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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
Time to look forward

So after the loss to Cameroon we just needed a win to pick up our spirits again, and Gabon were the perfect opponent. They do have Aubameyang, who is always a threat, but this was a winnable.

It was a much closer game than i thought it would be but our finishing was just on another level this game. We scored with our first 4 shots and all our shots were on target. They had some good chances and they could have score more, but thanks to Khune and some poor finishing on their part, we came away with a nice, big win.

World Cup Qualifiers Start

Cameroon again!!!
I am starting to hate this damn team. Again they totally outplayed us. They scored early, and we held on. Then we had a late 89th minute 1v1 and our striker missed. They then went up the other end and scored to make it 2-0. At this point it looked like we would finish 2nd behind them again.

This was a nice game after the Cameroon game, and we bounced back immediately with a 1st minute goal. We were dominant and came out 5-0 winners. Playing against any other team just further confuses me, as to why we are so bad against Cameroon.

Grant_MUFC25's avatar Group Grant_MUFC25
6 yearsEdited
Interesting group
Turns out Cameroon lost to Mali in their second game and now if we can come out with 2 victories against Mali and hopefully get a draw at home to Cameroon we will qualify for the World Cup. This Group could become extremely interesting real fast.

Next up
Next up we have friendlies against Italy and Sorry guys not Mexico, but rather Austria, I forgot, they cancelled the friendly. I am not expecting much, but hoping for the best.
Unfortunately my laptop crashed moving towards the Italy game, so i lost all my data from the last Afcon qualifying game agains Cameroon, so i will holiday until i get similar results, i dont think i will get the scorelines exactly correct but i will try to get the results the same.
End of season 2

Two Friendlies
First up was Italy, they dominated most of the game and we stole a late draw. Was just pleased not to have lost to a superior Italy side.

Next up was Austria. Complete opposite to the Italy game, as we dominated most of the game, but just could not score, and we ended up losing 1-0.

World Cup Qualifiers continued....

After Mali beat Cameroon, we needed a win. We we went up early and they responded immediately, but from there we took control of the game, and won comfortably in the end.

Cameroon also won their game, which meant, the three of us were all tied on 6 points at this time.

Next up was our bogey team Cameroon. This game was vital towards qualifying as Mali were sure to beat Botswana. We went 2-0 up quickly in the first half. Then they scored a 68th minute goal after receiving a red card, which made for some nervy times. But we scored 2 more late on, to put the game to bed. They did snatch a late consolation goal though.

After 3 previous attempts i was just pleased to have ended our win drought against them. Plus this meant we were in pole position to qualify, as they would play Mali next and we had Botswana, who Mali beat. Meaning Mali and ourselves and 9 points with Cameroon on 6.

The whipping boys of this group. We had a really poor first half, but after a tactical tweak we dominated the second half and came out 3-0 winners.

Cameroon could not do the business, and Mali snatched a late draw against them which means, we need atleast a draw against Mali to qualify for the World Cup. I am confident though as we are at home and we did beat Mali earlier in the group.
Start of AFCON 2019 Qualifying
We got drawn alonside Benin, Kenya, and South Sudan. A much easier group than last time, so qualification should be a lot easier.

They outplayed us first half and we were lucky to go in 1-0 down. Then in the second half we stepped up and demolished them.

The start of our defense

Next up was the first qualifying round of the CHAN, the cup that we won, and most probably the baby brother to the AFCON. We drew Malawi and this was a pretty comfortable two-legged tie. We ran out eventual 5-0 aggregate winners.

Looking ahead to Season 3

So season 3 should be our big one. We should qualify for CHAN, as we drew Namibia in the last qualifying round. Hoping to defend my crown at that tournament. I would also expect that we would get through our AFCON qualifying group. And then finally i hope to secure qualification against Mali for the World Cup, and then end season 3 on a high with a nice World Cup run.
Finally broken into the top 50....

For the first time since 2005 South Africa has broken back into the top 50 of world soccer. We are now ranked 46th in the World And 11th in Africa. We have still got a long way to go, towards beating South Africa's record high of 19th place.
Final World Cup Qualifying game
So all we needed was a draw. We went up early and from there on in I knew we had qualification sealed. The game itself was really comfortable after we went up and we scored a late goal to put the game to rest.

Really happy to have qualified, hoping to get a nice group, but with my luck with draws in this game, we will most probably end up with the group of death. Also a lot of good youngsters have shown up through this qualifying campaign and we now have more players playing their club football in Europe.
Kenya - Game 2 AFCON 2019 Qualifying
We were dominant in this game, we hit the woodwork like 3 times, their keeper saved 3 one on ones and we scored 4. This could have easily been 10-0.

Moving on up
After the two wins against Mali and Kenya we moved up a further 9 spots to 37th in the World Rankings. Only 19 more spots to go.
Couple more friendlies
The Hungary game was pretty close but we managed to hold on for the win in the end.
In the Nigeria game we were dominant for most of the game and went 3-0 up, then they picked up and had opportunities, but we were comfortable winners in the end.

CHAN Qualifiers - Namibia
Expected to be dominant and we were. We controlled both games and ended up winning 8-0 on aggregate, meaning that we have qualified for the CHAN tournament, and we can look forward to defending our crown.

Taking on the big boys
Next we had friendlies against Wales and Poland, who were ranked 10th and 12th respectively at the time. In both games we were 2-0 down by the 10th minute and tried to find a way back, but it just was not happening for us. Although we did score a goal in each game, and did look like we could get something from both games.

Both friendlies i felt it was more about tactical mistakes than quality of players, well except Gareth Bale. In both games after tactical tweaks we were fairly competitive.
Group Stage Draws

CHAN group
Should be an okay group, with only really Ivory Coast posing a threat. We should come out of this one ok.

