the league's top scorer, from SONABEL in an attempt to add some firepower up front. He comes off the bench to score on his debut but Camara will keep his place in attack for now, having scored the first two goals himself.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 1-0 Bobo Sport

We move into the second half of the season. Almost another frustrating draw for us but Camara scores in the 89th minute to clinch three points for us.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) RC Kadiogo 2-0 Etoile Filante

We led RC Kadiogo in the table ahead of kick off after our three successive wins, but they soon move back into 2nd behind US Forces Armées with a comfortable 2-0 win over us. US Forces Armées top the table, 2 points ahead of RC Kadiogo and 3 points ahead of us. We're still in this you know! 13 games remaining.

 

Rock Solid

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 1-0 US Comoé

Another Kouagou penalty and another 1-0 win. I'm still very aware that if my defenders lose form even a little bit we're pretty much fucked for the run-in but if they can keep this up we're genuinely in a title battle. This result sees us complete a league double over the defending champions and move back up to 2nd.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) RC Bobo 0-0 Etoile Filante

One of our trickiest remaining fixtures away at 6th placed RC Bobo. Happy with a point here.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 1-0 ASFA-Yennega

Defender Ousmane Kaboré scores from an early corner, the back line do their thing and we take another three points, a league double over our biggest rivals and close in on US Forces Armées.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Commune FC 0-2 Etoile Filante

We completely dominate the match. Souleymane Ouattara puts us in front early on, Hervé Ouedraogo comes off the bench to bag the second late on.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 1-0 SONABEL

A fifth consecutive clean sheet and Souleymane Tapsoba's first goal of the season sees us move to the top of the table. Abel Camara's goals have dried up and Mamadou Traoré has just one goal in seven despite moving here as the league's top scorer, but we're still getting by somehow. Must be pissing our rivals right off.

 

Chasing Glory

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 2-1 US Yatenga

Another game, another win. Souleymane Ouattara and Hervé Ouedraogo both on target in the first 30 minutes for us but our run of clean sheets comes to an end. 16 points from the last 6 matches, top of the table and 7 games left. Definitely time to forget about accepting top 3 finishes now.

(Burkina Faso Cup 1st Round) Etoile Filante 3-1 CJSKA

We draw lower league CJSKA in the first round of the cup, and Mamadou Traoré scores a pair of overdue goals after Siaka Sanon opens the scoring to send us through.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) US Ouagadougo 1-2 Etoile Filante

Seriously, who calls themselves that? A tricky away game here and one of the matches our rivals would be hoping for us to slip up. We fall behind to a penalty but Traoré draws us level within 6 minutes and Kouagou scores a penalty of his own to give us a vital 3 points.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) AS Police (BFA) 0-1 Etoile Filante

Another challenge on the road, but Sanon's early goal is all we need thanks to our defence keeping an incredible 18th clean sheet in 25 league games. With 5 games remaining we are odds on to win a first title since 2014, leading US Forces Armées by 5 points. ASFA-Yennega have come on strong and sit just 2 points behind in 3rd, while RC Kadiogo have completely imploded.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) AJEB 1-0 Etoile Filante

Our seven match winning streak comes to an end on the road. US Forces Armées lose too while ASFA-Yennega win again and now sit 4 points behind us with 4 fixtures remaining. We still have to go to US Forces Armées as well...

 

Break for a Cuppa

(Burkina Faso Cup 2nd Round) Etoile Filante 3-0 JCB

It's that time of season where the league campaign is put to one side for a few weeks and the Burkina Faso Cup takes centre stage. We take an easy win over lower league opposition, Traoré scoring twice as the game is won by half time.

(Burkina Faso Cup 3rd Round) US Forces Armées 0-1 Etoile Filante

We face our title rivals next and Siaka Sanon's wonder strike late in the first half sends us into the next round. Hopefully this will land them a blow mentally ahead of the league run-in.

(Burkina Faso Cup Quarter Final) ARCFE 1-2 Etoile Filante

A rare appearance by a lower league side in the quarter finals here and they scared the shit out of us, taking an early lead before Sanon and cup specialist Traoré struck in the second half to rescue our campaign. Could we actually complete an unthinkable double in my first full season here?

(Burkina Faso Premier League) US Forces Armées 0-0 Etoile Filante

The league is back and we play out a bore draw at 3rd placed US Forces Armées. We could have done with a win with ASFA-Yennega in good form but the draw is more damaging for our opponents who now have 5 points to make up in three matches.

(Burkina Faso Cup Semi Final) Etoile Filante 0-0 ASFA-Yennega (ASFA-Yennega win on penalties)

Despite our home advantage, ASFA-Yennega came into this match as favourites due to their standing in Burkina Faso and impressive recent form. They had the better of the game, we held firm, but ultimately lost on penalties.

 

Down to the wire

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 2-0 Santos (BFA)

Here we are in the last three fixtures of the season. We have most of our tricky fixtures out of the way, but with ASFA-Yennega winning yet again when we drew at US Forces Armées, they had won 9 of the last 10 league games and moved into 2nd place, albeit 5 points behind. We didn't blink here though as goals from teenage winger Lassina Vabao and Hervé Ouedraogo maintained our advantage and surely (?) secured the title for us with 2 games left.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 1-1 ASF Bobo-Dioulasso

ASFA-Yennega weren't taking any prisoners, winning 6-0 in the early kick-off to pile the pressure on. A win here would secure the title for us though, and we breathed a huge sigh of relief when left back Harouna Traoré converted a penalty to put us ahead after 17 minutes. We couldn't get a second goal though and as player after player drifted into dangerous "Playing Nervously" territory throughout the match, the visitors equalised as a 93rd minute pot shot deflected into our net off Tassembedo's arse to deny us the title at least until the last day.

In the midst of full blown Football Manager homicidal rage, I opened my inbox to realise that, actually, a draw was enough after all. While ASFA-Yennega were three points behind us with a superior goal difference, the Burkina Faso Premier League sorts teams on equal points by the results between them before goal difference, and as we completed the double over them, a win for ASFA-Yennega on the last day wouldn't be enough for them even if we lost. So, fuck me, from 12th place last season, Etoile Filante win the Premier League!

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Majestic 1-0 Etoile Filante

Played the youth team here but ASFA-Yennega drew anyway, probably for the same reason, so our fifth league defeat of the season is nothing more than a minor annoyance.

 

Season Summary

Burkina Faso Premier League: 1st (Exceeded Expectations)

Burkina Faso Cup: Semi Final (Exceeded Expectations)

Summary: An odd but excellent season. At no stage did we really seem red hot, often grinding out 1-0 wins which I thought would secure a solid top 3-4 finish for us. My defenders remained in imperious form though, meaning that, although we scored less goals than any other side in the top half, the wins kept coming and we dawdled our way to Etoile Filante's first title in 9 years. Too bad about the cup but to be fair, a domestic double after no trophies for nearly a decade would have been too outrageous. Winning the title puts us into the African Champions League next season, which I could have tasted had I stayed at Santana after winning the league, but chose not to.

Having won the Burkina Faso Premier League already, I can now add all of the 1.5 star African leagues as playable, ready for the next step up. I have no interest in rushing away from Etoile Filante after just one season, but if a too good to refuse offer comes in from a higher league, I'll probably move on for the sake of my career.

 

EDIT: Forgot to mention that Burkina Faso somehow won the African Nations before this season. I half-hoped that this would lead to a boost to the reputation of the Burkina Faso league, but it stayed at one star, so I played it safe and loaded the 1.5 star leagues in Africa ready for my eventual next move. These leagues were:

Ethiopia, Zambia, Congo, Mali, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Nigeria, Angola.

Edited by adziom
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Nothing better to do with my Saturday night and I'm close to being up to date now so go on, let's do Chapter Nine...

Chapter Nine

Team: Etoile Filante

League: Burkina Faso Premier League

Season: 2023-24

Background: Having won the title last season, I was obviously hoping to retain it this season as well as having an impact in continental competition. As Abel Camara and Mamadou Traoré were disappointing in their goal returns last season, I signed Issa Bamba after his contract ran down following his impressive campaign with ASF Bobo-Dioulasso last season. Despite ending the season as our top scorer, Aubin Kouagou wasn't pulling up trees on the right wing so I bought Souleymane Pare, the league's top assister the previous year, while impressive prospects Lassina Vabao and Germain Dossama moved into the first team squad to further bolster our options on each wing. Brahima Boundane was an addition in defence, capable of playing right back or left back. The board were expecting us to finish in the top three and reach the cup final, but expected us to get knocked out in the Champions League Preliminary Round, and the media had us down for 3rd place this season, behind ASFA-Yennega and RC Kadiogo.

 

Made to Battle

(Burkina Faso Super Cup) Etoile Filante 2-1 ASFA-Yennega

We faced Burkina Faso Cup winners ASFA-Yennega in the season curtain-raiser, and we were all over them until left back Harouna Traoré got sent off for a reckless challenge early in the second half. Despite this, a stunner from Siaka Sanon put us ahead in the 54th minute, only for us to get pegged back straight from kick-off. It was a battle from here but Souleymane Pare's 93rd minute header on his debut saw us take a dramatic victory and another piece of silverware.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Salitas 1-3 Etoile Filante

Salitas were back after a year in the Lower League and we expected to give them a hammering on the opening day. Tassembedo put us in front late in the first half but we slipped up and they were level just after half time. We looked set for a disappointing draw but substitute Mamadou Traoré scored two late goals to get us off to a winning start.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 0-0 RC Kadiogo

Just like last year, our first home game is a goalless draw with RC Kadiogo, which, again, isn't a bad result by any means.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Commune FC 0-0 Etoile Filante

Another 0-0 draw against underwhelming opposition and this isn't how I hoped we'd mount our title defence so far.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 1-1 RC Bobo

Early season pace setters RC Bobo almost got the better of us at home, but Souleymane Ouattara's 87th minute equaliser kept us unbeaten at least.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 2-0 US Comoé

Goals from Sanon and Ouattara gave us victory here but I still have concerns over our attacking play, with none of our strikers or wingers scoring besides Traoré and his two goal cameo on the opening day.

 

More Like It

(Burkina Faso Premier League) ASFA-Yennega 1-2 Etoile Filante

We frustrated ASFA-Yennega once again, coming from behind to win thanks to Souleymane Pare's first half injury time equaliser, and Issa Bamba's first goal for the club.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) AJEB 1-2 Etoile Filante

Another narrow win, but we learned last season that three points is three points. Another goal from Sanon in midfield put us ahead, Kassamba's own goal drew AJEB level but Dossama's penalty clinched our victory.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 0-0 AS Police (BFA)

A disappointing result at home, really need one of our strikers to find some form.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Majestic 1-5 Etoile Filante

What's this? Five goals in a single match!? Issa Bamba finally finds his scoring boots for us and nets four times including a penalty. Substitute Kouagou completes the rout with a second penalty after Majestic pulled one back.

 

The Real Champions League

(African Champions League Preliminary Round Leg 1) Etoile Filante 2-1 Sunshine Stars

My first taste of continental competition since getting turned over as Santana manager by Nigerian Enugu Rangers five years ago. Once again, I was faced with Nigerian opponents, and we weren't much fancied against Sunshine Stars but we took the win in the first leg thanks to first half goals from Bamba and Pare. Unfortunately, we conceded an away goal in the second half.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) US Forces Armées 1-3 Etoile Filante

A thoroughly satisfying win away at rivals US Forces Armées, who weren't faring nearly as well as they did last season. Ouattara put us ahead before the hosts leveled the game, but Bamba continued his fine form with two second half goals leading us to victory.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 1-0 Santos (BFA)

Back to the old reliable, one goal from Bamba and a clean sheet enough to send us top of the table.

(African Champions League Preliminary Round Leg 2) Sunshine Stars 0-1 Etoile Filante (Etoile Filante win 3-1 on aggregate)

We were expecting a real battle here, but Sunshine Stars couldn't break us down and Bamba's header in the 69th minute put us in a commanding position, allowing us to kill the game and move into the First Round.

 

On a Rampage

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 4-0 ASF Bobo-Dioulasso

Goals from Ouattara, Sanon, Traoré and Tassembedo inflict a heavy defeat on a side who shouldn't have such an irritating name.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) KOZAF 0-3 Etoile Filante

A comfortable away win thanks to goals from Bamba, Vabao and Kaboré. Finally we have a reliable goalscorer with goals also coming from the rest of the side in abundance.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 1-0 US Ouagadougo

Bamba strikes again and the defence continue to show their mettle, nice one lads.

(African Champions League 1st Round Leg 1) Etoile Filante 3-1 Berekum Chelsea

Ghanaian giants Berekum Chelsea were our next opponents in the Champions League, bringing a whopping 2.5 star reputation to town. Yet another strike from midfielder Ouattara gave us an early lead, before Moussa Sanogo and Issa Bamba scored two in as many minutes, giving us a three goal advantage within the hour. A consolation goal for Berekum Chelsea took the gloss off a famous win for Etoile Filante.

(African Champions League 1st Round Leg 2) Berekum Chelsea 1-0 Etoile Filante (Etoile Filante win 3-2 on aggregate)

It was a long old trip to Ghana for the return leg, and I feared the worst when Berekum Chelsea took the lead after 11 minutes, but we resisted as they laid siege to our goal for 80 minutes, moving us one round away from the last eight Group Stage. This success was considered a huge scalp for us and is still referenced as a great win for me as a manager years after the event.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 2-1 SONABEL

The players were fatigued following a long haul flight back from Ghana, and it showed when SONABEL grabbed a late goal, but Issa Bamba's brace meant the damage was already done for the visitors. This marks the halfway point of the season, and having played all 15 opponents once, we bragged an impressive 11 wins and 4 draws. RC Bobo are 10 points behind us in 2nd place, with ASFA-Yennega 3rd.

 

Crashing down to Earth

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 4-0 Salitas

Sanogo, Traoré, Ouattara and Ouédraogo grab the goals as we continue our fine league form against bottom club Salitas.

(African Champions League 2nd Round Leg 1) Etoile Filante 0-1 Coton Sport

The champions of Cameroon posed our next challenge on the continent, and they didn't take us lightly after we upset Berekum Chelsea. Coton Sport brought a similar pedigree to Burkina Faso and led within 3 minutes, we had no response.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) RC Kadiogo 0-1 Etoile Filante

RC Kadiogo's implosion at the end of last season has carried into this season, they're stuck in mid-table and an 81st minute goal from Dossama consigned them to another defeat here, despite right back Rui Junior getting sent off for us in injury time.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 3-1 Commune FC

A serious scare at home as Commune broke the deadlock in the 71st minute, threatening our winning run. Dossama equalised from the penalty spot in the 76th minute though, and substitute Mamadou Traoré bagged a further two goals for us within five minutes to save our blushes.

(African Champions League 2nd Round Leg 2) Coton Sport 2-0 Etoile Filante (Coton Sport win 3-0 on aggregate)

A flattering scoreline for Coton Sport as we applied huge pressure throughout the game. However, we couldn't get a breakthrough and they eventually put two past our tired defence in the last 10 minutes. We're out of the Champions League but will be parachuted into the African Confederation Cup 3rd Round draw.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 1-2 ASFA-Yennega

There would be no 11th consecutive league win for us. Although Souleymane Pare scored for the third game running against ASFA-Yennega, we couldn't overturn the 2-0 half time deficit.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) RC Bobo 2-1 Etoile Filante

Once again, our breakthrough comes too late as we fail to come back from 2 goals down against our closest league rivals. Having just lost to the sides in 3rd and 2nd place respectively, our margin at the top of the league is chopped down from 9 points to 3.

 

What Champions are made of?

(Burkina Faso Premier League) US Comoé 0-2 Etoile Filante

A vital win to get us back on track, Bamba's first goal in a while gets us off the mark while a rare appearance for Kouagou from the bench sees him secure the win.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 2-2 AJEB

AJEB have been something of a banana skin for Etoile Filante since before I took charge, and it proved so again here as we failed to win at home despite leading twice through Sanon and Ouattara.

(African Confederation Cup 3rd Round Leg 1) Etoile Filante 0-1 Polokwane City

South African opposition this time, and another much more reputable side got the better of us with a 1-0 win.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) AS Police (BFA) 0-2 Etoile Filante

We stay on track in the league with goals from Sanogo and Vabao.

(African Confederation Cup 3rd Round Leg 2) Polokwane City 3-0 Etoile Filante (Polokwane City win 4-0 on aggregate)

Our continental adventure finally comes to an end. Again we weren't beaten as badly as it looked as two goals in the last ten minutes for our opponents added gloss to the result from their perspective.

 

Cup Kick Off

(Burkina Faso Cup 1st Round) Bafoudji de Gaoua 1-4 Etoile Filante

Hope these fuckers never get promoted to the Premier League, can't be arsed typing that out again. Kassamba, Ouattara, Sam and Traoré bag the goals for us in a comfortable win.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 2-1 Majestic

RC Bobo and ASFA-Yennega are still shadowing us closely and the pressure may be telling as we fall behind early to relegation-threatened Majestic, but Traoré soon sets things straight with an equaliser and Dossama's penalty proves to be the winning goal.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) US Ouagadougo 0-1 Etoile Filante

Another sweaty afternoon as we cling onto a 1-0 win following a first half own goal. Could really do with Bamba getting his act together again.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 1-1 US Forces Armées

Issa Bamba scores a penalty to rescue a draw here despite a late red card for Moussa Sanogo. This isn't the US Forces Armées of last season though and definitely goes down as two points dropped. RC Bobo breathing down our necks.

(Burkina Faso Cup 2nd Round) AJSK 0-3 Etoile Filante

A kind draw in the cup hands us a reprieve after some tough league games. Bamba, Ouédraogo and Traoré fire us into the third round.

(Burkina Faso Cup 3rd Round) AS Djiboué 0-4 Etoile Filante

Ouattara, Bamba, Traoré and Pare this time send us through against another lower league opponent. Two confidence boosting wins at a time where morale was getting just slightly iffy.

(Burkina Faso Cup Quarter Final) RC Bobo 1-1 Etoile Filante (Etoile Filante win on penalties)

1st vs 2nd in the cup quarter final and Bobo looked to have the better of us before Traoré continued his frankly insane scoring run in the Burkina Faso Cup stretching back to last season with an 88th minute equaliser. A perfect record in the shootout saw us into the semi-finals.

 

Sprint Finish

(Burkina Faso Premier League) ASF Bobo-Dioulasso 2-1 Etoile Filante

Just like last season, we returned to league action with a five point lead, this time over RC Bobo, with ASFA-Yennega once again loitering in 3rd place with four matches remaining. I actually managed to type out ASF Bobo-Dioulasso's name this time without re-opening the game to check the spelling three times, but they can still burn in hell for consigning us to defeat in the 92nd minute, after Traoré, who has now displaced Bamba in the starting line up, gave us a half-time lead.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Santos (BFA) 0-2 Etoile Filante

We cling onto our lead at the top of the table, with Bamba coming off the bench to score before Ouattara finished the job.

