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Moving on Up - South African International Management

Started on 10 June 2016 by Grant_MUFC25
Latest Reply on 28 June 2016 by C.J.Lippo
Grant_MUFC25's avatar Group Grant_MUFC25
6 yearsEdited

South Africa is a country with a rich footballing history. Initially being an all white only international soccer nation for most of the 90's, South Africa became the first country outside of Europe to join FIFA in 1910.

By 1952 in South Africa there were two separate footballing associations. One was SAFA, which was the all white association, part of FIFA, the other was SASF, which represented the rest of South Africa's races.

In 1956 due to FIFA pressure, the first non-white South African signs a contract with a club in Europe. Stephen Mokone signs for Cardiff City.

By 1976, because of their exclusionary policies South Africa was expelled by both FIFA and CAF, and did not play an international game again until 1992.

After the fall of the Apartheid regime, South Africa is accepted back into FIFA and CAF in 1992.

In 1992, in their first match back in international soccer, South Africa beat Cameroon 1-0 and in 1996 won their first major international trophy, The African Cup of Nations, in South Africa.

In 1997 South Africa qualified for their first World Cup, and in 1998 fell just short of defending their AFCON crown losing in the final 2-0. South Africa also got knocked out in the group stages of the world cup in France, being drawn alongside hosts and eventual winners, France, and Peter Schmeichel's, Denmark.

Then in the 2002 World Cup, in South Korea/Japan, South Africa were 30 minutes away from qualifying for the Round of 16 when a Spain goal meant they would just miss out on Goals scored to Paraguay.

South Africa then failed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, and became the first African nation to host it in 2010. Unfortunately South Africa were unable to make it out of the group stages again, this time on Goal Difference to Mexico.

South Africa again failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

So with most people in South Africa believing our national team are underachieving in major international competitions and qualifying, a new hope has sprung up, through the hiring of a young and talented manager, Grant Losper.

Grant Losper is a former South African international, and retired at the young age of 29 due to a recurring knee injury. He has been studying the trade of football management for about 10 years now, and is hoping he could be that an to lead his nation to glory, and at the very least a round of 16 world cup spot.

Russia 2018 here we come

I really really like this idea and I will be following but I feel the title could use a change, needs to be something that stands out much more!
Good luck!
So i dont think i mentioned this yet but South Africa are ranked 73rd at the start of this save. I never realized we were that far down, and are not even a top 10 African side, 17th in Africa, so another goal i set would be to improve our stature in Africa, and hopefully overtake nations such as Algeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Cameroon, who are 1, 2, 3, 4 in Africa.

First Game - Baptism of Fire
So first we came up against Cameroon in our second game of AFCON 2017 qualifying, previous manager won the first game against Gambia 1-0. We were absolutely thumped by a far better Cameroon side, littered with European club players. I did not expect a win, but i did not expect to get thumped so thoroughly. This game showed me the gap between us and the top African sides.

Improvement needed - Trying different things
After the Cameroon game, we had friendly against Uruguay, and after the first game, i definitely thought we would lose, but we put in a gutsy performance and managed to hold on for a draw. Switched to a more defensive tactic here as i realized our defense is so weak, and we would need midfield help if we were going to achieve anything.

Getting much better - Picking my own squad
At first i just used the suggested squad as i did not really feel like going through every player in our national pool, but after the first couple games i realized some of the players suggested were just not good enough and i decided to look at every player and choose my own squad.
We then had friendlies against 51st ranked Congo and 74th ranked Uganda, and the new tactic worked an absolute treat.
We were defensively solid even though we conceded 3 goals over the 2 games it was the only 3 chances these teams had over the two games, and had our best GK not been injured we might have kept clean sheets, and we were also extremely good in attack scoring 8 goals, 4 against a team supposedly better than us and 4 against a team at about the same level.

AFCON 2016 - Qualifying games
Next up we had 98th ranked Angola in the final qualifying stage for AFCON 2016. Expected to win after the previous two friendlies and we did just that continuing our fine performances, both in attack and defense.

Progress Report
So we are now through to my first major tournament as South African manager, and i am hoping for a strong showing. As for World Cup qualification, we play the best team in Africa right now, Algeria, in the next round, so we will see how that goes.
One Step Closer
Coming up against Algeria, i was a little confident but also nervous as they had a far better squad than mine. Mahrez, Feghouli, Ghoulam, and Slimini to name a few.
In the first leg we played really well and should have scored more than 1 but a clean sheet in the home tie is always good, and i was happy about that.
The second leg was all about holding on and after going down twice we scored almost immediately after they scored both times, and in the second half we just hung on for dear life.

Not again
In the next round we have Cameroon in our qualifying group again, and hopefully revenge will be ours. With only the top team qualifying for the world cup, we need to beat them at least once and then beat Mali and Botswana as expected.