World Cup group
Do not really know how to feel about this one. We could have had a much tougher group but this one is pretty tough as well. According to the press we are in the group of death, although i do not feel like it is.

First we play Switzerland who are now ranked 10th in the world, hoping for a draw, but that might be difficult. Then we play 30th ranked Australia. Considering our group, we have to win this one. Lastly is 1st in the Argentina, and lets be honest, this will most probably be a loss, but i remain hopeful.
Build-up to CHAN
We played a couple of warm-up games against Morocco and Senegal, and we were dominant in both. Against Morocco we had an abundance of chances, just could not finish them, but we did win. Against Senegal, it was much of the same, until the second half when we finished every chance we got.

CHAN 2018 Tournament
We went into this tournament with half a first team side, as we were not allowed to call up foreign based players, so we were missing quite a few key players.

Group Stages
Game 1 - Zambia
We went down early, then pulled them back almost immediately, then we got a red card early in the second half, and they scored immediately after that. We then equalized again, and they scored straight from kickoff. And that was how the game ended.

I was disappointed with this loss, as i felt this was one of the winnable games in our group.

Game 2 - Guinea
After the loss, we needed a win in this one. We were dominant from the start and by halftime we were 2-0 up, and by the second half it was just about seeing the game out.

Nice to get the win here and we were back on track. Zambia also beat Ivory Coast, which meant that we needed at least a draw against Ivory Coast to qualify for the knockout stages.

Game 3 - Ivory Coast
Knowing we needed at least a draw, the pressure was on. Zambia had surprised everybody by beating both of us and now the two bigger teams in our group were fighting for second spot.
We went down early, and things did not look good. Then we equalized and they took the lead almost immediately after that. We had chances to score, but just could not take them, and when everything looked lost, we finally stole the draw in the 89th minute and squeaked through to book our place in the knockout rounds.

Finishing second was not the best, but it meant we avoided Nigeria and got Gabon instead, who were without Aubameyang.

Quarter Final - Gabon
Gabon without Aubameyang, never really posed a threat and we came out of this one comfortable 2-0 winners.

Our prize for this win was a meeting with the best African side, Algeria in the Semi Finals.

Semi-Finals - Algeria
The first half was a tight affair, with no goals. Then we scored immediately after the break, and they equalized almost immediately. The game had chances after that but neither team could score, and we had extra time. Extra time had no chances at all, and for the first time in our South Africa career, penalties was on.
We scored first, they missed.
Both teams scored next.
We missed, they scored. Penalties were tied again.
We scored, they missed. Meant if we scored we win.
We scored our final penalty. And a spot in the final for a second time in a row was booked.

We would play Zambia in the final, for a chance at redemption after our group stage loss.

The Final - Zambia
We scored early, and looked like we were on for a defense of our crown, then we got a stupid 18 minute red card, and the battle was on. We held on for most of the game, but conceded a late goal and we had extra time for a second match in a row.
Our teams fitness levels was extremely bad, as back to back extra times is never nice. I had to substitute my RB early in the second half as he was on 35% fitness, with most of the rest of my team in the 40's% going into extra time. The substitute RB had a terrible time, as he was at fault for the late second half goal, and was at fault for both goals we conceded in extra time.

Fitness and a stupid early red card, caused our downfall in this final. We should have won in regulation time, but we through it away. Disappointed not to have defended our title, but the South African FA just wanted us to be competitive and i think we did that.
AFCON qualifiers continued

South Sudan - Game 3 AFCON 2019 Qualifying
A game we expected to dominate and we did. We were in complete control all game, and this was a relatively easy win.

Benin - Game 4 AFCON 2019 Qualifying
Another dominant win in the AFCON qualifying. After this win we secured qualification to AFCON 2019. This group was expected to be easy, and it was just that.

Kenya - Game 5 AFCON 2019 Qualifying
Through out the second string squad since we had already qualified. We came away with a comfortable 2-0 win.

World Cup 2018

Warm-up Games
Took on some big teams in preparation for the World Cup.

Against Uruguay we actually should have won, but we did not take our chances and they stole the win late on.

Against Bulgaria, we were kinda poor, but we held on for the most part of the game, but conceded late on again to lose it 3-2.

Then came Holland and although we took the early lead, we were played of the park after that.

These friendlies sucked out a lot of the hope i had for this tournament, losing all three was so disappointing but these were only friendlies.

The big one begins

Game 1 - Switzerland
We came into this one, not expecting much. We took the lead early, and went defensive for the rest of the game. They had plenty shots but nothing of real note till about the 80th minute. First a one-on-one with Khune, he saved. Then a goal, which had me throwing things around, only to see it was offside. Then when it looked like we would hold on to the 1-0 win, they scored a last second goal, from a corner kick, and i was pissed. I almost broke my laptop in that moment. And it was most probably one of the most disappointing moments in my FM career.

Game 2 - Australia
We should have won here again.... They had more shots, but about 8 of the 12 was from range. We had like 2 one-vs-one's in the final 10 minutes but just could not put them away.

At this point Argentina had beating Australia, and then Switzerland went on to beat Argentina. Which meant that we needed to go on and beat Argentina to qualify for the next round.

Game 3 - Argentina
Came into this one, knowing we needed a win. I setup just looking to stay in the game, and hopefully snatch a late win. We held on for the first 50 minutes, and then they scored. This meant we had to go searching for 2 goals, and they ripped us apart after that. This one could have easily been 5 or more, by the end.

Overall a disappointing trip to the World Cup. If only we had beaten Switzerland and Australia, our trip could have been extended.
I am hopeful for the next World Cup though, as we do have most of our team being between 26 and 21 and hopefully by 2022, they should be matured and better players, seeing that a lot of them are playing oversees.

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