(Burkina Faso Cup Semi Final) Salitas 0-1 Etoile Filante

Somehow relegated Salitas had reached the semi finals of the cup, and they put up a strong fight but Souleymane Pare's 15th minute strike was enough to send us into the final. Two games left in the league and into the Cup Final, the double is on but with a slender lead of just one point over RC Bobo we could easily end up empty-handed.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) Etoile Filante 5-1 KOZAF

KOZAF hadn't pulled up any trees since being promoted this season, so thank god we face them at this time of season. It took a 38th minute Pare penalty to break the deadlock but Kassamba, Ouédraogo and a brace from sub Kouagou saw us take a comfortable win. This result eliminated ASFA-Yennega from title contention but the relentless RC Bobo won again meaning the title went down to the last day.

(Burkina Faso Premier League) SONABEL 1-1 Etoile Filante

An absolute heart attack of a last day of the season. It all looked rosey when Issa Bamba put us in front after 26 minutes, and RC Bobo somehow found themselves behind at home to Majestic, in their own final day scrap for survival. However, SONABEL pegged us back with a scruffy goal within 7 minutes and the title was in the balance at half time as an RC Bobo win would mean a point wasn't enough for us. We were on Overload for the whole second half and heart rates intensified when word came through that Bobo equalised on the hour mark. We simply couldn't find a breakthrough, hit the woodwork twice and began to pray that Majestic held on for an improbable result. Incredibly, they did it, and for the second year running we secured the title with a draw against a bottom half side, this time by a single point on the last day. Given that we were on 14 wins and 4 draws after 18 games in a 30 game season, RC Bobo did incredibly well to run us so close.

(Burkina Faso Cup Final) Etoile Filante 1-1 RC Kadiogo (RC Kadiogo win on penalties)

Having won the title in dramatic fashion for the second year running, in addition to the Burkina Faso Super Cup, we were one game away from a domestic clean sweep here, and Mamadou Traoré scored his 10th goal in 12 Burkina Faso Cup matches since joining Etoile Filante to give us the lead after 16 minutes. We were absolutely dominant for most of the tie against an RC Kadiogo side who had let themselves down with a poor league campaign, but we couldn't find a second goal and conceded a sickening 93rd minute equaliser which took the final to penalties. All looked well when RC Kadiogo blinked first and handed us the advantage in the shootout, but we couldn't hold our nerve and eventually lost it 4-3.

 

Season Summary

Burkina Faso Premier League: 1st (Exceeded Expectations)

Burkina Faso Super Cup: Winners (not judged on this)

Burkina Faso Cup: Runners Up (Met Expectations)

African Champions League: 2nd Round (Exceeded Expectations)

African Confederation Cup: 3rd Round (Met Expectations)

Summary: Another exciting, nerve-wracking and ultimately successful campaign at the top of the Burkina Faso Premier League. Whereas last season we came from slightly behind to hit the front on the home straight, this season we romped into a dominant position before surviving RC Bobo's onslaught to hobble over the line with some help from Majestic on the last day. It's safe to say that my time with Etoile Filante couldn't have gone much better so far, but after winning titles in all of my last three full seasons at domestic level - once with Santana and twice with Etoile Filante - now seems like the perfect time to take another step up.

The Cup Final defeat would prove to be the last time I took charge of Etoile Filante, as a major opportunity in a bigger league came my way during the Burkina Faso off-season. As the Burkina Faso schedule doesn't line up with that of my next destination, Chapter Ten will be a slightly shorter one. Time to hop on this little beauty:

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We are now three chapters away from being up to date with the season I finished today, tempted to polish this off tonight now. I've clearly provided @Cure with some Saturday night reading B|. Hopefully the influx of updates doesn't confuse anyone else who is following this thread.

This one is a short chapter, as I take on my fourth job mid-season, but here's some background on my new team...

Zanaco_FC.png

Zanaco - giants of Zambian football and sensational indeed. With 11 titles in the last 22 seasons, including last season, Zanaco are the cream of the crop in Zambia, with the league and the club both boasting a reputation that marks a step up from Etoile Filante with a whopping 1.5 stars. This isn't plucky Santana and it isn't the 'sleeping giant' scenario I walked into at Etoile Filante - Zanaco expect to win and they expect it straight away. The defending champions were suffering this season though, lying in 5th place, and a distant 5th place at that, outclassed by their rivals despite being touted by the media to win the Zambian Premier League this season. Manager Aubrey Phiri had to go despite winning the league last season, a 3-1 home defeat to league leaders Kabwe Warriors proving to be the last straw.

Chapter Ten

Team: Zanaco

League: Zambian Premier League

Season: 2024

Background: I've inherited an interesting set of circumstances here. A talented squad but a club suffering slightly on the financial front, and the majority of the side's key players looking for a move to a bigger club. This short chapter details the handful of matches remaining in the 2024 season, with a slim chance of us moving up to 4th place if we're lucky.

The top flight in Zambia marks another increase in the amount of games per season, boasting 18 clubs. The only domestic cup competition is the Zambian Bank Cup, not deemed important by the elite clubs despite offering a route into the African Confederation Cup. Zanaco lost in the first round this season to Power Dynamos.

 

Setting the bar

(Zambian Premier League) Zanaco 1-1 Zesco

We squared off with 4th placed Zesco in my opening match in charge, just two days after my appointment. A first half goal from Simon Banda almost got us off to the perfect start, but we were denied by an 88th minute equaliser.

(Zambian Premier League) National Assembly 1-4 Zanaco

A first victory came for us with goals from Mwape, Banda, Chikomo and Chifulwa. National Assembly were eventually relegated this season and were typical of the opposition we faces in this run of games.

(Zambian Premier League) Zanaco 2-1 Lusaka Tigers

A first home win comes against mid-table opposition. Despite falling behind after 2 minutes, we rallied quickly with star striker Jackson Chikomo equalising within a minute and winger Boyd Mwape completing the comeback with an 86th minute decider.

(Zambian Premier League) Nakambala Leopards 0-2 Zanaco

Another visit to a side that were relegated at the end of the season. Goals from Munyao and Banda secured victory against ten men.

(Zambian Premier League) Zanaco 3-0 Green Eagles

Chikomo was on target twice here, with playmaker Brian Kalengo putting the icing on the cake.

 

Season Summary

Zambian Premier League: 5th

Zambian Bank Cup: First Round

African Champions League: First Round

Summary: Obviously I wasn't judged on these results. We put together a good run against mid-lower league sides to finish the season but so did Zesco meaning that they held us off and stayed in 4th. There is a tough summer ahead, with striker Chikomo and winger Munyao, the two best players at the club, currently transfer-listed by request as they look to make the next step in their respective careers, but more about that in Chapter 11.

Edited by adziom
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Chapter Eleven

Team: Zanaco

League: Zambian Premier League

Season: 2025

Background: We finished last season with a lot of work that needed doing on the squad. This wasn't going to be a straightforward task though - thanks to the yearly wage rise written into the contracts of the majority of the first team squad, we went into the transfer window already over the wage budget which didn't help the club's balance, which was already in the red. The best way to boost finances at this level, as I learned with Etoile Filante, was to win ties in continental competition, but with no league or cup success last season, we didn't have that opportunity at Zanaco for at least a season. Star striker Jackson Chikomo and standout winger Jacob Munyao were also transfer listed by request, having decided it was time to move to a bigger club. Shifting these two would have opened up at least a small slice of spare wage budget and allowed me to actually sign some players to pack out a thin squad which didn't contain a single defensive midfielder, an important position in my preferred tactic. However, even when I offered Chikomo and Munyao for £0, there were no takers, and we had to keep them at the club. For the mean time I added them to the unwanted list in the hope that my Director of Football could find a way to get them out the door. In terms of business then, I had to settle for the two end of contract acquisitions I had managed to organise before the yearly wage increases kicked in - striker Henry Kapumbu whose goal tally from last season was enough to convince me he could be at least second choice for us, and the versatile but pretty average Kennedy Chiwaya, the only player capable of playing at DM in my squad.

Despite these troubles, I was ready to work away at the situation, get us back into the Champions League and restructure the squad to fit the wage budget over time. The board were not arsed about the Zambian Bank Cup, and set one expectation, to win the league. The media had us down as pre-season favourites to lift the title so the pressure was on. Unfortunately, I had a discussion with the chairman pre-season about completing my next coaching course, who refused because he didn't want to make me more attractive to bigger clubs, perhaps annoyed by the behaviour of the club's key players in recent months. However, in refusing to support my development the chairman left me thinking that perhaps I would treat Zanaco as a stepping stone, rather than staying to build a dynasty at the club and push for continental glory.

 

Blazing a Trail

(Zambian Premier League) Zanaco 2-1 Lusaka Dynamos

We kicked off with a win at home, Chikomo scoring despite staying at the club under duress. Charles Banda's second half goal proved decisive after we were initially pegged back.

(Zambian Premier League) City of Lusaka 1-2 Zanaco

Another game, another 2-1 win. This time we came from behind with goals from midfielder Brian Kalengo and substitute Kapumbu.

(Zambian Premier League) Zanaco 1-1 Forest Rangers

A disappointing home draw begins to make this start look slightly underwhelming. Chikomo opened the scoring for us again but we failed to kill the game off and conceded a second half equaliser.

(Zambian Premier League) Green Eagles 0-2 Zanaco

My first experience of the card-happy Zambian referees. Chiwaya was sent off for two bookings for us which didn't endear himself to the already doubtful fans. We still led 2-0 at half time though with goals from Mulao, our best player who actually wants to stick around, and Charles Banda. We were assisted when a second red card was shown in the second half, this time to the hosts.

(Zambian Premier League) Zanaco 2-1 Power Dynamos

Our first real test of the season. For the second game running we had a man sent off for two yellows in the first half, this time Brian Kalengo. A penalty put Dynamos ahead just after half time, but we managed to turn it around with goals from captain Nyirenda and Kapumbu.

(Zambian Premier League) Nkwazi 2-2 Zanaco

We were top of the table already, and Nkwazi were our closest challengers early on. Chikomo put us ahead early on before the hosts came back to lead 2-1, only to be denied by Munyao's late equaliser.

(Zambian Premier League) Zanaco 6-1 Young Arrows

Our most convincing win of the season wrapped up an impressive start from us. Kapumbu scored a hat-trick as he continued to stake his claim for a starting berth over the increasingly sulky Chikomo, Simon Banda was on target twice along with centre half Dickson Sichone.

 

Not all Rosey

(Zambian Premier League) Mufulira Wanderers 0-0 Zanaco

A disappointing goalless draw at relegation candidates Mufulira. Young winger Kennedy Nyirenda missed a penalty while Chikomo and Munyao were noticeably below-par.

(Zambian Premier League) Zanaco 2-0 Nchanga Rangers

A big win against one of the few sides supposed to be capable of troubling us at the top of the table. Captain Joseph Nyirenda bagged the opener before an own goal sealed the visitors' fate.

(Zambian Premier League) Lusaka Tigers 0-3 Zanaco

Goalless at half time, but our unbeaten start continued thanks to second half strikes from Simon Banda, Sichone and Chikomo. At this stage we were 4 points clear at the top.

(Zambian Premier League) Zanaco 0-2 Zesco

Zesco were another side backed for a top 5 finish after finishing 4th last season. They outlasted us in our own back yard, resisting our pressure before nicking the game with goals in the 87th and 90th minutes. The second goal a 50 yard volley which looped over my goalkeeper as he inexplicably took up position 30 yards from goal to get a closer look at our attacking corner. Cunt.

(Zambian Premier League) Kabwe Warriors 0-0 Zanaco

Defending champions Kabwe Warriors were a bit adrift at this stage in the season, but were coming into a bit of form so I can swallow this one away from home.

(Zambian Premier League) Zanaco 1-2 Green Buffaloes

An absolute train wreck result that came about conceding from a corner after 6 minutes. It took until the second half for us to level through Kapumbu but we couldn't find a winner and were instead embarrassed by the bottom half side as their striker steered a long hoof from their goalkeeper into our net late on. With one point from three games, Nkwazi usurped our position at the top of the league and I went fucking mental at my players.

 

Righting the Ship

(Zambian Premier League) NAPSA Stars 1-2 Zanaco

Newly-promoted NAPSA Stars almost pulled a Green Buffaloes on us, taking the lead early on. Despite Brian Kalengo becoming the second player to get multiple red cards for two bookable offences for us this season, we turned the game around through two Simon Banda penalties.

(Zambian Premier League) Zanaco 3-0 Red Arrows

This one marks more of a return to form as Charles Banda, Kapumbu and Jimmy Chalwe on a rare appearance secured a comfortable home win.

(Zambian Premier League) Nkana 0-0 Zanaco

A draw on the road against mid-table Nkana. Not a disastrous result but we can't get back to the top of the table without a winning run.

(Zambian Premier League) Kalulushi Modern Stars 1-3 Zanaco

Another slightly laboured win against innocuous opponents. Munyao opened the scoring for us but we had to find another gear when they equalised in the second half. Simon Banda put us in front before an own goal rubbed salt in the opposition's wounds.

(Zambian Premier League) Lusaka Dynamos 1-4 Zanaco

Another early goal conceded but we still won comfortably. Chikomo decided he could be arsed today and scored twice, joined on the scoresheet by Nyirenda and Simon Banda. This win put us back on top of the league as we move into the second half of the season, with Nkwazi and Zesco in close attention. Kabwe Warriors were improving too and creeping up on all three of us.

 

Weathering a Storm

(Zambian Premier League) Zanaco 1-1 City of Lusaka

Not good news as joint-but-not-really-first-choice striker Kapumbu is knocked out for the season with a broken leg, leaving us at the mercy of Chikomo's whims of whether he can be arsed today in the striker position. Third choice Edwin Silono has also requested a transfer because he isn't getting games, fair enough. The transfer window is open by the way but still, nobody wants Chikomo or Munyao. Chikomo's whims were not in our favour today and it took an own goal to give us the lead before a late penalty consigned us to a poor draw.

(Zambian Premier League) Forest Rangers 0-3 Zanaco

Chikomo turned up for us here, scoring twice either side of Simon Banda's penalty. Young defender Boyd Chifulya picks up our 5th red card in the 20 game season, all of them for two bookings, which is really starting to piss me off given that I've not had this problem at previous clubs and we don't even have "Get Stuck In" as an instruction.

(Zambian Premier League) Zanaco 1-1 Green Eagles

Simon Banda scores yet another penalty to give us an early lead but it's stand in full-back Dexter Ncube's turn to get sent off for two bookings and Eagles equalise a minute later. We are now 3rd behind Nkwazi and Zesco with Kabwe Warriors within a win of overtaking us. My job confidence is now insecure.

(Zambian Premier League) Power Dynamos 1-3 Zanaco

A very important win against 5th-placed Power Dynamos, with Chikomo's brace adding to Mulao's early opener.

(Zambian Premier League) Zanaco 3-5 Nkwazi

This paragraph is going to be a long one and most of it's not even because of the scoreline. After Chikomo scored twice against Dynamos, my Director of Football finally manages to ship him off somewhere for no fee after having him on the Unwanted list for months. The only problem for us is that our transfer window CLOSED FUCKING WEEKS AGO. With Kapumbu's broken leg ruling him out for the season I'm left up shit creek with Silono as my only option up front, transfer listed by request, and I'm forced to recall 18 year old Simon Chifwembe from his loan at National Assembly. The match is an absolute cunt's show. Silono, to his credit, puts us ahead after 10 minutes but Nkwazi equalise 3 minutes later. The visitors lead through a penalty after 37 minutes before my right back, you guessed it, gets sent off for two bookable offences just before half time, our third in four games and seventh of the season. When Nkwazi go 3-1 up on 62 minutes, I switch to Overload and Silono gets one back straight away. We stay on Overload in a desperate attempt not to lose ground on the league leaders but they go 4-2 up on 83'. Chifwembe gets a debut goal minutes later but Nkwazi score again on the break against my shite defence to secure a vital win. You'll notice that my 'best player' Munyao hasn't featured much in these match reports as I can't play him without him "looking uninterested" while creative outlet Brian Kalengo comes to comfort me by handing in his own transfer request after the match. I refuse which enrages half of the squad who demand that he be allowed to leave. What an absolute shithouse squad I've inherited here.

 

Teenage Messiah

(Zambian Premier League) Young Arrows 1-3 Zanaco

I was barely aware of Simon Chifwembe, sat in my under 21 squad at the start of the season and sent out on loan to National Assembly in Division One, but with third choice striker Silono picking up an injury in training, Chifwembe has now jumped from fourth choice to the starting line-up. He follows up his debut goal against Nkwazi with a brace here before Mulao's strike seals the win.

(Zambian Bank Cup 1st Round) NAPSA Stars 1-6 Zanaco

The Bank Cup is underway and we draw relegation strugglers NAPSA Stars first. We destroy them, Chifwembe scoring a hat-trick to make it 6 in 3 for the 18 year old, with Mulao and Simon Banda on target, as well as Chiwaya, who had quieted the doubters under the radar with a series of solid performances in defensive midfield.

(Zambian Premier League) Nchanga Rangers 2-1 Zanaco

We fall behind in the 11th minute, Chifwembe equalises in the 12th minute, we are behind again in the 13th minute. My defence can fuck off. The title is slipping away.

(Zambian Bank Cup Quarter Final) Young Arrows 1-3 Zanaco

Boyd Mwape, who now finds himself first choice on the right wing in place of the sulking Munyao, bags a brace with Charles Banda also on target to send us into the semis.

(Zambian Premier League) Zanaco 2-1 Mulufira Wanderers

Charles Banda scores twice to give us victory against ten men, we really should be winning these more comfortably but we are still in sight of the top of the table. Nkwazi have suffered a damaging dip in form, seeing them slip away. Zesco now sit top on goal difference with Kabwe Warriors second ahead of us 4 points behind.

 

Crunch Time

(Zambian Premier League) Zesco 0-0 Zanaco

The odds really are stacked against us now. Playing Munyao and Kalengo is a waste of time due to their morale and with Chikomo gone with no chance to sign a replacement, that's three of our first choice front four out of action with no strength in depth to cater for it. A loss here would surely have crushed our title chase but a draw doesn't do much for us either. We are still 3rd but Kabwe Warriors' win means they now sit on top 6 points ahead of us. The next one's massive...

(Zambian Premier League) Zanaco 2-1 Kabwe Warriors

Yeeees!! We rally from behind to win with Charles Banda equalising and Chiwaya's stunning free kick proving to be the match winner. Six games to go and we are three points behind Kabwe Warriors. Zesco's loss means they stay in 2nd just one point ahead of us.