Quick Update
After those round of fixtures we are now up to 64th in the world rankings and are moving up. Next update will be after the AFCON, so see you guys then.
AFCON 2016

Group Stage
For some reason we could not score goals, but did just enough to come out with victories in all of our three group games. We must have had one of the worst shots to goals conversion rates ever. Across the 3 games we had 62 shots, 31 on target, and only scored 4 goals.

Winning our group meant we played second place in Group B Ivory Coast, ranked 20th in the world.

Another game in the tournament where we just struggled to score. We had 25 shots with 13 on target by the end of 90 minutes, but only managed 1 goal, which meant extra time for my very tired team. In extra time we had even more shots and just could not score. With penalties looking likely, we received a late, late, late penalty and snatched a deserved victory.

This meant we were now in the Semi Finals, where we would come up against Uganda, ranked 78th in the world now.

Expected to beat Uganda, but by this point we had lost 8 outfield players to injury. Our starting 11 was makeshift, and we only had 1 Striker, 1 CB, who both just got over their injuries, and 2 GK's as our substitutes.
Things definitely looked bleak.

Our teams tiredness definitely showed in the first 20 minutes as Uganda had like 4 shots to our none. Then with 3 shots we scored 3 goals, which was crazy given our record so far this tournament and i went ultra defensive for 60 minutes, and we saw out the victory fairy comfortably.

Our win meant we would play 36th ranked Tunisia in the Final.

The Final
Coming in with all our injuries and tired legs, i knew this would be tough. Tunisia put us to the sword and if it had not been for Khune we could have easily been 3-0 down. Somehow we held on, and in the last 10 minutes i pushed for the win, because we would not make it through extra time with our players condition. Somehow we snatched a late 90th minute victory and won the AFCON.

Our players Condition compared to Tunisia just after we scored

We definitely would not have made it through extra time. So i was glad to score that late goal.
Tournament Review
After all the injuries and us not being one of the favorites pre-tournament, i certainly was not expecting to win it. But the players who stayed fit really stepped up and we ended up having 7 out of 11 players in the first XI of the tournament and 7 out of 12 subs.

Congrats on winning the AFCON!
mrtepig: Thanks, it was one of the craziest tournaments i took part in, with all the injuries and not being able to score. And "tepig" is that for the pokemon?
Final Games of first season

Three AFCON games
These were three games we definitely needed to win since we lost to Cameroon in that first game. Only the top team in each group qualifies for AFCON so we needed three wins.

First up was Mauritania and we were dominant, although they did score a goal and i was disappointed because after our big loss to Cameroon we needed to keep our goal difference up as this could be a problem if we do beat Cameroon in our final game of the group.

Next up was Gambia and we definitely needed to win to keep our points tally growing, as i found out that the 3 best 2nd place teams out of 13 groups qualify for AFCON as well so we still have a chance even if we do not beat Cameroon.
We went behind early, but we picked ourselves up and eventually came back to win 3-1.

Finally we had Mauritania again and we needed a big win as of GD was 8 behind Cameroon at this point, and we did just that. We totally smashed them and i was really happy. A 7-0 win is always a good thing.

Cameroon draw against Gambia and we are now 1 point back, so a win would definitely secure qualification for AFCON 2017, where we would want to defend our crown.
End of Season Review
It has been an amazing 15/16 season for us, we had a record of 16W, 2D, 1L. Also winning the AFCON was amazing and is definitely the high point of our season.

Next season i hope to secure qualification for AFCON, so we can defend our crown and then also being AFCON champions we qualified for the CONFED cup, so i am hoping for a good performance there.

I also want to play friendlies against more challenging opposition, so we can see where we stack up against the European and South American teams. And the CONFED cup should put us up against some tough opposition, so it should be a nice challenge.

Lastly, we need World Cup qualification. We should be ok barring bad performances against Cameroon, as only the top team qualifies, but i believe we should be ok.
Congratulations on the win.

Great to see an SAFFA in here ;)
An amazing year for you bud! Congrats on the AFCON win!!
Slight Correction

Turns out i did not win AFCON, i won the African Championship of Nations.. Apparently these are two different tournaments.. I did not know that..

So going into the final game we needed to beat Cameroon to finish top of our group and qualify for AFCON 17, but that did not happen. We were battered for the most part and were lucky to come away with only a 1-0 loss.
I was hopeful that we did enough to qualify as a best 2nd place team, but 3 other teams did better than us, and because of our previous 7-0 win, a draw against Cameroon would have been enough to qualify on Goal Difference, so i was even more disappointed.

Failure to qualify and losing to Cameroon this badly again is just so frustrating and disheartening as we have to play them again in the World Cup qualifiers, I am not sure if 2018 will be our year.

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