(Zambian Premier League) Green Buffaloes 3-1 Zanaco

Oh for fuck's sake. Bottom half Buffaloes beat us again as my spineless shithouse players revert to "playing nervously" as soon as they get within a sniff of the top of the table. 3-0 down and the face that the consolation was an own goal rubs salt into the wounds. The chairman sets a meeting after this result stating that if I don't attend my contract will be terminated because he's an absolute cunt. He asks me what happened in this match and I refuse to be a little bitch and grovel "sorry master, it was all my fault". I was fuming at the players' performance and relaid as much in the meeting. I stopped short of calling him out on his amateur management of the club's finances leaving us in a situation where we were effectively under a transfer embargo due to the players being allowed yearly wage rise clauses in their contracts inflating the wage bill beyond a manageable level, on his refusal to send me on a coaching course because he was scared of losing me to a bigger club, and on this overreaction to a single result. Following this meeting my job security was Very Insecure but I was past caring - why do I want to work at a club which expects me to take a side that finished 5th last season and win the league without being supported in improving the squad. Back on the footballing side, Kabwe Warriors and Zesco both won along with Power Dynamos who moved level on points with us.

(Zambian Bank Cup Semi Final) Power Dynamos 1-2 Zanaco

With the league out of sight this could be my best chance of leaving this shitty club with some silverware at least. Edwin Silono returned to the side and bagged both goals in a comeback win.

 

Neck and Neck

(Zambian Premier League) Zanaco 4-2 NAPSA Stars

A bizarre match saw Silono, Chiwaya and Simon Banda put us 3-0 up in 31 minutes. Chiwaya then gets send off for two yellow cards the absolute cunt and NAPSA peg us back to 3-2 before Chifwembe scores on the break for us to seal victory. Nkwazi beat Kabwe Warriors at the same time here, and we had a game in hand, as did Zesco. Bizarrely, if you assumed that we and Zesco would win our games in hand, at this stage the top five teams - Kabwe Warriors, Zesco, Power Dynamos, Zanaco and Nkwazi - were covered by a single point. If we could win all of our remaining matches, we could win the league.

(Zambian Premier League) Red Arrows 2-4 Zanaco

Another attempt from my players to shit the bed. Edwin Silono was injured again but at least my youth candidates had been signed up now so I could stick a 16 year old Jackson Kabamba on the bench as cover for my 18 year old starter Chifwembe. We were 2-0 down at half time against another shower of shite mid-table side, so I chucked on my 16 year old striker and we mounted a crazy comeback with goals from Kabamba (74), Mulao (78), Kabamba (81), Chifwembe (83). Still in the hunt.

(Zambian Premier League) Zanaco 1-2 Lusaka Tigers

Remember what I said about assuming we win our game in hand? Like I said, sniff the top of the table and this lot go missing. 2-0 down after 30 minutes, I was desperate enough to throw Munyao on and he got one back for us but we are all but mathematically out of the running now.

(Zambian Premier League) Zanaco 2-1 Nkana

Chifwembe scores twice to shuffle us back up to 3rd place but results elsewhere mean that we can no longer win the title. I'm now waiting for the axe to fall.

 

Consolation

(Zambian Bank Cup Final) Nkwazi 1-1 Zanaco (Zanaco win on penalties)

We are forced to start with 5th choice striker Jackson Kabamba here with Chifwembe injured too. The 16 year old scores 14 seconds into the final and we hang on for dear life. Nkwazi equalise early in the second half but neither side can find a winner in 120 minutes, so it was down to us to hold our nerve in the shootout and we did. The board don't give a shit though and my job status remains at Very Insecure.

(Zambian Premier League) Zanaco 8-3 Kalulushi Modern Stars

A joke end to a joke season. Zesco were still in with a shout of catching Kabwe Warriors on the last day but if they failed to win, we could still nick 2nd place and a spot in the African Confederation Cup with a win by 3 or more goals. We did our part, but they won too. Kabwe were successful on the last day also and retained their title. Jackson Kabamba hilariously scored a hat-trick for us here, not listing the rest of the scorers.

 

Season Summary

Zambian Premier League: 3rd (Under-Performed)

Zambian Bank Cup: Winners (not judged on this)

Summary: Not a pleasant season this one. I don't mind losing the title but my players managed to bottle it about 4 separate times which is an impressive feat in itself. The antics of Chikomo (less so), Munyao and Kalengo making themselves unplayable by sulking and generally playing shit while hoovering up almost half of the total wage budget crippled us this season and the chairman was completely unreasonable expecting me to be able to win the league with a squad that only managed 5th last season and received almost no investment, the one signing who actually made a difference being Kapumbu who suffered a broken leg. I don't know whether to blame reckless players or card-crazy officials for the absurd EIGHT red cards we received during the season either. Incredibly, each of these cards were for two yellows. Between these things and my Director of Football waiting until the transfer window was closed to finally get rid of one of the three sulking prima donnas, I don't know how much more we could have done.

I didn't get sacked at the end of the season, but my contract expired on the 31st of December and Zanaco and I went our separate ways. I had already loaded the next tier of African leagues during the season, so I was now waiting for an opportunity in a two star league (Algeria, DR Congo, Ghana, Morocco, Sudan). Having managed at the top of a 1.5* league I was happy to slot into a mid-table side in one of these new divisions after a pretty dire experience trying to go in at the top in Zambia.

I was offered interviews with some properly crap clubs in Sudan, but I steered clear given their low reputations and Media Predictions of relegation. It took almost a full year, until November 2026, before a perfect opportunity presented itself, and chapter number 12 will see me migrate to country number four...

air-algeria.jpg

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On 5/5/2017 at 6:35 PM, adziom said:

What it does, which I find irritating, is keep most of the same higher reputation managers and players and just gives them different names, but below that it basically generates a load of the fake players that usually come through the youth systems and assign them to teams so that they're roughly the same strength as they are in reality.

If I look at the Premier League now, Man City still have a Spanish manager called Javi Saenz, Man Utd have a Portuguese manager called Lucio Silverio, Chelsea have an Italian manager called Marcelo Felice... these guys are just Guardiola, Mourinho, Conte renamed and they just sort of sit there still managing those clubs even though it's 2024 in my game but nothing changes because I don't currently have any of the European leagues loaded as playable.

That's basically exactly what they do with Germany. If you haven't used the Germany cheat on the game (I say cheat, it's deleting a couple of files to get them active) then you get greyed out dummy versions of the real players. So Muller, Ozil etc... just have different names.

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5 hours ago, Dan said:

That's basically exactly what they do with Germany. If you haven't used the Germany cheat on the game (I say cheat, it's deleting a couple of files to get them active) then you get greyed out dummy versions of the real players. So Muller, Ozil etc... just have different names.

Yeah I find it ridiculous that they haven't sorted that out. Madness.

Going to get myself up to date here, onto a fifth different job in a fourth country. The last chapter was an absolute whopper and now that I'm up to date I might start doing two chapters a season to make for easier reading. Having left Zanaco on the first day of 2026, I was waiting for a club with about 2 stars of reputation which would mark a small step up from Zanaco, but I was willing to go to another 1.5 star club given that my time in Zambia wasn't exactly a resounding success. What was important was moving into a higher reputation league. It took 10 months before an appropriate job came up and the club with a vacancy was...

MC_Alger_(logo).png

MC Alger is my next destination. An Algerian club with a proud history, taking seven domestic championships, the last one coming in 2010, and even winning the African Champions League once in the 1970s. The club have been going through a barren spell, with their most notable recent success coming with consecutive top 3 finishes in 2019 and 2020. The 2026-27 season had them touted to finish in 3rd place, but MC Alger instead found themselves floundering in the relegation zone, the only teams below them the league's whipping boys, NA Hussein-Dey and AS Khroub, who had each only managed 2 points in the first 13 games of the 30 game season. These two sides are also the only opposition MC Alger have managed to defeat in the league all season, forcing the club to part company with Ali Belhadj.

 

Chapter Twelve

Team: MC Alger

League: Algerian League 1

Season: 2026-27

Background: We find ourselves in the relegation zone. Three teams go down from League 1, and NA Hussein-Dey and AS Khroub seem nailed on to be two of them with 2 points each from 13 games, meaning that we just need to usurp one side in the 17 remaining matches. As I take over, the closest target are MC El Eulma who are three points ahead of us. The squad looks decent enough, perhaps not strong enough to justify a pre-season prediction of 3rd place, but certainly not relegation fodder. The main issue has been a lack of goals, with just 7 in the season's opening 12 matches before the caretaker manager presided over a 7-0 win against AS Khroub in the last match, while the defence hasn't shipped too many goals. A quick meeting boosts morale so I feel confident of meeting the board's expectations of surviving in the top flight. The Algerian Cup hasn't kicked off yet and the board expect a semi-final run here which could be more of a challenge but the main thing is to avoid relegation.

 

Scrap for Points

(Algerian League 1) MC Oran 1-0 MC Alger

A trip to top half opposition gets us started just days after my appointment. The lads line up in the new 4-2-3-1 formation and generally keep things tight, but as we laboured in the final third, one was enough for MC Oran to take three points.

(Algerian League 1) MC Alger 1-0 JSM Bejaia

A first home game and a first win against mid-table side JSM Bejaia. Sofiane Adda finishes off a flowing attacking move midway through the second half to secure an important victory.

(Algerian Cup 5th Round) MC Alger 1-0 USM Blida (AET)

Top flight sides enter the Algerian Cup in the 5th round, and we get a handy home draw against League 2 opposition. As expected we control the match, but it takes a header from centre back Khaled Benkada to break the deadlock in extra time and send us into the next round.

(Algerian League 1) MC Alger 0-1 USM Alger

A massive derby for us as we head into the second half of the league season. Sadly, Farid Bahloul loses his head for us and is sent off for a rash challenge after 7 minutes. We still had plenty of possession but USM used their extra bodies well to keep us at bay and win with a long-range effort late in the first half.

(Algerian League 1) MC El Eulma 0-2 MC Alger

A massive game as face the side sat three points above us. A loss here would have been a disaster but the lads kept their nerve, Abderrahim Saadi giving us a deserved lead midway through the second half before a red card for the home side put us in a commanding position and allowed Saadi to double his money and secure 3 points and a move out of the relegation zone.

(Algerian League 1) MC Alger 1-0 Cabb Arréridj

Another three points against another potential relegation candidate. We controlled the match again but it took substitute Younes Akkouche to get the breakthrough for us. As the transfer window opened up, Saadi left the club for league leaders CS Constantine, who loaned us out of favour playmaker Mohamed Amroune. We splashed out £160,000 for striker Mohamed Meddour to bolster our attacking options, who was not a world beater by any means, but he was the best option available and had scored a respectable number of goals for ASO Chlef in the first half of the season.

 

In the Balance

(Algerian League 1) NA Hussein-Dey 2-1 MC Alger

A match against NA Hussein-Dey in the relegation zone provided us with the opportunity to take a third consecutive win, but we fell behind to an early penalty before winger Meziane pulled us level. We can't find a second goal, though, and we shockingly hand the hosts their first league win of the season as they bag the winner from a corner.

(Algerian Cup 6th Round) MC Alger 3-0 MC El Eulma

Mohamed Meddour gets his first MC Alger goal, adding to strikes from Sofiane Adda and defender Khaled Meddour, as we progress to the last 16 of the cup with victory over our relegation rivals.

(Algerian League 1) ASO Chlef 0-1 MC Alger

Another massive three points as an impressive rearguard performance and a wonder strike from Meziane get us back to winning ways in the league.

(Algerian Cup Eighth Final) MC Alger 2-0 JSM Skikda

Another home draw against a side from League 2, and a fortunate own goal securing victory for us after Meziane opened the scoring. Got to feel like luck's on our side here.

(Algerian League 1) MC Alger 0-1 USM El Harrach

Another side struggling near the bottom of the table. A win here would really have pulled us out of it, up to 12th with a game in hand, but we fluffed our lines and went down 1-0 to a first half penalty. A win for MC El Eulma keeps the pressure on.

(Algerian Cup Quarter Final) MC Alger 1-1 JSM Bejaia (MC Alger win on penalties)

A fourth consecutive home draw, this time against top flight opponents. Meddour puts us ahead late in the first half and, despite conceding a late equaliser, we come through on penalties. To my surprise, we have met the seemingly ambitious expectations from the board of reaching the semi finals.

(Algerian League 1) MO Bejaia 0-1 MC Alger

Djamel Meziane strikes in the 89th minute to earn us another narrow win and another massive three points. Eight games left and we are five points clear of the drop with a game in hand.

 

The Great Escape

(Algerian League 1) MC Alger 1-1 DRB Tadjenanet

Newly-promoted DRB Tadjenanet have done well to stay clear of the bottom three, but we still fancy our chances at home. Defensive midfielder Rebih puts us ahead but we have to settle for a point thanks to a late penalty for the visitors.

(Algerian League 1) CS Constantine 2-1 MC Alger

A tough run of fixtures begins with a visit to the league leaders. Disaster strikes when, already 1-0 down, we are reduced to ten men, Akkouche receiving his second yellow card. Meddour catches the home defence napping and equalises on the hour mark but we can't hold out and eventually lose 2-1.

(Algerian League 1) JS Kabylie 0-1 MC Alger

Another precious 1-0 success with Mohamed Meddour, now coming into some form, bagging the game's only goal after 30 minutes. Just a couple more wins should be enough to see us safe.

(Algerian League 1) MC Alger 2-1 CR Belouizdad

The result of the season against high-flying rivals CR Belouizdad. Defender Amine Messadi concedes a penalty which hands the visitors the initiative early on, but makes amends by nodding home an equaliser before half time. We are under the cosh for the remainder of the match as our rivals chase a win to boost their title chances, but substitutes Zerrouk and Djebbar combine to score a stunning winner for us on the break.

(Algerian League 1) MC Alger 2-2 ES Sétif

Anything but a disaster in the last four matches will mean safety for us and we had the opportunity to seal the deal with a win in our game in hand here. Meddour scores twice in a thrilling first half that ends 2-2, but neither side can find a decisive goal after the break and we share the spoils with the eventual champions.

 

Going for the Cup

(Algerian Cup Semi Final) MC Alger 1-0 MC Oran (AET)

Substitute Younnes Akkouche breaks the deadlock after 111 minutes as we take advantage of another home draw to put ourselves in the final. A fully deserved win in a match we dominated.

(Algerian League 1) AS Khroub 0-0 MC Alger

A golden opportunity to seal our top flight status at bottom club AS Khroub who were relegated with just 6 points from 30 matches at the end of the season. We had won the return match 7-0 but nerves got the better of us here and we couldn't find the net. Other results go our way though and we're safe with two games remaining.

(Algerian League 1) MC Alger 1-2 MC Oran

Our last home game of the season ends in disappointment, MC Oran avenging their cup semi-final defeat with a comeback win after Meddour had put us ahead from a spot kick.

(Algerian Cup Final) MC Alger 2-1 USM El Harrach (AET)

Lady luck really has smiled on us throughout this cup run, as we ride our run of home draws to the Final to find 11th placed side USM El Harrach as our opposition. It was an even match and I was worried it wasn't our day when Meziane missed a penalty, but a red card for El Harrach late in the second half put us truly on the front foot. It took until extra time for Meddour to break the deadlock and put us ahead, but our opponents weren't done, equalising from a stunning free kick in the 113th minute. Their relief was short-lived though, an own goal eventually deciding the cup final following a goalmouth scramble. A massive bonus to win a trophy at the end of the season!

(Algerian League 1) JSM Bejaia 4-1 MC Alger

The absolute definition of players on their holidays. We went 3-0 down in half an hour while Rebih was dismissed for two bookable offences. Meziane bags a consolation goal for us in the second half but we suffer our heaviest defeat of the season in this dead rubber.

 

Season Summary

Algerian League 1: 12th (Met Expectations)

Algerian Cup: Winners (Exceeded Expectations)

Summary: Can't complain at that, survival in the top flight and a domestic cup win that gets us into the African Confederation Cup next season. I'm interested to see what the expectations are for next season, as I have told the players we're aiming for a top half finish and they agreed it was reasonable. I have money to invest in the squad and have already signed Amroune from CS Constantine on a permanent deal following his 6 assists during his loan spell, so we should be able to push on next season. Despite a number of good wins in the second half of the season, we still only scored the 10th most points, though, highlighting the fact that we have work to do if we're to get anywhere close to troubling the big boys.

Having spent just 18 months with Sao Tome, 2 years with Etoile Filante and 1 full season with Zanaco, I'm ready for my time at MC Alger to be spent as a bit more of a project and while I don't rule anything out in terms of moving up the ladder, I'd expect to be staying in this job for at least two or three more seasons.

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Have to say I'm really enjoying this save and typing it up. This is the first Football Manager game that's really captured my imagination since the 2012 version, and I partly put it down to the Megapack (link in first post) that adds all the extra countries as playable, enabling me to start off with this massive journeyman career which has so far brought me a near-perfect balance of success and challenge.

Thanks again to those of you that have been following this, hopefully it has been of some interest, and again apologies for spamming the thread over the weekend with demoralising walls of text. Now that I'm finally up to date with the season I finished with MC Alger this evening, you can look forward to only having to check in every few days or so to keep up to date. Following on from that absolute marathon of a Zanaco chapter which covered a full 34 match league campaign and took me literally over two hours to write, I'm definitely going to be posting updates every half season from now on.

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I'm really enjoying these. About to sit down and read the next one.

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Very interesting read, especially for completely new leagues (I didn't even know the first place was an actual country xD).

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Right, for the first time, I will split the next season into two half-chapters, partly to keep the updates coming but mostly because I don't want to spend over 2 hours per chapter like I had to with the Zanaco season, although to be fair I did add 3-4 massive fuck off rants in there xD.

Chapter Thirteen, Part One

Team: MC Alger

League: Algerian League One

Season: 2027-28

Background: Having successfully rescued the team from relegation last season, and won the Algerian Cup as a massive bonus, the aims for this season were slightly higher for MC Alger. While the media predicted a top four finish for us, the board were happy with a top half finish (top 8) and a run to the Semi-Finals of the Algerian Cup, without being that arsed about the Super Cup. Top eight was a minimum for my personal aims and I really had my sights set on the top four finish I knew we were capable of. While we qualified for the African Confederation Cup via our Cup win, the expectations have not been set yet as it's so long until the next iteration starts.

It was a busy transfer window and I spent a whopping £500k on reinforcements whilst letting a handful of fringe players leave on loan or on the cheap. Signings included young centre-back El-Hadji Sedrati, defensive midfielders Farid Chergui and Mohamed Ghoul and last season's loan revelation Mohamed Amroune. Further players were added for the sake of strength in depth, Karim Kaci-Said (left back), Omar Lahouamad (striker) and Hichem Amrani (goalkeeper). However, the real headline grabber was experienced winger Bilal Daoud, veteran of 44 international appearances and available on a free transfer after his Zaragoza contract expired. Daoud's initial wage demands of £7.5k per week were way out of our pay range, but after the 34 year old decided he wanted to end his career playing in his home country, his agent returned with reduced demands of £2.9k per week.

 

Wonky Start

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 3-2 MC El Eulma

Our fellow survivors from last season, the media predicted contrasting seasons for the clubs this year, MC El Eulma backed to go down this season. Mohamed Meddour's first half hat-trick and a late red card for MC El Eulma was enough to see off the visitors, though the three points could have come easier without some sloppy defensive errors.

(Algerian League One) USM El Harrach 2-0 MC Alger

Another side who struggled in the bottom half last season, I saw this as a great chance to start with 6 points from 6. However, a pretty dire performance and a goal conceded in each half put paid to these hopes and left us scratching our heads.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 2-1 ES Sétif

Next up were the defending champions, and we took a thoroughly deserved win thanks to goals from Sofiane Adda and Mohamed Meddour, and in spite of a bizarre late own goal by Kaci-Said when he mishit a clearance by about 180 degrees to find his own net from an impossible angle.

(Algerian League One) JS Kabylie 3-1 MC Alger

Two home wins and two away defeats. Daoud's first goal for the club had us ahead at half time, but Ghoul's red card for two bookings left us in the lurch, and the home side launched a second half comeback culminating in two goals in the last ten minutes to claim victory.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 0-0 JSM Bejaia

We fired a disappointing blank at home, despite playing against ten men for over an hour and mustering 16 attempts on goal. Not the most impressive opposition either, two points dropped.

(Algerian League One) CA Batna 1-1 MC Alger

A tricky trip to newly-promoted CA Batna sees the spoils shared as Daoud's late equaliser cancels out a 70th minute penalty for the hosts. Six games, two wins, two draws and two defeats. Naturally at this stage, we are hovering in the middle of the table, and every result could make a massive change to our position.

 

Super Cup

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 2-0 MC Oran

This one had the potential for another frustrating draw but goals from defender Slimani and Daoud in the last 15 minutes earned us an important win.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 1-1 CR Belouizdad

Our first major rival clash of the year. We had the better of the match but fell behind to a goal from a corner midway through the second half. Noureddine Djebbar came off the bench to rescue a point with a stunning equaliser with ten minutes remaining.

(Algerian League One) USM Alger 1-1 MC Alger

Despite being touted for a title challenge, USM Alger were struggling just below us in mid-table at this early stage in the season, but they were all over us and led at half-time in the derby before Meddour struck in the second half to keep our unbeaten run going.

(Algerian League One) CS Constantine 0-1 MC Alger

What should have been a deadly run of fixtures continued as last year's title contenders played hosts in our next match. However, CS Constantine were struggling even more than USM Alger at this stage in the season, and Amine Messadi won us the game, meeting Amroune's free kick with a powerful header into the top corner on the hour mark.

(Algerian Super Cup) MC Alger 1-1 ES Sétif (MC Alger win 4-3 on penalties)

Another strong performance against the defending champions and current league leaders ES Sétif. Sofiane Adda's superb free kick just before half time gave us a deserved lead, but our opponents showed their fighting quality to the last minute and equalised in the 92nd minute to send the game to extra time. After a goalless half hour in extra time, we put one hand on the cup once more, converting our first two penalties in the shootout while goalkeeper Aliouane kept out Sétif's first two attempts. However, misses from Djebbar and Adda allowed our opponents to force the shootout to sudden death, Mohamed Ghoul finally converting the winning penalty to send the trophy home with MC Alger despite our best efforts to throw it away.

 

Gathering Pace

(Algerian League One) MC Bejaia 2-1 MC Alger

One of those days as Mouloud Henni scored two long range free-kicks for MC Bejaia in the first half, leaving us 2-0 down at the break. Mohamed Amroune's first goal for the club pulled us back into the tie just after half-time, but we were unable to complete the comeback and slipped back to 8th with defeat here.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 3-1 DRB Tadjenanet

This match marked the beginning of a favourable-looking set of fixtures, and the opportunity to shake off the litany of teams we were rubbing shoulders with in mid-table. Despite going behind early, we rallied with goals from Meddour and Daoud either side of half time, and an own goal gave us enough of a cushion to cruise to victory.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 3-1 JS Saoura

An absolute home banker against the bottom club and relegation favourites at home, newly-promoted JS Saoura. Somehow, we fell behind in the first 15 minutes, before Daoud drew us level on the brink of half time. Djebbar came on at the midpoint of the match, and made the difference with 2 goals after overcoming a blow to the head.

(Algerian Cup Fifth Round) USO Amizour 1-2 MC Alger

The beginning of our cup defence saw the opportunity for a number of squad players to stake their claim for a place in the side. Things started well with Meziane and Benkada putting us 2-0 up by half time against our lower league opponents, but the hosts made us sweat with a late consolation goal.

(Algerian League One) ASO Chlef 0-2 MC Alger

Unfancied ASO Chlef were flying high in 2nd place as we approached the halfway point of the season, making this our result of the season so far, as Djebbar, now first choice striker, netted a goal in each half against ten men to secure three points and move us up to 5th place.

(Algerian League One) RC Arba 2-3 MC Alger

A fifth consecutive win carries us to the midpoint of the season. Goals from Adda and Djebbar had us 2-0 up after 20 minutes, but we went in level as full back Omar Amrani suffered a nightmare 20 minutes, gifting our opponents hope with a howling error before conceding a penalty moments later. We showed good character though and Djebbar's second goal of the game was enough to clinch the points against our newly-promoted opponents.

 

Mid-Season Review

Algerian League One: 4th (Exceeding Expectations)

Algerian Cup: Sixth Round (On track to meet expectations)

Algerian Super Cup: Winners (Exceeded Expectations)

Summary: Our recent upturn in form has moved us from mid-table floaters to the coat-tails of those chasing the title, and with favourable fixtures on the horizon, things are looking positive at the moment. The transfer window has just opened but with the ban on non-Algerian players being signed by MC Alger, I'm not sure how much movement I'll make in this window.

ES Sétif currently sit top of the table on 35 points, with CR Belouizdad two points behind them. ASO Chlef have stuttered slightly and sit 3rd on 29 points, just one point ahead of us, while MO Bejaia, USM El Harrach and JSM Bejaia prowling just 3 points behind. USM Alger on 24 points round off the top half of the league.

The next round of the Algerian Cup has handed us a favourable draw at home to lower league USM Chéraga, so a run to at least the semi-finals in line with the board's expectations looks achievable here too.

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It's been a very lazy Saturday afternoon and another half-season has passed, so here's...

Chapter Thirteen, Part Two

Team: MC Alger

League: Algerian League One

Season: 2027/28

Background: Picking up where we left off the other day, we have won the Super Cup, we are sat 4th and on a good run at the mid-point of the league season, we've progressed to the last 32 of the Algerian Cup, which we won last season, and we are awaiting the beginning of the African Confederation Cup in the second half of the season. The mid-season transfer window saw some further dead wood leave us, including left back Bendahmane and attacking midfielder Bahloul. This left us a bit short-handed so I brought in the versatile attacking midfielder Samir Alili on a free transfer, and signed winger Amine Gherbi for a decent fee from Tunisian club CS Sfax. As a reminder, the board expect a top half finish from 16 teams, a run to the semi-finals of the cup and are happy that we won the Super Cup despite not eyeing this as a priority. With the Confederation Cup Preliminary Round draw on the horizon, the board revealed that their expectation was for the club to reach the Third Round.

 

Mid-Season Break

(Algerian League One) MC El Eulma 0-1 MC Alger

While I finished the last half-chapter at the midpoint of the season (15 games from 30 in the league), the actual mid-season break began after this win over MC El Eulma, who were still struggling in the bottom three. Meziane scored a first half penalty and this proved to be the game's only goal.

(Algerian Cup Sixth Round) MC Alger 6-3 USM Chéraga

Three weeks off between the last game and this one. An absolutely mad start to this one as Ghoul got himself sent off in the second minute for a two-footed challenge, before we conceded twice in the next 4 minutes to trail 2-0 at home against this lower league opponent. Lahouamad's first goal since his summer move got us back into the game before half time, before second half goals from debutante Gherbi, Meziane and Djebbar put us 4-2 up. The visitors scored from a corner with 5 minutes remaining, but Djebbar ensured we didn't sweat for long with two further goals in two minutes to complete his hat-trick. Crazy game but on we go to the last 16.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 0-1 USM El Harrach

Another month between the cup game and this one, fucking bizarre scheduling in Algeria but whatever. No excuses for a dismal performance at home that ended our seven game winning run against overachieving USM El Harrach who completed a double over us.

 

Mixed Fortunes

(African Confederation Cup Preliminary Round Leg 1) MC Alger 4-2 Kedus Giorgis

Our Confederation Cup campaign starts here, and I notice that USM Alger, our rivals, actually won the damn thing last season. We are drawn against Ethopian opposition in the first tie, could have been a lot harder in this unseeded draw full of dangerous opponents. Djebbar got us off the mark in the first ten minutes but 2 goals in 5 minutes for the visitors around the half hour mark turned the game. Djebbar's equaliser just before the break tempered the steam coming out of my ears, and he completed his hat-trick in the second half with Meziane also on target to put us in control of the tie. Ghoul the absolute cunt got himself sent off for the second time in three matches here.

(African League One) MC Alger 3-0 JS Kabylie

The matches are coming thick and fast here. An absolute joke that the league takes a two month break mid-season when you see what my schedule is like from February-April. Luckily we could take our foot off the gas in this one with Djebbar, a Meziane penalty, and Alili's first MC Alger goal winning us the points by half time.

(African Cup Eighth Final) CA Batna 1-1 MC Alger (CA Batna win 6-5 on penalties)

A poor match which saw Omar Amrani sent off for us just before the end of 90 minutes. We fell behind five minutes into extra time but somehow equalised with ten men, Gherbi scoring in the 104th minute. Before the shootout, Mohamed Ghoul the absolute mongoloid cuntflap picked up a second booking and his third red card in four appearances but still had the cheek to whinge about being treated unfairly like a little bitch when I fined him two weeks wages. Fuck off you melt. Aliouane pulled out an early penalty save to give us the advantage in the shootout but CA Batna made no further mistakes and misses from Sedrati and Gherbi ended our defence of the Algerian Cup.

(African Confederation Cup Preliminary Round Leg 2) Kedus Giorgis 1-3 MC Alger (MC Alger win 7-3 on aggregate)

Omar Lahouamad's early goal made this one comfortable viewing for the away fans, the striker bagging a second late in the game after Alili's strike had earlier killed any remaining hopes of a Kedus comeback.

 

March Madness

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 4-0 CA Batna

A full week off before this one was about the last time we enjoyed this privilege all season. With fixtures getting re-arranged left, right and centre, due to the continental commitments of ourselves, ES Sétif, USM Alger and CS Constantine, the league table became a complete mess. We slipped to 8th with about 3 games in hand whilst previous league leaders ES Sétif slipped to 4th, having not played a league game in so long that they at one stage had 6 games in hand on ASO Chlef above them. Meziane's first half brace and goals from in-form Lahouamad and Alili secured a comfortable three points for us here and revenge for our Algerian Cup exit.

(African Confederation Cup First Round Leg 1) Club Africain 2-2 MC Alger

An absolutely brutal draw here as we face Tunisian Club Africain, third in their domestic league (the top league in Africa at the moment) and winners of this competition two seasons back. We were behind twice, but pegged them back twice through Amroune and Lahouamad to take a respectable draw and two handy away goals back to Algiers.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 0-0 USM Alger

Four days after USM Alger are in action in Cameroon, and three days after we play in Tunisia, the Algérois Derby is unsurprisingly insipid, ending goalless. It is worth mentioning that USM Alger have jumped above us in the table due to the number of fixtures we've had rearranged and their own run of victories.

(Algerian Confederation Cup First Round Leg 2) MC Alger 2-1 Club Africain (MC Alger win 4-3 on aggregate)

A top performance from my boys here, with Lahouamad scoring once again to give us an early lead. The visitors level things up after half time but still trail on away goals, before Messadi turns home a deflected corner in the 68th minute to give us a clear lead again. We've successfully knocked out the biggest club in the competition at this stage and did so impressively.

(Algerian League One) MC Oran 1-1 MC Alger

Mohamed Meddour's return from injury sees us take an early lead against the much fresher MC Oran, who sit just above us in the table having played 3 extra games. A win would have put us ahead of them into 6th but we conceded a sloppy equaliser before half time and a goalless second half meant both sides had to settle for a point.

 

Thick and Fast

(Algerian League One) JS Saoura 1-2 MC Alger

Just the ten matches in April, then, with the first one coming at JS Saoura, one of our games in hand and a golden opportunity against the league's bottom side, right? The game is goalless for 75 minutes before Amroune is dismissed for us and the home side take the lead. Substitute Lahouamad saves the day though with two goals in the last 5 minutes before the hosts have a man of their own sent off. Could really have done without the stress here with the intense schedule that lies ahead.

(Algerian League One) CR Belouizdad 2-0 MC Alger

Our rivals CR Belouizdad have launched themselves to the top of the table having played four more times than 'net' leaders ES Sétif. We are extremely poor here and the league leaders brush us aside with two second half goals. We still have games in hand but with USM Alger in good form and overachievers ASO Chlef and USM El Harrach showing no signs of a wobble, our chances of finishing in the top 3 or 4 are sliding away.

(Algerian Confederation Cup Second Round Leg 1) FAR Rabat 1-1 MC Alger

While fucking USM Alger keep drawing shit cup winners from Somalia and Mali, we now travel to Morocco to face FAR Rabat. To be fair, they're well out of sorts domestically and we go into the tie as favourites, Meddour's penalty gives us a useful away goal, equalising half way through the second half, but that shitstain Ghoul picks up his 5th red card of the season and we are unable to push on for a winner.

(Algerian League One) ES Sétif 3-1 MC Alger

It just gets better and better, our fourth away game in a row and this time it is 2nd placed ES Sétif, who to be fair are facing an even more congested schedule than us and have just lost to CR Belouizdad two days ago. I fancy our chances, then, and Meddour's goal has us 1-0 up at half time. Midway through the second half, we go to absolute pieces, conceding an equaliser on 65 minutes, and giving away a penalty a minute later. Captain Rebih is sent off, receiving a second yellow card for dissent against the penalty decision, they convert the spot kick and score a worldy free kick in injury time to revitalise their title bid while our domestic campaign is pretty much in the toilet.

(Algerian League One) DRB Tadjenanet 0-1 MC Alger

A nicer fixture but we struggle on the road again, Bilal Daoud coming off the bench to score the game's only goal and his first since a lengthy mid-season injury lay-off.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 2-0 CS Constantine

The late season capitulation which saw CS Constantine surrender the title to ES Sétif last season has carried into this season, they still sit 11th in the league with only a few games left. A joke performance from them here as Meddour and Amroune put us two up in half an hour and they get two players sent off before half time. I switch to Control and haul off my key players to give them such much-needed R&R.

(African Confederation Cup Second Round Leg 2) MC Alger 4-0 FAR Rabat (MC Alger win 5-1 on aggregate)

A confident performance at home against an uninspired FAR Rabat side sees us meet the board's minimum expectation with a 4-0 win. Djebbar scores early and on the hour mark, ending hopes of a comeback for the Moroccan side, before Adda's stunning free kick and Djebbar's third from the spot rub salt into their wounds.

 

Continental Conclusion

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 0-3 ASO Chlef

Only one game in hand left, and this home game gave us the opportunity to leapfrog 4th placed ASO Chlef and a realistic chance of usurping 3rd place from USM El Harrach due to our extra fixture. An absolutely pathetic display puts paid to those ambitions though as we are twatted in our own back yard and fail to register a shot on goal. USM Alger's win means the best we can realistically hope for now is 5th.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 0-0 MO Bejaia

A bore draw in our penultimate game of the season. 6th is now our ceiling, and at least that looks secure with a point moving us two ahead of MC Oran and this result making it impossible for 8th-placed MO Bejaia to move ahead of us.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 3-1 RC Arba

With MC Oran drawing their final league game the day before this, we knew we would finish 6th, so this game against relegated RC Arba was a complete dead rubber. I still went fucking mental at my players when they came in trailing at half time, and it seemed to do the trick with Meddour's brace turning the game around before Amroune's spectacular free-kick marked our last league goal of the campaign.

(African Confederation Cup Third Round Leg 1) MC Alger 1-1 CS Sfax

I thought I was done with tricky Tunisian opponents, forgetting that the losers from the previous round of the African Champions League are parachuted into the Confederation Cup draw at this stage, as I was with Etoile Filante a few years ago. Last season's Tunisian runners up were the latest in a series of formidable continental opposition (while our compatriots USM Alger and CS Constantine drew shithouse Sudanese and Cameroonian opponents the fucking bastards) and they proved a tough nut to crack. We led through Meddour at the break but didn't turn up in the second half and were pegged back by a penalty. We still should have won the first leg, Chergui's 30 yard strike ruled out because Meddour, who clearly wasn't involved in play, was standing a yard offside, denying the defensive midfielder his first goal for the club, but the draw meant we made our second trip of the season to Tunisia with this tie in the balance.

(African Confederation Cup Third Round Leg 2) CS Sfax 0-0 MC Alger (Aggregate 1-1 - CS Sfax win on away goals)

A tired and dull performance. We only registered one shot on target and, while we did hit the post, never looked like taking this game by the scruff of the neck and suffered the ignominy of being dumped out of the tournament on away goals, just one round short of the last eight group stages.

 

Season Summary

Algerian League One: 6th (Met Expectations)

Algerian Cup: Eighth Final (Below Expectations)

Algerian Super Cup: Winners (Exceeded Expectations)

African Confederation Cup: Third Round (Met Expectations)

Summary: Eurgh, a bit of an underwhelming second half of the season, meaning that the season as a whole is pretty successful but I'm not too happy to finish as we did. Having snuck to within a couple of wins of the league leaders at the midpoint of the season, I'm disappointed with our domestic results in the second half of the campaign and while 6th is good progress compared to the club's last two 12th place finishes, it's a bit underwhelming and we shouldn't be finishing behind the likes of ASO Chlef and USM El Harrach. The cup exit was disappointing and our only below expectation performance but it was just 'one of them', an away tie against a top division side where we finished with 9 men and lost on penalties. The Super Cup isn't hugely important but a trophy is a trophy. Decent run in the Confederation Cup following some unkind draws, and perhaps next season with no Continental competition we can push on more in the league.

Unless I get an irresistible job offer from somewhere I'll be sticking it out here for another season at least, which was always my plan given my relatively short spells with Sao Tome & Principe, Etoile Filante and Zanaco. I was tempted toward the end of the season to apply for the vacant position at Orlando Pirates in South Africa, who finished 10th after winning back to back league titles, but I wasn't sure I'd get it and although we've won the Algerian Cup and Super Cup since I joined MC Alger, I don't feel like I've pulled up enough trees to justify another step up.

I've now got all my coaching badges up to Continental Pro Licence, which I'm glad about because I don't like that, at this level, the best way to improve your reputation is through getting these qualifications rather than actually succeeding on the pitch. From here on out I'll have to earn my reputation boosts through special achievements.

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Thinking Out Loud

A bit about where this career could be going - After succeeding in Algeria, as long as it remains a two star league, I'll move onto Tunisia, Egypt or South Africa as the 2.5 star leagues in Africa (unless the reputations change obviously), but after that the next step up has to be overseas, so when I'm ready for a three star league, I'll be leaving Africa. As I'm not loading all 20ish countries that have a top division with 3 stars reputation, I'll have to make a decision about which ones to choose. I had a look at which leagues are currently at this level and you've got a number of Eastern European countries (Ukraine, Serbia, Czech Rep etc.), some South American leagues (Ecuador, Peru, Colombia etc.), and some miscellaneous leagues such as the MLS, the Scottish Leagues, Greece, Israel, Switzerland, Cyprus for some reason...

As a black manager, I find it unlikely that my first foray outside of my home continent will come in Eastern Europe, while a jump from Tunisia/South Africa/Egypt to the SPL or MLS makes little to no sense. If I end up in Egypt, then Israel could make sense, but as my native tongue is Portuguese, I'm thinking that at this stage, a trip to South America might be the most logical move after I conquer Africa (which could still take some time).

Anyway, I'm thinking ahead. A lot of work left on in Algeria first and after a mediocre season we'll go into the next one with MC Alger hoping that Chapter Thirteen was just an unlucky one for us, and that we can push on and challenge the top 3/4 next season.

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Chapter Fourteen, Part One

Team: MC Alger

League: Algerian League One

Season: 2028/29

Background: Difficult to know what to expect from this season, following an underwhelming conclusion to the previous one. 6th place was solid progress last season, but this time around the board's expectations are to finish "near the top of the table", which, as far as I gather from checking my confidence levels last season, is in the top four sides of the sixteen in the Algerian top flight. They'd also like to see a run to the semi-finals of the Algerian Cup, something we let ourselves down on last season. As far as the media go, they're backing ES Sétif for a fourth consecutive league win ahead of USM Alger, while they keep changing their mind as to whether it'll be us or CR Belouizdad in 3rd.

The summer transfer dealings were solid. The main outgoing transfer saw Sofiane Adda move to ES Sétif, something I wasn't heartbroken about. To bolster the options available to me, I forked out for a number of players who impressed at lesser clubs the season before. Young attacking midfielder Ibrahim Guerfi was brought in to compete with Mohamed Amroune following his impressive season with high-flying USM El Harrach last season, while it was defensive midfielder Abdelkader Belkhiter who I tempted away from ASO Chlef, another weaker side who out-performed us last season. Right back Salah Khelidi joined us from ES Sétif, returning to his boyhood club having achieved about everything he could with the defending champions, while newly-promoted CABB Arréridj parted with Zahir Toumi, who became our new backup goalkeeper, and Abdelhakim Maffoudi-Laggoun, who arrived to bolster our options on the left flank. Not a particularly star-studded set of signings but we've managed to add depth in every position that was required while improving our first choice options at right back and defensive midfield.

 

Best Foot Forward

(Algerian League One) MC Saida 0-3 MC Alger

The season opens with a trip to last season's League Two winners MC Saida. Belkhiter is the surprise first goalscorer on his debut before Noureddine Djebbar bags a pair of second half goals to make this a comfortable win.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 2-1 CR Belouizdad

Not an easy one to kick off our campaign at home against last season's league runners-up and Algerian Cup winners. Djebbar puts us ahead on the stroke of half time but the visitors respond well and equalise on the hour mark. Guerfi comes off the bench and grabs his first goal from the club, a nice finish earning us three points against our rivals.

(Algerian League One) MC El Eulma 0-2 MC Alger

We absolutely dominate this one, MC El Eulma are playing the Sunderland game having finished one place outside the bottom three two years running, but they've never had much joy against my MC Alger side. A penalty in each half from Meziane decides the tie and continues our perfect start.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 0-0 ES Sétif

The undisputed favourites to take a fourth league title, ES Sétif are the next visitors for us and a cagey but uneventful tie ends goalless. Decent result.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 3-0 JSM Bejaia

Our first real 'home banker' of the season comes against JSM Bejaia, who have caused us problems in the past but had no answer here to Djebbar's brace and a second goal of the season for Belkhiter.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 5-0 DRB Tadjenanet

DRB Tadjenanet have confounded critics by moving into their third season in the top flight despite being touted for relegation each of the last two seasons. No luck for them here, though, as Djebbar and Meziane strike late in the first half to give us control of the match. The win becomes a rout as Djebbar goes on to complete a hat-trick after half-time and left back Karim Kaci-Said scores his first MC Alger goal with a header.

 

It Takes Two Baby

(Algerian League One) CS Constantine 2-2 MC Alger

CS Constantine are just about returning to form, having reached the semi-finals of the Confederation Cup during our summer break, and come into this one on the back of three straight wins. Djebbar continues his excellent form, opening the scoring after 17 minutes, but Abderrahim Saadi, the first player I sold from MC Alger in 2026, comes back to haunt us with an equaliser. The hosts appear to have completed the comeback, taking the lead after 72 minutes, but their lead is about as short-lived as ours was in the first half, Messadi's header ensuring we take a share of the points.

(Algerian League One) MC Oran 0-2 MC Alger

Having drawn our game in hand against CS Constantine, we moved ahead of USM El Harrach, overachieving massively again, to the top of the league. We are the hunted now, and a tough away tie at 6th-placed MC Oran followed just three days later, but Djebbar and Guerfi's first half strikes made it a fairly comfortable affair.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 2-0 CA Batna

Meziane and Belkhiter were on target for us within the first ten minutes, before a red card for the visitors had us cruising by half time. Rebih's second yellow card evened the numbers after the break, but we were never under threat and take victory once again.

(Algerian League One) O. Médéa 0-2 MC Alger

Our second visit of the season to a newly-promoted side and our third consecutive two nil win. A quickfire double from Amroune and Slimani, both netting their first goals of the season early in the second half, was enough to see off this lot.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 2-1 CABB Arréridj

Despite being yet to score this season, Maffoudi-Laggoun has delivered a number of assists, and he found two more against his former club here, laying on Guerfi's third of the season and Omar Lahouamad's first. Our opponents struck back just after the hour mark but our defence has been formidable all season and kept them at arm's length to secure another win.

 

Raising the Djebbar

(Algerian League One) ASO Chlef 0-0 MC Alger

A tough away game against ASO Chlef, who were overachieving once again, comfortably inside the top half. We had to be tough not to cave in and lose this one because they absolutely battered us and we barely registered a shot on goal, but a clean sheet keeps us unbeaten with this only our third draw in 12 games.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 2-1 MO Bejaia

With ES Sétif, CR Belouizdad and CS Constantine faltering in their efforts to charge to the front of the pack, MO Bejaia found themselves as high as third a few weeks before this tie. Back to back losses had knocked them down a peg, but they almost pulled off the perfect sucker punch here, taking the lead after 81 minutes of us bashing away at their front door. Step up Noureddine Djebbar, who nets his 11th and 12th goals of the season in the last five minutes to keep us on track with a dramatic win. Thirteen games played, ten wins and three draws, an incredible return from us so far but USM El Harrach were still in close attention in 2nd place, having only just surrendered their own unbeaten record. Guess who we play next?

(Algerian League One) USM El Harrach 0-3 MC Alger

Nobody was expecting MC Alger to romp through the first half of the season, but even our fine form was more anticipated than USM El Harrach sitting in 2nd place at this stage of the season. After they completed the league double over us on their way to 3rd place last season, I was worried about this one, and they had the better of long stretches of the game. However, Djebbar is in simply irresistible form and, possibly with the help of a minor injury to their goalkeeper, nets three times on the break to extend our lead at the top of the table.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 1-0 USM Alger

We reach the halfway stage of the season, and USM Alger have gone somewhat under the radar in light of the surprise form of ourselves and USM El Harrach. Two losses in three from the latter, though, opened the door for our Algiers rivals to become our closest competitors in the league table, making this match the biggest one yet. On the stroke of half time, an excellent interception and quick long ball out of defence from Slimani gives Djebbar a half chance to make something happen. No mistake from the league's top scorer as he controls the ball with his right, nutmegs his man with his left before driving a great finish into the opposite corner. Over to the defence, who keep yet another clean sheet without breaking too much sweat.

(Algerian Cup 5th Round) JS Hai El-Djebel 1-3 MC Alger

With my first choice line-up firmly establishing themselves in the 'undroppable' category, this was the first chance many of my first team squad had to impress. Lahouamad and Meddour, playing second fiddle to Djebbar currently, each took advantage with a goal against Amateur opposition, but I can't say the performances here will make me rethink my starting line-up much at all as we look forward to the second half of the league campaign after the winter break.

 

Mid-Season Review

Algerian League One: 1st (Exceeding Expectations)

Algerian Cup: Sixth Round (Meeting Expectations)

Summary: Fuck me, what a half season! 15 played, 12 wins, 3 draws, 31 goals, 11 clean sheets and only 5 goals conceded in the league! Unsurprisingly, we are in an absolutely dominant position at the top of the league (see below), ten points clear of ASO Chlef and USM El Harrach, while the most fancied title contenders are line astern in 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th. Barely heard a mention of ES Sétif who sit just inside the top half having just ended a four game winless run. There is only one acceptable outcome to this season now. There's no time to count chickens just yet, though, as we have to go away to CR Belouizdad and ES Sétif within the next four games, and end the season away at USM Alger. Many threats behind us but we should be able to see this through with a 10 point lead and 15 games to play. I will most likely continue to play a 'weakened' side in the Cup as this season is all about winning MC Alger's first title in 19 years and my first title since leaving Etoile Filante five years ago.

Here is the league table for your perusal:

59232cc0da46e_AlgeriaLeagueOneNov2028.thumb.png.535dc72db5849e436bc876c881887c69.png

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26 minutes ago, adziom said:

Chapter Fourteen, Part One

Team: MC Alger

League: Algerian League One

Season: 2028/29

Background: Difficult to know what to expect from this season, following an underwhelming conclusion to the previous one. 6th place was solid progress last season, but this time around the board's expectations are to finish "near the top of the table", which, as far as I gather from checking my confidence levels last season, is in the top four sides of the sixteen in the Algerian top flight. They'd also like to see a run to the semi-finals of the Algerian Cup, something we let ourselves down on last season. As far as the media go, they're backing ES Sétif for a fourth consecutive league win ahead of USM Alger, while they keep changing their mind as to whether it'll be us or CR Belouizdad in 3rd.

The summer transfer dealings were solid. The main outgoing transfer saw Sofiane Adda move to ES Sétif, something I wasn't heartbroken about. To bolster the options available to me, I forked out for a number of players who impressed at lesser clubs the season before. Young attacking midfielder Ibrahim Guerfi was brought in to compete with Mohamed Amroune following his impressive season with high-flying USM El Harrach last season, while it was defensive midfielder Abdelkader Belkhiter who I tempted away from ASO Chlef, another weaker side who out-performed us last season. Right back Salah Khelidi joined us from ES Sétif, returning to his boyhood club having achieved about everything he could with the defending champions, while newly-promoted CABB Arréridj parted with Zahir Toumi, who became our new backup goalkeeper, and Abdelhakim Maffoudi-Laggoun, who arrived to bolster our options on the left flank. Not a particularly star-studded set of signings but we've managed to add depth in every position that was required while improving our first choice options at right back and defensive midfield.

 

Best Foot Forward

(Algerian League One) MC Saida 0-3 MC Alger

The season opens with a trip to last season's League Two winners MC Saida. Belkhiter is the surprise first goalscorer on his debut before Noureddine Djebbar bags a pair of second half goals to make this a comfortable win.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 2-1 CR Belouizdad

Not an easy one to kick off our campaign at home against last season's league runners-up and Algerian Cup winners. Djebbar puts us ahead on the stroke of half time but the visitors respond well and equalise on the hour mark. Guerfi comes off the bench and grabs his first goal from the club, a nice finish earning us three points against our rivals.

(Algerian League One) MC El Eulma 0-2 MC Alger

We absolutely dominate this one, MC El Eulma are playing the Sunderland game having finished one place outside the bottom three two years running, but they've never had much joy against my MC Alger side. A penalty in each half from Meziane decides the tie and continues our perfect start.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 0-0 ES Sétif

The undisputed favourites to take a fourth league title, ES Sétif are the next visitors for us and a cagey but uneventful tie ends goalless. Decent result.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 3-0 JSM Bejaia

Our first real 'home banker' of the season comes against JSM Bejaia, who have caused us problems in the past but had no answer here to Djebbar's brace and a second goal of the season for Belkhiter.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 5-0 DRB Tadjenanet

DRB Tadjenanet have confounded critics by moving into their third season in the top flight despite being touted for relegation each of the last two seasons. No luck for them here, though, as Djebbar and Meziane strike late in the first half to give us control of the match. The win becomes a rout as Djebbar goes on to complete a hat-trick after half-time and left back Karim Kaci-Said scores his first MC Alger goal with a header.

 

It Takes Two Baby

(Algerian League One) CS Constantine 2-2 MC Alger

CS Constantine are just about returning to form, having reached the semi-finals of the Confederation Cup during our summer break, and come into this one on the back of three straight wins. Djebbar continues his excellent form, opening the scoring after 17 minutes, but Abderrahim Saadi, the first player I sold from MC Alger in 2026, comes back to haunt us with an equaliser. The hosts appear to have completed the comeback, taking the lead after 72 minutes, but their lead is about as short-lived as ours was in the first half, Messadi's header ensuring we take a share of the points.

(Algerian League One) MC Oran 0-2 MC Alger

Having drawn our game in hand against CS Constantine, we moved ahead of USM El Harrach, overachieving massively again, to the top of the league. We are the hunted now, and a tough away tie at 6th-placed MC Oran followed just three days later, but Djebbar and Guerfi's first half strikes made it a fairly comfortable affair.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 2-0 CA Batna

Meziane and Belkhiter were on target for us within the first ten minutes, before a red card for the visitors had us cruising by half time. Rebih's second yellow card evened the numbers after the break, but we were never under threat and take victory once again.

(Algerian League One) O. Médéa 0-2 MC Alger

Our second visit of the season to a newly-promoted side and our third consecutive two nil win. A quickfire double from Amroune and Slimani, both netting their first goals of the season early in the second half, was enough to see off this lot.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 2-1 CABB Arréridj

Despite being yet to score this season, Maffoudi-Laggoun has delivered a number of assists, and he found two more against his former club here, laying on Guerfi's third of the season and Omar Lahouamad's first. Our opponents struck back just after the hour mark but our defence has been formidable all season and kept them at arm's length to secure another win.

 

Raising the Djebbar

(Algerian League One) ASO Chlef 0-0 MC Alger

A tough away game against ASO Chlef, who were overachieving once again, comfortably inside the top half. We had to be tough not to cave in and lose this one because they absolutely battered us and we barely registered a shot on goal, but a clean sheet keeps us unbeaten with this only our third draw in 12 games.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 2-1 MO Bejaia

With ES Sétif, CR Belouizdad and CS Constantine faltering in their efforts to charge to the front of the pack, MO Bejaia found themselves as high as third a few weeks before this tie. Back to back losses had knocked them down a peg, but they almost pulled off the perfect sucker punch here, taking the lead after 81 minutes of us bashing away at their front door. Step up Noureddine Djebbar, who nets his 11th and 12th goals of the season in the last five minutes to keep us on track with a dramatic win. Thirteen games played, ten wins and three draws, an incredible return from us so far but USM El Harrach were still in close attention in 2nd place, having only just surrendered their own unbeaten record. Guess who we play next?

(Algerian League One) USM El Harrach 0-3 MC Alger

Nobody was expecting MC Alger to romp through the first half of the season, but even our fine form was more anticipated than USM El Harrach sitting in 2nd place at this stage of the season. After they completed the league double over us on their way to 3rd place last season, I was worried about this one, and they had the better of long stretches of the game. However, Djebbar is in simply irresistible form and, possibly with the help of a minor injury to their goalkeeper, nets three times on the break to extend our lead at the top of the table.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger 1-0 USM Alger

We reach the halfway stage of the season, and USM Alger have gone somewhat under the radar in light of the surprise form of ourselves and USM El Harrach. Two losses in three from the latter, though, opened the door for our Algiers rivals to become our closest competitors in the league table, making this match the biggest one yet. On the stroke of half time, an excellent interception and quick long ball out of defence from Slimani gives Djebbar a half chance to make something happen. No mistake from the league's top scorer as he controls the ball with his right, nutmegs his man with his left before driving a great finish into the opposite corner. Over to the defence, who keep yet another clean sheet without breaking too much sweat.

(Algerian Cup 5th Round) JS Hai El-Djebel 1-3 MC Alger

With my first choice line-up firmly establishing themselves in the 'undroppable' category, this was the first chance many of my first team squad had to impress. Lahouamad and Meddour, playing second fiddle to Djebbar currently, each took advantage with a goal against Amateur opposition, but I can't say the performances here will make me rethink my starting line-up much at all as we look forward to the second half of the league campaign after the winter break.

 

Mid-Season Review

Algerian League One: 1st (Exceeding Expectations)

Algerian Cup: Sixth Round (Meeting Expectations)

Summary: Fuck me, what a half season! 15 played, 12 wins, 3 draws, 31 goals, 11 clean sheets and only 5 goals conceded in the league! Unsurprisingly, we are in an absolutely dominant position at the top of the league (see below), ten points clear of ASO Chlef and USM El Harrach, while the most fancied title contenders are line astern in 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th. Barely heard a mention of ES Sétif who sit just inside the top half having just ended a four game winless run. There is only one acceptable outcome to this season now. There's no time to count chickens just yet, though, as we have to go away to CR Belouizdad and ES Sétif within the next four games, and end the season away at USM Alger. Many threats behind us but we should be able to see this through with a 10 point lead and 15 games to play. I will most likely continue to play a 'weakened' side in the Cup as this season is all about winning MC Alger's first title in 19 years and my first title since leaving Etoile Filante five years ago.

Here is the league table for your perusal:

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Yet again a great read. Really enjoying these.

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Can't... Stop... Playing... Shockingly I've finished another half season last night and tonight, so here's the rest of Chapter Fourteen.

Chapter Fourteen, Part Two

Team: MC Alger

League: Algerian League One

Season: 2028/29

Background: Ten points clear at the midpoint of the season, we simply must go on to win the league for this campaign to be deemed a success, despite the board’s pre-season requirement of finishing in the top four. We travel to League Two’s bottom club US Biskra in the next round of the Algerian Cup, three wins away from meeting the board’s expectations of a semi-final run.

During the three week break in the middle of the season, Bidvest Wits offer me an interview to become manager there. It’s a solid job and probably exactly the type of destination that would be perfect for my next step, a 2.5 star reputation team in a 2.5 star league, but I can’t go leaving MC Alger in the middle of this season so for now, I turn down the chance to move.

 

Back to Business

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [1st] 0-1 MC Saida [14th]

Ouch! A nasty reality check here as only 2 of our 16 shots are on target and we concede the game’s only goal from a route one free kick. Not what we needed at the season’s restart against a side in the bottom three.

(Algerian League One) CR Belouizdad [8th] 2-0 MC Alger [1st]

For fuck’s sake, here comes the “you’re doing too well” wave of bullshit from FM. My players again can’t hit a barn door and this time concede twice from set pieces despite “Defending set pieces” being our match preparation for this clash with our rivals. In the blink of an eye, our lead is chopped from ten points to four.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [1st] 3-2 MC El Eulma [11th]

At least we get to play MC El Eulma next, that’ll be a nice comfortable win, right? Oh good, great goal by Guelfi and we lead inside 10 minutes. Actually, nah, let’s make an absolute heart attack of this as well. The visitors equalise from another fucking corner the first time they cross the half way line and we go in at half time a man down after Rebih pointlessly two foots an opponent. Djebbar restores our lead 10 minutes into the second half only for us to concede again straight from kick off so the poor cunt picks himself up and puts us ahead for a third time, this time we manage to hold on. Not the form we want to be taking to ES Sétif next weekend…

(Algerian League One) ES Sétif [5th] 1-1 MC Alger [1st]

This is the last fixture we need right now and I go in fearing the worst, but Mahfoudi-Laggoun actually puts us ahead with his first MC Alger goal. Too bad the hosts equalise before I even have a chance to change us to ‘Counter’ but I would have snatched your hand off for a point before kick-off with the defending champions coming into the match on a four game winning run and now sitting only 8 points adrift of us. USM Alger's win brings them just four points behind us, with ASO Chlef and USM El Harrach one point behind them.

 

Sparse Schedule

Another offer comes in from South Africa. Golden Arrows this time the side looking for a new manager. A similar offer to the one made by Bidvest Wits a month ago but my decision is the same. It is good to know, though, that the interest is there from the top leagues in Africa ready for when it's the right time. Meanwhile, the mid-season transfer window has seen Mohamed Meddour move on to MO Bejaia after struggling to break into our side so far this season, and Samir Alili moves to JSM Bejaia.

(Algerian Cup 6th Round) US Biskra 0-3 MC Alger

A fortnight off as 2028 becomes 2029, and we start the new calendar year with a cup visit to League Two bottom club US Biskra. An opportunity to rotate the squad, then, and after a goalless first half, strikes from Lahouamad, Benkada and Ghoul put the lower league side to the sword and out of the cup. We will travel to USM Blida, a mid-table League Two opponent, in the last 16.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [1st] 0-0 CS Constantine [8th]

Our only league game this month, can’t get my head around the baffling schedule in this country, thought we just had our mid-season break, but whatever. Despite their indifferent form, CS Constantine always pose a threat and we dealt with it well, but another insipid attacking display saw us fail to convert our 13 shots and 9 corners into a single goal. USM Alger, CR Belouizdad, USM El Harrach and ES Sétif all win, meaning our lead at the top has been chopped from 10 points to 2 in the space of 5 fixtures. On a positive note, we face a much more generous run of fixtures now before ending the season against USM El Harrach (H) and USM Alger (A).

 

The Hunted

(Algerian League One) JSM Bejaia [9th] 0-3 MC Alger [1st]

It looks like we’re back here, looking sharp after a month off with quickfire goals from Guerfi and Djebbar putting us in a comfortable position at half time, the striker adding his 20th of the season after the break.

(Algerian Cup Eighth Final) USM Blida 2-0 MC Alger

Totally wank performance here as a goal in each half sends us out at this stage for the second year running. We didn’t even field an entirely weakened side and introduced Djebbar and Meziane at half time to no avail. Oh well, gives us an excuse to focus on the league.

(Algerian League One) DRB Tadjenanet [13th] 0-2 MC Alger [1st]

We should be smashing this upcoming run of fixtures, and this is a tie we dominated. Bilal Daoud gives us a half time lead from the spot, his first of the season, before Meziane misses a second penalty in the second half by which time we are up against ten men. Gherbi’s first goal of the season seals a victory that could and should have been by a greater margin. Finally some respite from behind too, as USM Alger and USM El Harrach play out a goalless draw. We are top by 4 points from our Algiers rivals, USM El Harrach a further three behind them.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [1st] 2-1 MC Oran [11th]

With USM Alger and USM El Harrach both winning earlier in the week, the pressure is on us here, so Djebbar’s opener after one minute is a god-send. Daoud doubles the lead from the spot for the second game running, but a poor second half lets MC Oran back in and a string of saves from Aliouane late on sees us hang on for three more points. With seven games remaining, we retain our four point advantage, and our next three games are against the bottom three, an essential run coming up.

(Algerian League One) CA Batna [15th] 0-1 MC Alger [1st]

We ride our luck again with another nervy one goal success, Lahouamad’s first half strike proving to be enough in the absence of the injured Djebbar. USM Alger keep within 4 points but USM El Harrach lose at CR Belouizdad and fall 10 points adrift, turning it into a two horse race. Between this match and the next one Cape Town City become the latest South African side to offer me an interview, but they must be mad if they think I’d consider moving right now.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [1st] 4-0 O. Médéa [16th]

The stars may be aligning for us here, CR Belouizdad doing us another massive favour by beating USM Alger 3-1 in the advanced midweek fixture. Now we face the bottom club at home with the chance to go seven points clear with five games left. No nerves on show this time as Lahouamad steals the show with a hat-trick after Guerfi’s opener.

 

Countdown

(Algerian League One) CABB Arréridj [14th] 0-2 MC Alger [1st]

First half goals from Slimani and Lahouamad give us a comfortable lead here and CABB Arréridj can’t even fashion a shot on target in response. USM Alger host MC El Eulma later this evening, and get turned over 3-0 in shocking fashion. We lead by ten points and there’s only four games left. One win is enough and we get the chance to seal the deal at home in the next game!

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [1st] 2-3 ASO Chlef [6th]

Football Manager decides before kick-off that we won’t secure the title here, spawning endless unexplained free-kicks and corners for our opposition until we were behind again before it let us attack. Bullshit. We come back from 2-0 down with goals from Djebbar and Gherbi but bottle it and lose 3-2, with USM Alger’s win at ES Sétif keeping the title race alive. With our last three results against ASO Chlef reading 0-3, 0-0 and 2-3, these cunts have ensured that I hold a lifelong vendetta against them in game and in real life.

(Algerian League One) MC Bejaia [8th] 0-1 MC Alger [1st]

We only have to wait until midweek for our second of four chances to claim the title with a win. USM Alger face a tricky test against CS Constantine elsewhere and must win to keep things going even if we lose. A very cagey performance again from us, but in the 83rd minute, it’s Mahfoudi-Laggoun, just off the bench, who wins us the game as the ball falls kindly to him in space on the edge of the box. Just his second goal of the season but it seals the title for us, get in! This second half of the season has been stressful as fuck at times but we’ve made good on our early promise and secured our first title since 2010 and my first title since leaving Burkina Faso five years ago, now to enjoy the final two league games… maybe.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [1st] 1-2 USM El Harrach [5th]

Big news as an interview with a potential new employer makes it look very likely that this could be my last fixture in charge of MC Alger. After 18 months of improbable overachievement, USM El Harrach have finally hit a run of turbulent form and slipped to a distant 5th in the league having been our closest challengers before the turn of the year. Djebbar’s early goal got the party started and the capacity crowd were uninterested in the visitors’ comeback, the day’s main event getting underway after full time as MC Alger are formally crowned Algerian champions on the pitch.

(Algerian League One) USM Alger [2nd] 2-0 MC Alger [1st]

I predicted a riot following my interview with Kaizer Chiefs in South Africa just days after sealing the title, but my reign at MC Alger continues for now as they decide to go another way with their managerial appointment. Their loss! USM Alger’s late season dip in form has seen them come under pressure from ES Sétif for the second African Champions League spot, while we are a win away from breaking the record points total by one team in an Algerian League One campaign, so plenty to play for here in an Algerois derby that could have potentially been a title decider. We get absolutely Football Managered here, USM Alger scoring twice from six shots while we can’t muster a goal from our 27 attempts. I would literally have set my laptop on fire had this been a title decider but it wasn’t and USM Alger still got fucked by us over the course of the season so fuck you bitches.

 

Season Summary

Algerian League One: Winners (Exceeded Expectations)

Algerian Cup: Eighth Final (Below Expectations)

Summary: Boom, my fourth domestic title, a year earlier than I was realistically hoping for and another step on the way to conquering the footballing world from the humble (which is putting it lightly) beginnings as an unemployed former Sao Tome & Principe international with my National C Coaching Licence. Clearly a disappointing cup run again this season but who actually cares when we've won the league, banishing the demons of my unsuccessful spell at Zanaco for good.

I've lost count of how many clubs from the South African Premier Soccer League have offered me interviews since my last update, but I didn't consider any of them until Kaizer Chiefs came knocking. Ultimately, they decided not to employ me (my first unsuccessful interview O.o) so I'll stick with MC Alger for now and look forward to the chance to compete in the African Champions League again next season, the last time being with Etoile Filante who never had a serious chance of competing. Having now won the Algerian League One, Algerian Cup and Algerian Super Cup here, though, I would be foolish not to continue climbing the ladder if a decent side from Tunisia, South Africa or Egypt come calling. Each of those three leagues are rated at 2.5 stars still, while Algeria is still a 2 star league. The biggest clubs on the continent reside in Tunisia (ES Tunis & ES Sahel) and Egypt (Al-Ahly & Zamalek) but South Africa has greater strength in depth, most of the top division boasting 2.5-3 stars of reputation, more than MC Alger's 2 stars (though we'll see if that rating changes after winning the title this season).

So when I return, I should be mounting a title defence with MC Alger, but if something comes up I'll pop in and give an update sooner than that.

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Chapter Fifteen, Part One

Team: MC Alger

League: Algerian League One

Season: 2029/30

Background: A quiet summer really, the Tunisian and South African seasons concluded without any further notable managerial casualties, so I’m still hanging out in Algiers. A couple of signings add depth to the squad, defender Ahmed Sahraoui and midfielder Messaoud Bourrega, with Mohamed Ghoul and Bilal Daoud the most notable departures. In the absence of need for, or availability of, big name signings, I threw small fees at a number of highly rated youngsters from other clubs.

The board’s expectations were similar to last season, finish ‘near the top’ and get to the semi finals of the cup, while they weren’t regarding the Super Cup as a priority. We will enter the 2030 Champions League later in the season but no expectations have been laid out for that competition as of yet. The media have us down for 3rd place behind ES Sétif and USM Alger.

 

Aim to Retain

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [9th] 3-1 MO Bejaia [12th]

A new season begins with a tricky run of matches, so what should be a home banker here is an important starting point to get a win on the board. We manage it, just. Slimani equalises for us from a corner after we fall behind to a long range free kick, but it takes an own goal from the visiting goalkeeper five minutes from time to give us the lead. Bourrega’s debut goal adds some gloss to the result late on.

(Algerian League One) USM El Harrach [11th] 0-2 MC Alger [3rd]

Tricky tie away from home but a solid performance and goals from Messadi and Belkhiter see us secure victory. With Amine Aliouane injured in training and second choice goalkeeper Toumi coming off injured during the game, 16 year old Noureddine Bounekdja made a premature debut here, and will take the reins in goal for the next few matches.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [2nd] 1-1 ASO Chlef [3rd]

These fucking rat bastards threaten to take a third consecutive win at our place, Kaci-Said getting sent off when we’re already one nil down. However, Amroune equalises for us from range, putting the ball into an empty net after a rash decision from their goalkeeper, and we remain unbeaten despite finishing the match with 9 men, Khelidi getting booked twice for two fouls. Go figure.

(Algerian League One) ES Sétif [10th] 1-1 MC Alger [2nd]

ES Sétif have not started impressively and the title favourites are absolutely in our pocket here with Amroune’s first half free kick putting us ahead. Aliouane inexplicably comes for a cross he was never getting in the second half, though, and ES Sétif manage to earn a draw while we rue missed chances.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [4th] 3-2 MC Oran [14th]

A difficult start for a side touted to finish in the top half saw MC Oran winless after four games. That didn’t stop them from leading us twice here, only to be pegged back by goals from Gherbi and Belkhiter in a match that culminated in a 90th minute winner for us, Djebbar bagging his first of the season.

(Algerian League One) DRB Tadjenanet [10th] 1-1 MC Alger [2nd]

Absolutely awful result this against a side who won’t get a sniff of the top half and will probably be relegated. Another slow start sees us fall behind for the fourth time in six games this season. Djebbar equalises and Meziane has a chance to get us out of jail but misses a 92nd minute penalty. A part of me is glad because our starts to matches have been a joke so far this season and the players need to learn.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [4th] 3-0 CS Constantine [1st]

CS Constantine are the early season pace setters coming into this one, while Lahouamad and Djebbar both picking up injuries against DRB Tadjenanet means that the latter is only fit enough to make the bench, and 16 year old Faycal Ghoul starts up front. The youngster is one of the best youth prospects I’ve seen in this career, and opens his MC Alger account after just 8 minutes of his debut. Further goals from Bouregaa and Belkhiter earn us a deserved 3-0 win, we were fantastic here. CS Constantine remain top despite defeat, joint with ES Sétif on 16 points. We remain unbeaten on 15, with ASO Chlef and USM Alger just behind us on 13 points.

 

Tight at the Top

(Algerian League One) JSM Bejaia [7th] 0-1 MC Alger [3rd]

More than happy with this, a comfortable defensive performance and Gherbi’s second goal of the season seeing us up into 2nd place.

(Algerian Super Cup) CS Constantine 0-1 MC Alger

We face CS Constantine again, this time on neutral turf after a long break for internationals and just because there can’t be any consistency in the Algerian schedule, clearly. A good performance from us here and while there was no 3-0 drubbing like there was three weeks ago, Gherbi’s cross, aimed at the Lahouamad run which distracted Constantine’s goalkeeper, found its way in 15 minutes from time to secure our fourth piece of silverware during my tenure (okay, two of those are Super Cups, they still count). Pretty happy with how things are going.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [3rd] 1-1 USM Bel Abbés [14th]

Once again, what the absolute fuck, lads? After three successive wins and another trophy we go behind to a newly-promoted side in the bottom three and rescue a draw through Amroune’s goal. Should be battering these by a few goals and this simply isn’t good enough. We are the only beaten side but dropped points against the likes of these mean we still only sit third.

(Algerian League One) MC El Eulma [12th] 2-3 MC Alger [3rd]

We lead twice with goals from Lahouamad and Slimani, but are pegged back both times by absolute screamers from El Eulma. One of their defenders is dismissed for a cynical foul on Lahouamad and Meziane converts the penalty that sends us to the top of the table as CS Constantine and ES Sétif surprisingly both lose.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [1st] 2-0 CA Batna [16th]

Goals from each half from Belkhiter, an impressive fourth of the season from him as a defensive midfielder, and young Ghoul see off the bottom club at home. USM Alger and ES Sétif now sit two points behind us as CS Constantine’s loss to ASO Chlef knocks them down to fifth.

 

Battle Royale

(Algerian League One) CR Belouizdad [7th] 1-0 MC Alger [1st]

A tricky away fixture and a match we lost last season. Our former player Lyes Toumi is dismissed for Belouizdad in the first half, but we gift them the lead by watching them execute a passing move involving nearly every member of their depleted side without attempting to tackle them once. Failure to fashion a real chance for an equaliser sees me blow my top at the players while USM Alger and ES Sétif both win to nudge us back down to 3rd.

(Algerian Cup 5th Round) GC Mascara 2-1 MC Alger

I’m not exaggerating when I say this is probably the worst defeat of my career to date. Thinking that a better cup run this season would be nice, I field a strong side against our League Two opponents but my “champions” get absolutely outclassed in a disgusting display that saw a number of players spend some quality time in my office after the match.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [3rd] 2-1 USM Alger [1st]

A massive win to stay in touch at the top. Meziane puts us in front before USM Alger equalise on the break as we search for a second goal. Amroune secures victory with a second half finish and we hang on in spite of Ahmed Slimani’s red card. ES Sétif surprisingly draw at home to JSM Bejaia, moving us back to top spot by one point.

(Algerian League One) JS Kabylie [14th] 0-2 MC Alger [1st]

We appear to have rediscovered our form as the mid-season break approaches. Goals from Mahfoudi-Laggoun and Ghoul are enough to keep us top of the table as ES Sétif and USM Alger both win.

(Algerian League One) RC Arba [11th] 0-2 MC Alger [2nd]

We kick off this match in second place due to ES Sétif’s win in their earlier game, and overachieving RC Arba prove difficult to break down until Djebbar nets just his third of the season after 72 minutes. Bouregaa seals victory with a breakaway goal and we return to the top, everyone now having played each other once.

(Algerian League One) MO Bejaia [10th] 1-2 MC Alger [1st]

The last game before the winter break and early goals from Ghoul and Meziane give us a comfortable half time lead. A sloppy second half allows the hosts to come back into the game but a fourth consecutive win ensures that we will be leaders when the league starts again.

 

Mid-Season Summary

Algerian League One: 1st (Exceeding Expectations)

Algerian Cup: Fifth Round (Under-Performed)

Algerian Super Cup: Winners (Exceeded Expectations)

Summary: Pretty satisfied with how things are going. Super Cup in the bag and top of the league, one point ahead of ES Sétif and four ahead of USM Alger. A couple of out of favour defenders have already been let go in the mid-season transfer window, one of them without my consent by the board though, which is out of character for them. Cape Town City offered me a job interview for the second time in the past year but they’re bottom of the South African National Soccer League and only mark a small step up in club reputation. I have also been linked with the CS Sfax job in Tunisia, a solid top six club in Africa’s top division, but I’m not going out of my way to apply for it. The African Champions League campaign will start for us during the second half of the season and I want to see how far I can go with the MC Alger side I’ve built over the last three years. The only way I’ll leave at the moment is if I’m offered a job at one of the elite African clubs (ES Sahel, Al-Ahly, ES Tunis, Sundowns, Zamalek, Club Africain, Orlando Pirates).

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1 minute ago, RandoEFC said:

Chapter Fifteen, Part One

Team: MC Alger

League: Algerian League One

Season: 2029/30

Background: A quiet summer really, the Tunisian and South African seasons concluded without any further notable managerial casualties, so I’m still hanging out in Algiers. A couple of signings add depth to the squad, defender Ahmed Sahraoui and midfielder Messaoud Bourrega, with Mohamed Ghoul and Bilal Daoud the most notable departures. In the absence of need for, or availability of, big name signings, I threw small fees at a number of highly rated youngsters from other clubs.

The board’s expectations were similar to last season, finish ‘near the top’ and get to the semi finals of the cup, while they weren’t regarding the Super Cup as a priority. We will enter the 2030 Champions League later in the season but no expectations have been laid out for that competition as of yet. The media have us down for 3rd place behind ES Sétif and USM Alger.

 

Aim to Retain

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [9th] 3-1 MO Bejaia [12th]

A new season begins with a tricky run of matches, so what should be a home banker here is an important starting point to get a win on the board. We manage it, just. Slimani equalises for us from a corner after we fall behind to a long range free kick, but it takes an own goal from the visiting goalkeeper five minutes from time to give us the lead. Bourrega’s debut goal adds some gloss to the result late on.

(Algerian League One) USM El Harrach [11th] 0-2 MC Alger [3rd]

Tricky tie away from home but a solid performance and goals from Messadi and Belkhiter see us secure victory. With Amine Aliouane injured in training and second choice goalkeeper Toumi coming off injured during the game, 16 year old Noureddine Bounekdja made a premature debut here, and will take the reins in goal for the next few matches.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [2nd] 1-1 ASO Chlef [3rd]

These fucking rat bastards threaten to take a third consecutive win at our place, Kaci-Said getting sent off when we’re already one nil down. However, Amroune equalises for us from range, putting the ball into an empty net after a rash decision from their goalkeeper, and we remain unbeaten despite finishing the match with 9 men, Khelidi getting booked twice for two fouls. Go figure.

(Algerian League One) ES Sétif [10th] 1-1 MC Alger [2nd]

ES Sétif have not started impressively and the title favourites are absolutely in our pocket here with Amroune’s first half free kick putting us ahead. Aliouane inexplicably comes for a cross he was never getting in the second half, though, and ES Sétif manage to earn a draw while we rue missed chances.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [4th] 3-2 MC Oran [14th]

A difficult start for a side touted to finish in the top half saw MC Oran winless after four games. That didn’t stop them from leading us twice here, only to be pegged back by goals from Gherbi and Belkhiter in a match that culminated in a 90th minute winner for us, Djebbar bagging his first of the season.

(Algerian League One) DRB Tadjenanet [10th] 1-1 MC Alger [2nd]

Absolutely awful result this against a side who won’t get a sniff of the top half and will probably be relegated. Another slow start sees us fall behind for the fourth time in six games this season. Djebbar equalises and Meziane has a chance to get us out of jail but misses a 92nd minute penalty. A part of me is glad because our starts to matches have been a joke so far this season and the players need to learn.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [4th] 3-0 CS Constantine [1st]

CS Constantine are the early season pace setters coming into this one, while Lahouamad and Djebbar both picking up injuries against DRB Tadjenanet means that the latter is only fit enough to make the bench, and 16 year old Faycal Ghoul starts up front. The youngster is one of the best youth prospects I’ve seen in this career, and opens his MC Alger account after just 8 minutes of his debut. Further goals from Bouregaa and Belkhiter earn us a deserved 3-0 win, we were fantastic here. CS Constantine remain top despite defeat, joint with ES Sétif on 16 points. We remain unbeaten on 15, with ASO Chlef and USM Alger just behind us on 13 points.

 

Tight at the Top

(Algerian League One) JSM Bejaia [7th] 0-1 MC Alger [3rd]

More than happy with this, a comfortable defensive performance and Gherbi’s second goal of the season seeing us up into 2nd place.

(Algerian Super Cup) CS Constantine 0-1 MC Alger

We face CS Constantine again, this time on neutral turf after a long break for internationals and just because there can’t be any consistency in the Algerian schedule, clearly. A good performance from us here and while there was no 3-0 drubbing like there was three weeks ago, Gherbi’s cross, aimed at the Lahouamad run which distracted Constantine’s goalkeeper, found its way in 15 minutes from time to secure our fourth piece of silverware during my tenure (okay, two of those are Super Cups, they still count). Pretty happy with how things are going.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [3rd] 1-1 USM Bel Abbés [14th]

Once again, what the absolute fuck, lads? After three successive wins and another trophy we go behind to a newly-promoted side in the bottom three and rescue a draw through Amroune’s goal. Should be battering these by a few goals and this simply isn’t good enough. We are the only beaten side but dropped points against the likes of these mean we still only sit third.

(Algerian League One) MC El Eulma [12th] 2-3 MC Alger [3rd]

We lead twice with goals from Lahouamad and Slimani, but are pegged back both times by absolute screamers from El Eulma. One of their defenders is dismissed for a cynical foul on Lahouamad and Meziane converts the penalty that sends us to the top of the table as CS Constantine and ES Sétif surprisingly both lose.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [1st] 2-0 CA Batna [16th]

Goals from each half from Belkhiter, an impressive fourth of the season from him as a defensive midfielder, and young Ghoul see off the bottom club at home. USM Alger and ES Sétif now sit two points behind us as CS Constantine’s loss to ASO Chlef knocks them down to fifth.

 

Battle Royale

(Algerian League One) CR Belouizdad [7th] 1-0 MC Alger [1st]

A tricky away fixture and a match we lost last season. Our former player Lyes Toumi is dismissed for Belouizdad in the first half, but we gift them the lead by watching them execute a passing move involving nearly every member of their depleted side without attempting to tackle them once. Failure to fashion a real chance for an equaliser sees me blow my top at the players while USM Alger and ES Sétif both win to nudge us back down to 3rd.

(Algerian Cup 5th Round) GC Mascara 2-1 MC Alger

I’m not exaggerating when I say this is probably the worst defeat of my career to date. Thinking that a better cup run this season would be nice, I field a strong side against our League Two opponents but my “champions” get absolutely outclassed in a disgusting display that saw a number of players spend some quality time in my office after the match.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [3rd] 2-1 USM Alger [1st]

A massive win to stay in touch at the top. Meziane puts us in front before USM Alger equalise on the break as we search for a second goal. Amroune secures victory with a second half finish and we hang on in spite of Ahmed Slimani’s red card. ES Sétif surprisingly draw at home to JSM Bejaia, moving us back to top spot by one point.

(Algerian League One) JS Kabylie [14th] 0-2 MC Alger [1st]

We appear to have rediscovered our form as the mid-season break approaches. Goals from Mahfoudi-Laggoun and Ghoul are enough to keep us top of the table as ES Sétif and USM Alger both win.

(Algerian League One) RC Arba [11th] 0-2 MC Alger [2nd]

We kick off this match in second place due to ES Sétif’s win in their earlier game, and overachieving RC Arba prove difficult to break down until Djebbar nets just his third of the season after 72 minutes. Bouregaa seals victory with a breakaway goal and we return to the top, everyone now having played each other once.

(Algerian League One) MO Bejaia [10th] 1-2 MC Alger [1st]

The last game before the winter break and early goals from Ghoul and Meziane give us a comfortable half time lead. A sloppy second half allows the hosts to come back into the game but a fourth consecutive win ensures that we will be leaders when the league starts again.

 

Mid-Season Summary

Algerian League One: 1st (Exceeding Expectations)

Algerian Cup: Fifth Round (Under-Performed)

Algerian Super Cup: Winners (Exceeded Expectations)

Summary: Pretty satisfied with how things are going. Super Cup in the bag and top of the league, one point ahead of ES Sétif and four ahead of USM Alger. A couple of out of favour defenders have already been let go in the mid-season transfer window, one of them without my consent by the board though, which is out of character for them. Cape Town City offered me a job interview for the second time in the past year but they’re bottom of the South African National Soccer League and only mark a small step up in club reputation. I have also been linked with the CS Sfax job in Tunisia, a solid top six club in Africa’s top division, but I’m not going out of my way to apply for it. The African Champions League campaign will start for us during the second half of the season and I want to see how far I can go with the MC Alger side I’ve built over the last three years. The only way I’ll leave at the moment is if I’m offered a job at one of the elite African clubs (ES Sahel, Al-Ahly, ES Tunis, Sundowns, Zamalek, Club Africain, Orlando Pirates).

This has genuinely made my day that bit better. Thank you.

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Chapter Fifteen, Part Two

Team: MC Alger

League: Algerian League One

Season: 2029/30

Background: This promises to be a gruelling half-season. I know from two seasons ago what a train wreck the league schedule becomes in this country when you have to deal with continental competition as well. At least we don’t have to worry about the Algerian Cup, but it looks like we’ll be playing in the Arab Championship as well as the Champions League. Probably shouldn’t have let some of my fringe players leave during the transfer window but a bigger blow is a broken angle to captain Hicham Rebih, one of my three defensive midfielders out for the best part of the season. The board’s expectations for the African Champions League are to ‘be competitive’, but our finances have just become insecure so we could do with a good run here. The requirements for the Arab Championship are to reach the Group Stage, as far as I can tell currently, we enter at that stage anyway.

 

Arabian Knights

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [1st] 2-1 USM El Harrach [8th]

Almost a disastrous return to action here as we concede a penalty and fall behind after 3 minutes. Djebbar levels the game before half time, but we’re on the ropes as Chergui is dismissed for a reckless two-footed challenge just after I’ve used my last substitute putting on an extra forward. Somehow, we survive and even grab a winner, Djebbar scoring twice in a game for the first time since last season.

(Champions League Preliminary Round Leg 1) MC Alger 8-0 Centre Chiefs

Botswana champions Centre Chiefs are the unfortunate victims as MC Alger return to the Champions League. Bouregaa steals the show with a first half hat-trick, Meziane scored twice, Lahouamad, Belkhiter and Djebbar completing the rout.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [1st] 2-1 ES Sétif [2nd]

A huge match for both clubs ahead of their respective hectic schedules. USM Alger have fallen off the pace slightly at this stage, so this one could be massive in deciding this year’s title battle. We go into the game with no defensive midfielders available due to suspensions for Chergui and Belkhiter alongside Rebih’s injury. Instead of changing tactic, I opt for right back Amrani and attacking midfielder Amroune to do us a job in there and we get away with it. A horror mistake from the ES Sétif left back allows Meziane to set up Djebbar for the opener before a controversial penalty converted by Meziane puts us 2-0 up. We get absolutely battered for the rest of the match but hold out for a massive win that takes us 4 points clear at the top. MC Oran provide us with the cherry on top, their win at USM Alger leaving our 3rd-placed rivals 9 points adrift.

It's a good job we’ve given ourselves this breathing space as the Group Stage of the Arab Championship has just been drawn giving us two days’ notice to get to Saudi Arabia to face Al-Ahli. For the next 10 weeks we will play midweek and at the weekend, fooking ace.

(Arab Championship Group A) Al-Ahli (KSA) [1st]  MC Alger [2nd]

What an absolute piss-take this is. We go into the match as 10-1 outsiders but lead 2-0 within a quarter of an hour through Gherbi and Djebbar. However, we find ourselves 4-2 down at the break thanks to goals from the clearly Arabic Argentine Villasenin (2), Italian Conte and Spanish Carreno. Reminder: there’s an absolute ban in Algeria on signing or playing players who aren’t Algerian nationals. A goalless second half consigns us to defeat and with only the top team from each group going through, we can pretty much write off this tournament as, although we should be able to win our other two fixtures, nobody’s stopping Al-Ahli, gladly be proven wrong…

(Algerian League One) MC Oran [4th] 2-0 MC Alger [1st]

What a grim fixture to face after travelling to fucking Saudi Arabia three days ago. Things don’t go our way against in-form MC Oran and we go down 2-0. ES Sétif beat RC Arba at home and move back to within a point of us.

 

Air Miles

(African Champions League Preliminary Round Leg 2) Centre Chiefs 1-0 MC Alger [MC Alger win 8-1 on aggregate]

This run of fixtures is really switching me off to managing in Algeria. Had I stayed in the Algerian Cup I’d be playing three matches a week until the end of the season, simply unmanageable unless you have 20 regens per season already good enough to play in the Algerian top flight like ES Sétif seem to. We travel the length of Africa (7,232km) for this second leg, before returning to Algeria for our remaining Arab Cup group matches. As we lead 8-0 on aggregate I field the weakest team possible out of my 30 man Champions League squad, and my comically young side featuring seven full debutantes concede early, but Centre Chiefs are the worst team I’ve seen since leaving Sao Tome and can’t find the net again. A much greater challenge in the next round against Moroccan MA Tétouan.

(Arab Championship Group A) MC Alger [3rd] 4-1 Muharraq [2nd]

Here come the champions of Bahrain. This is supposed to be a close match but Bouregaa opens the scoring within 2 minutes for us and Djebbar’s hat-trick makes it 4-0 after 20 minutes. I tell the boys to chill out on Contain for the second half and the visitors get one back. We can still qualify by winning the group if we smash our last group game but only if these somehow beat Al-Ahli. Back in Algeria, ES Sétif miss the chance to go top, losing at home to USM Alger. We now have a game in hand, on top with 43 points, ES Sétif second on 42 and USM Alger back in the mix on 40.

What the actual fuck? We get £1.1m of gate money for this match which covers our total expenditure for about 4 months and changes our financial status from Insecure to Okay!

(Algerian League One) USM Bel Abbés [12th] 1-6 MC Alger [2nd]

ES Sétif defeat USM El Harrach the day before this one and go to the top of the table, while Al-Ahli confirm our exit from the Arab Championship by defeating Muharraq 3-0. No need to have half an eye on Tevragh Zeina midweek then, and Djebbar scores a hilarious six goals to send us back to top spot.

(Arab Championship Group A) MC Alger [2nd] 5-0 Tevragh Zeina [4th]

A pointless match that hopefully brings in another shitload of gate money. We field a mixed team here and it comes as no surprise that the champions of Mauritania are a sorry offering. Ghoul and Mahfoudi-Laggoun each bag a brace with Gherbi also on target. ES Sétif are in domestic action again, drawing 2-2 at ASO Chlef which brings them level on points with us having played two more games. The gate money doesn't materialise.

(Champions League First Round Leg 1) MC Alger 5-2 MA Tétouan

A really tricky draw this. MA Tétouan finished 3rd in Morocco last season, a league very much on a par with our own, and defeated my old rivals US Forces Armées in the Preliminary Round, denying me a trip back to Burkina Faso to face them. Meziane scores twice but misses a penalty in the first half, while the visitors score from about the only two attacks they manage leaving it all square at half time. Djebbar stirs and nets a hat-trick in the second half, though, putting us in a great position in the tie and putting him on 12 goals in his last 3 appearances.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [1st] 4-0 DRB Tadjenanet [15th]

Despite having Boukria sent off early in the second half, we send these packing easily thanks to goals from Sahraoui, Mahfoudi-Laggoun, Djebbar and Bouregaa. ES Sétif win from behind at MO Bejaia to stay level on points.

(Champions League First Round Leg 2) MA Tétouan 1-2 MC Alger [MC Alger win 7-3 on aggregate]

Not too far to travel to Morocco and we do so with a three goal advantage. The only slight concern ahead of kick off are the two away goals we conceded a week earlier but goals from Djebbar and Belkhiter in the first half allay any genuine fears. In reaching the second round, we have matched my previous run in this competition with Etoile Filante. We will face a lengthy trip to Ghana to take on Hearts of Oak, who overturned a 1-4 first leg deficit to beat Congolese AC Léopards 5-4 on aggregate.

 

Domestic Bliss

(Algerian League One) ASO Chlef [3rd] 0-1 MC Alger [1st]

HAHAHAHAHAHA YEEES FUCK OFF CHLEF YOU BASTARDS. Lahouamad comes off the bench to score just his third of the season and secure a late win for us here against ten men. USM Alger also lose and odds continue to shorten on MC Alger retaining the Algerian title.

(Algerian League One) CA Batna [16th] 2-5 MC Alger [1st]

A 10 day international break before this tie offers us a much-needed opportunity to rest. Meziane’s penalty gives us the lead against ten men on the stroke of half time, but we’re pegged by a spot kick in the second half. Bouregaa restored our lead but the ten man bottom club equalise again. Guerfi gives us the lead for a third time with a long range effort before Djebbar’s late brace seals the deal.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [1st] 1-1 JSM Bejaia [7th]

JSM Bejaia are enjoying a solid season in the top half, and run into us in a complete and utter shite mood. We scrape a draw with a 90th minute equaliser from Lahouamad but I am not celebrating as we can't afford to be dropping points while ES Sétif are on a winning streak...

(Champions League Second Round Leg 1) Hearts of Oak 2-2 MC Alger

We were poor again here, no idea what’s happened to us all of a sudden. We lead twice through Meziane and Djebbar, but can’t hold on either time and are lucky to draw really after spending most of the game under siege. To be fair, with two away goals this is a decent result to take back to Algeria.

(Algerian League One) CS Constantine [9th] 4-3 MC Alger [1st]

Absolute, unadulterated shite from my players again who are absolutely determined to fuck the title on the home stretch. Djebbar puts us ahead but we instantly concede three goals in ten minutes, again after going 40 minutes without Constantine even getting into our half let alone creating a chance. One of their defenders scores two fucking own goals to draw us level at 3-3 but we still can’t hold on for a result. ES Sétif have won 6 consecutive games and have piss easy fixtures remaining, if we win all our remaining games though, it is still in our hands.

(Algerian League One) USM Alger [5th] 5-1 MC Alger [2nd]

For fuck’s sake. We race out of the blocks and batter these fuckers, Bouregaa gets the opening goal to give us the lead, then Belkhiter the absolute odious cunt gets booked twice in a minute to leave us with ten men for over an hour of the match. We get absolutely raped and now sit 5 points behind ES Sétif with a game in hand. They have three to play, we have four. Time for a few fines and a team meeting after this run. Piss take.

 

Home Comforts

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [2nd] 4-0 MC El Eulma [10th]

Nice from the Algerian FA to support us in representing the league on the continental stage by making us play two games in the four days before the second leg against Hearts of Oak. I reluctantly field a second string side and hope for the best. Thankfully, MC El Eulma are as shit as ever and Lahouamad’s hat-trick along with a goal for Ghoul sees us take the points. If we win our last three games and ES Sétif drop points once, the title is still ours…

(Champions League Second Round Leg 2) MC Alger 5-1 Hearts of Oak [MC Alger win 7-3 on aggregate]

After drawing 2-2 in the first leg, an incredible start here sees Djebbar and Bouregaa give us a commanding two goal lead within two minutes, before Meziane adds a third from the penalty spot. Bouregaa and Meziane each complete a brace in the second half before the visitors score a consolation goal. We go into the last eight of the Champions League and are drawn in Group A with Zamalek, TP Mazembe and fucking USM Alger.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [2nd] 3-1 JS Kabylie [14th]

Once again we make an absolute heart attack of winning against average opposition, but goals from Bouregaa, Djebbar and Lahouamad are enough to turn this match around and keep the pressure on ES Sétif. Too bad they win their match 5-1 later this day.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [2nd] 2-0 RC Arba [12th]

GET THE ABSOLUTE FUCK IN!! ES Sétif draw 0-0 at home with CS Constantine during midweek, meaning that the title is back in our hands. We are three points behind the leaders with a game in hand. Draw level and we’ll finish ahead courtesy of having a win and a draw against them this season. Today is the end of the season for most sides, with one more fixture to come in midweek between ourselves and CR Belouizdad. ES Sétif finish today with a visit to MC El Eulma…

23’ GOOOOOAL! Djebbar breaks the deadlock for us!

41’ UNBELIEVABLE! MC El Eulma take a shock lead over ES Sétif, and it’s none other than former MC Alger midfielder Mohamed Ghoul, once labelled a “mongoloid cuntflap” by his former manager, he sends his former club top with this strike!

45+1’ WHAT IS HAPPENING! MC El Eulma 2-0 ES Sétif, Sétif are shitting the bed!

47’ RED CARD! Khiar has been sent off for ES Sétif, it’s all uphill from here for the pre-season title favourites.

52’ THAT’S THREE FOR EL EULMA! Wow! MC Alger are in a position to snatch the title from the jaws of defeat without even having to see off CR Belouizdad in their final fixture!

59’ DJEBBAAAAAARRR! MC Alger have their second goal with a great finish from their leading goalscorer!

67’ COMEBACK? ES Sétif have one back! Can they complete an unthinkable comeback?

FT: No they can’t! MC Alger climb back to the top of the table and have retained the League One title!

Genuinely believed the title was gone after getting hammered by USM Alger, can’t believe ES Sétif have monged it up in the last three games! Delighted to retain the title, now just to finish the season.

 

Curtain Comes Down

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [1st] 2-0 CR Belouizdad [6th]

A nice relaxing win to finish the season, courtesy of an own goal and Djebbar’s 30th of the season. We end the campaign on 68 points, with 21 wins, 5 draws and 4 defeats. Not bad at all.

 

Season Summary

Algerian League One: Winners (Exceeded Expectations)

Algerian Cup: Fifth Round (Under-performed)

Algerian Super Cup: Winners (Exceeded Expectations)

Arab Club Championship: Group Stage (Met Expectations)

African Champions League: Group Stage (Exceeding Expectations)

Summary: Although I spent a lot of this chapter stressed and angry due to the late-season charge by ES Sétif, we have ended up having an absolutely great season, retaining the league title in a straight fight with Algeria's biggest club ES Sétif, and reached the last eight of the African Champions League, where we will face some of the continent's absolute elite during the next pre-season and early stages of the next campaign. The Super Cup was a bonus, the Algerian Cup was a disaster again and the Arab Championship was little more than a few annoying extra fixtures. What is most satisfying is winning the league with a higher points total and under more intense pressure, despite having heaps more fixtures to squeeze in during the second half of the season.

In terms of next steps, I've achieved all there is to achieve in Algeria really, or will have once I conclude our Champions League run next season. As soon as a job at one of the 3+ star clubs in Africa comes up I will be going all out for it, but if one doesn't come up, I will complete one more season with MC Alger before looking to move into the Tunisian, Egyptian or South African leagues lowering my standard to clubs with 2.5+ star reputation to give myself more options.

Hope y'all enjoy!

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8 minutes ago, RandoEFC said:

Chapter Fifteen, Part Two

Team: MC Alger

League: Algerian League One

Season: 2029/30

Background: This promises to be a gruelling half-season. I know from two seasons ago what a train wreck the league schedule becomes in this country when you have to deal with continental competition as well. At least we don’t have to worry about the Algerian Cup, but it looks like we’ll be playing in the Arab Championship as well as the Champions League. Probably shouldn’t have let some of my fringe players leave during the transfer window but a bigger blow is a broken angle to captain Hicham Rebih, one of my three defensive midfielders out for the best part of the season. The board’s expectations for the African Champions League are to ‘be competitive’, but our finances have just become insecure so we could do with a good run here. The requirements for the Arab Championship are to reach the Group Stage, as far as I can tell currently, we enter at that stage anyway.

 

Arabian Knights

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [1st] 2-1 USM El Harrach [8th]

Almost a disastrous return to action here as we concede a penalty and fall behind after 3 minutes. Djebbar levels the game before half time, but we’re on the ropes as Chergui is dismissed for a reckless two-footed challenge just after I’ve used my last substitute putting on an extra forward. Somehow, we survive and even grab a winner, Djebbar scoring twice in a game for the first time since last season.

(Champions League Preliminary Round Leg 1) MC Alger 8-0 Centre Chiefs

Botswana champions Centre Chiefs are the unfortunate victims as MC Alger return to the Champions League. Bouregaa steals the show with a first half hat-trick, Meziane scored twice, Lahouamad, Belkhiter and Djebbar completing the rout.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [1st] 2-1 ES Sétif [2nd]

A huge match for both clubs ahead of their respective hectic schedules. USM Alger have fallen off the pace slightly at this stage, so this one could be massive in deciding this year’s title battle. We go into the game with no defensive midfielders available due to suspensions for Chergui and Belkhiter alongside Rebih’s injury. Instead of changing tactic, I opt for right back Amrani and attacking midfielder Amroune to do us a job in there and we get away with it. A horror mistake from the ES Sétif left back allows Meziane to set up Djebbar for the opener before a controversial penalty converted by Meziane puts us 2-0 up. We get absolutely battered for the rest of the match but hold out for a massive win that takes us 4 points clear at the top. MC Oran provide us with the cherry on top, their win at USM Alger leaving our 3rd-placed rivals 9 points adrift.

It's a good job we’ve given ourselves this breathing space as the Group Stage of the Arab Championship has just been drawn giving us two days’ notice to get to Saudi Arabia to face Al-Ahli. For the next 10 weeks we will play midweek and at the weekend, fooking ace.

(Arab Championship Group A) Al-Ahli (KSA) [1st]  MC Alger [2nd]

What an absolute piss-take this is. We go into the match as 10-1 outsiders but lead 2-0 within a quarter of an hour through Gherbi and Djebbar. However, we find ourselves 4-2 down at the break thanks to goals from the clearly Arabic Argentine Villasenin (2), Italian Conte and Spanish Carreno. Reminder: there’s an absolute ban in Algeria on signing or playing players who aren’t Algerian nationals. A goalless second half consigns us to defeat and with only the top team from each group going through, we can pretty much write off this tournament as, although we should be able to win our other two fixtures, nobody’s stopping Al-Ahli, gladly be proven wrong…

(Algerian League One) MC Oran [4th] 2-0 MC Alger [1st]

What a grim fixture to face after travelling to fucking Saudi Arabia three days ago. Things don’t go our way against in-form MC Oran and we go down 2-0. ES Sétif beat RC Arba at home and move back to within a point of us.

 

Air Miles

(African Champions League Preliminary Round Leg 2) Centre Chiefs 1-0 MC Alger [MC Alger win 8-1 on aggregate]

This run of fixtures is really switching me off to managing in Algeria. Had I stayed in the Algerian Cup I’d be playing three matches a week until the end of the season, simply unmanageable unless you have 20 regens per season already good enough to play in the Algerian top flight like ES Sétif seem to. We travel the length of Africa (7,232km) for this second leg, before returning to Algeria for our remaining Arab Cup group matches. As we lead 8-0 on aggregate I field the weakest team possible out of my 30 man Champions League squad, and my comically young side featuring seven full debutantes concede early, but Centre Chiefs are the worst team I’ve seen since leaving Sao Tome and can’t find the net again. A much greater challenge in the next round against Moroccan MA Tétouan.

(Arab Championship Group A) MC Alger [3rd] 4-1 Muharraq [2nd]

Here come the champions of Bahrain. This is supposed to be a close match but Bouregaa opens the scoring within 2 minutes for us and Djebbar’s hat-trick makes it 4-0 after 20 minutes. I tell the boys to chill out on Contain for the second half and the visitors get one back. We can still qualify by winning the group if we smash our last group game but only if these somehow beat Al-Ahli. Back in Algeria, ES Sétif miss the chance to go top, losing at home to USM Alger. We now have a game in hand, on top with 43 points, ES Sétif second on 42 and USM Alger back in the mix on 40.

What the actual fuck? We get £1.1m of gate money for this match which covers our total expenditure for about 4 months and changes our financial status from Insecure to Okay!

(Algerian League One) USM Bel Abbés [12th] 1-6 MC Alger [2nd]

ES Sétif defeat USM El Harrach the day before this one and go to the top of the table, while Al-Ahli confirm our exit from the Arab Championship by defeating Muharraq 3-0. No need to have half an eye on Tevragh Zeina midweek then, and Djebbar scores a hilarious six goals to send us back to top spot.

(Arab Championship Group A) MC Alger [2nd] 5-0 Tevragh Zeina [4th]

A pointless match that hopefully brings in another shitload of gate money. We field a mixed team here and it comes as no surprise that the champions of Mauritania are a sorry offering. Ghoul and Mahfoudi-Laggoun each bag a brace with Gherbi also on target. ES Sétif are in domestic action again, drawing 2-2 at ASO Chlef which brings them level on points with us having played two more games. The gate money doesn't materialise.

(Champions League First Round Leg 1) MC Alger 5-2 MA Tétouan

A really tricky draw this. MA Tétouan finished 3rd in Morocco last season, a league very much on a par with our own, and defeated my old rivals US Forces Armées in the Preliminary Round, denying me a trip back to Burkina Faso to face them. Meziane scores twice but misses a penalty in the first half, while the visitors score from about the only two attacks they manage leaving it all square at half time. Djebbar stirs and nets a hat-trick in the second half, though, putting us in a great position in the tie and putting him on 12 goals in his last 3 appearances.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [1st] 4-0 DRB Tadjenanet [15th]

Despite having Boukria sent off early in the second half, we send these packing easily thanks to goals from Sahraoui, Mahfoudi-Laggoun, Djebbar and Bouregaa. ES Sétif win from behind at MO Bejaia to stay level on points.

(Champions League First Round Leg 2) MA Tétouan 1-2 MC Alger [MC Alger win 7-3 on aggregate]

Not too far to travel to Morocco and we do so with a three goal advantage. The only slight concern ahead of kick off are the two away goals we conceded a week earlier but goals from Djebbar and Belkhiter in the first half allay any genuine fears. In reaching the second round, we have matched my previous run in this competition with Etoile Filante. We will face a lengthy trip to Ghana to take on Hearts of Oak, who overturned a 1-4 first leg deficit to beat Congolese AC Léopards 5-4 on aggregate.

 

Domestic Bliss

(Algerian League One) ASO Chlef [3rd] 0-1 MC Alger [1st]

HAHAHAHAHAHA YEEES FUCK OFF CHLEF YOU BASTARDS. Lahouamad comes off the bench to score just his third of the season and secure a late win for us here against ten men. USM Alger also lose and odds continue to shorten on MC Alger retaining the Algerian title.

(Algerian League One) CA Batna [16th] 2-5 MC Alger [1st]

A 10 day international break before this tie offers us a much-needed opportunity to rest. Meziane’s penalty gives us the lead against ten men on the stroke of half time, but we’re pegged by a spot kick in the second half. Bouregaa restored our lead but the ten man bottom club equalise again. Guerfi gives us the lead for a third time with a long range effort before Djebbar’s late brace seals the deal.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [1st] 1-1 JSM Bejaia [7th]

JSM Bejaia are enjoying a solid season in the top half, and run into us in a complete and utter shite mood. We scrape a draw with a 90th minute equaliser from Lahouamad but I am not celebrating as we can't afford to be dropping points while ES Sétif are on a winning streak...

(Champions League Second Round Leg 1) Hearts of Oak 2-2 MC Alger

We were poor again here, no idea what’s happened to us all of a sudden. We lead twice through Meziane and Djebbar, but can’t hold on either time and are lucky to draw really after spending most of the game under siege. To be fair, with two away goals this is a decent result to take back to Algeria.

(Algerian League One) CS Constantine [9th] 4-3 MC Alger [1st]

Absolute, unadulterated shite from my players again who are absolutely determined to fuck the title on the home stretch. Djebbar puts us ahead but we instantly concede three goals in ten minutes, again after going 40 minutes without Constantine even getting into our half let alone creating a chance. One of their defenders scores two fucking own goals to draw us level at 3-3 but we still can’t hold on for a result. ES Sétif have won 6 consecutive games and have piss easy fixtures remaining, if we win all our remaining games though, it is still in our hands.

(Algerian League One) USM Alger [5th] 5-1 MC Alger [2nd]

For fuck’s sake. We race out of the blocks and batter these fuckers, Bouregaa gets the opening goal to give us the lead, then Belkhiter the absolute odious cunt gets booked twice in a minute to leave us with ten men for over an hour of the match. We get absolutely raped and now sit 5 points behind ES Sétif with a game in hand. They have three to play, we have four. Time for a few fines and a team meeting after this run. Piss take.

 

Home Comforts

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [2nd] 4-0 MC El Eulma [10th]

Nice from the Algerian FA to support us in representing the league on the continental stage by making us play two games in the four days before the second leg against Hearts of Oak. I reluctantly field a second string side and hope for the best. Thankfully, MC El Eulma are as shit as ever and Lahouamad’s hat-trick along with a goal for Ghoul sees us take the points. If we win our last three games and ES Sétif drop points once, the title is still ours…

(Champions League Second Round Leg 2) MC Alger 5-1 Hearts of Oak [MC Alger win 7-3 on aggregate]

After drawing 2-2 in the first leg, an incredible start here sees Djebbar and Bouregaa give us a commanding two goal lead within two minutes, before Meziane adds a third from the penalty spot. Bouregaa and Meziane each complete a brace in the second half before the visitors score a consolation goal. We go into the last eight of the Champions League and are drawn in Group A with Zamalek, TP Mazembe and fucking USM Alger.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [2nd] 3-1 JS Kabylie [14th]

Once again we make an absolute heart attack of winning against average opposition, but goals from Bouregaa, Djebbar and Lahouamad are enough to turn this match around and keep the pressure on ES Sétif. Too bad they win their match 5-1 later this day.

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [2nd] 2-0 RC Arba [12th]

GET THE ABSOLUTE FUCK IN!! ES Sétif draw 0-0 at home with CS Constantine during midweek, meaning that the title is back in our hands. We are three points behind the leaders with a game in hand. Draw level and we’ll finish ahead courtesy of having a win and a draw against them this season. Today is the end of the season for most sides, with one more fixture to come in midweek between ourselves and CR Belouizdad. ES Sétif finish today with a visit to MC El Eulma…

23’ GOOOOOAL! Djebbar breaks the deadlock for us!

41’ UNBELIEVABLE! MC El Eulma take a shock lead over ES Sétif, and it’s none other than former MC Alger midfielder Mohamed Ghoul, once labelled a “mongoloid cuntflap” by his former manager, he sends his former club top with this strike!

45+1’ WHAT IS HAPPENING! MC El Eulma 2-0 ES Sétif, Sétif are shitting the bed!

47’ RED CARD! Khiar has been sent off for ES Sétif, it’s all uphill from here for the pre-season title favourites.

52’ THAT’S THREE FOR EL EULMA! Wow! MC Alger are in a position to snatch the title from the jaws of defeat without even having to see off CR Belouizdad in their final fixture!

59’ DJEBBAAAAAARRR! MC Alger have their second goal with a great finish from their leading goalscorer!

67’ COMEBACK? ES Sétif have one back! Can they complete an unthinkable comeback?

FT: No they can’t! MC Alger climb back to the top of the table and have retained the League One title!

Genuinely believed the title was gone after getting hammered by USM Alger, can’t believe ES Sétif have monged it up in the last three games! Delighted to retain the title, now just to finish the season.

 

Curtain Comes Down

(Algerian League One) MC Alger [1st] 2-0 CR Belouizdad [6th]

A nice relaxing win to finish the season, courtesy of an own goal and Djebbar’s 30th of the season. We end the campaign on 68 points, with 21 wins, 5 draws and 4 defeats. Not bad at all.

 

Season Summary

Algerian League One: Winners (Exceeded Expectations)

Algerian Cup: Fifth Round (Under-performed)

Algerian Super Cup: Winners (Exceeded Expectations)

Arab Club Championship: Group Stage (Met Expectations)

African Champions League: Group Stage (Exceeding Expectations)

Summary: Although I spent a lot of this chapter stressed and angry due to the late-season charge by ES Sétif, we have ended up having an absolutely great season, retaining the league title in a straight fight with Algeria's biggest club ES Sétif, and reached the last eight of the African Champions League, where we will face some of the continent's absolute elite during the next pre-season and early stages of the next campaign. The Super Cup was a bonus, the Algerian Cup was a disaster again and the Arab Championship was little more than a few annoying extra fixtures. What is most satisfying is winning the league with a higher points total and under more intense pressure, despite having heaps more fixtures to squeeze in during the second half of the season.

In terms of next steps, I've achieved all there is to achieve in Algeria really, or will have once I conclude our Champions League run next season. As soon as a job at one of the 3+ star clubs in Africa comes up I will be going all out for it, but if one doesn't come up, I will complete one more season with MC Alger before looking to move into the Tunisian, Egyptian or South African leagues lowering my standard to clubs with 2.5+ star reputation to give myself more options.

Hope y'all enjoy!

I didn't recall that rule against signing non-Algerian nationals. On the whole would you say it's been more difficult to find quality signings?

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Just now, Cure said:

I didn't recall that rule against signing non-Algerian nationals. Would you say it's been more difficult to find quality signings?

Yes, I was genuinely unable to find anyone worth signing at the start of this season apart from Bouregaa. None of the overseas Algerian international players are willing to come to play in Algeria (generally) which leaves me with signings from our domestic rivals who don't have many players that can significantly improve my squad. I did manage to get Bilal Daoud, who was an international player but he was 34 when he signed after his Zaragoza contract ended, still got a good season out of him. Also went in for a midfielder called Sergi at the start of this season but ES Sétif went after him too and he chose them.

Oh well, leaving Algeria soon enough anyway.

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21 minutes ago, RandoEFC said:

Yes, I was genuinely unable to find anyone worth signing at the start of this season apart from Bouregaa. None of the overseas Algerian international players are willing to come to play in Algeria (generally) which leaves me with signings from our domestic rivals who don't have many players that can significantly improve my squad. I did manage to get Bilal Daoud, who was an international player but he was 34 when he signed after his Zaragoza contract ended, still got a good season out of him. Also went in for a midfielder called Sergi at the start of this season but ES Sétif went after him too and he chose them.

Oh well, leaving Algeria soon enough anyway.

Just did a little research and there are a few non-Algeria nationals currently in the league in real life, the Malagasy Ibrahim Amada with ES Setif and Carolus Andriamatsinoro with USM Alger. Extremely uncommon though. Found that aside from them the only other foreigners in their top division are in on-loan from other African clubs or hold dual-nationality. Regardless you've done really well.

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Right on cue, ES Sahel, the highest reputation club in Africa have sacked their manager after failing to win the league and getting knocked out in the semi-final of the Arab Championship, guess who's favourite to take over B|.

ES Sahel.png

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