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[FM21] A career in Asia


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I've been playing FM for many years, but so far I have never tried a career in Asia. I played in Europe (of course), South America, North America, Africa ... but not in Asia. However, I had the opportunity to read on this forum about some exceptional careers that have taken place in this region of the world. Unfortunately, I'm not a good FM player, but that can't stop me from trying such a career. What are the objectives of this career ? As I said, I'm not a good FM player, so I only aim to play as much as possible and have some fun. Will I happen to win a competition ? Great ! Will I not achieve anything and, moreover, I'll be fired ? No problem, I'll look for another club and I'll try again.

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In terms of football, Asia "means" 47 countries, regions or territories. However, two of these territories (Guam and Northern Mariana Islands) are at a great distance, over 2000 kilometers (1250 miles) from the nearest Asian country, which is why I gave up selecting them. I also gave up selecting Yemen because in this country the national football league has not taken place in the last 6 years. So, I selected only 44 of the 47 possible options :

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So, 44 nations and 79 leagues. Quite a lot, especially because these are custom files and it is possible that such a large number of leagues will become difficult to manipulate for FM after a few years. However, I checked: I loaded all 44 nations and, in a test save, I played (on holiday) until January 1, 2027. There were no crashes or bugs, all the competitions worked very well. However, in order not to have troubles, after 8-10 years of career probably I'll begin to deactivate some of the less important leagues.

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Such a large number of leagues can be difficult to handle not only for the game but even for me. One of the reasons is related to the name of these leagues. There are cases in which the second league is called "premier league" or "first league", which can be confusing. For this reason I changed this names according to the following format: "(nation name, league level), league name", which helps me to differentiate between the first league and the second league. One more thing: I selected only the first league and the second league for each nation. I don't need the lower leagues because I don't intend to play with one club, but with as many clubs from different countries as possible.

List of leagues in the Asian database

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Even so, the database seems to be difficult to use. Too many leagues, too many clubs. For this reason, I will introduce some rules :

- I'll begin my career having a minimum reputation ("sunday league player") and without any coaching qualification.

- Based on the reputation of each league, I grouped the leagues into 7 categories ("levels") and I decided that at the beginning of my career I can be hired only by a "level 1" club (so a club that plays in a "level 1" league).

- When I'll leave the first club (whether I resign or I'm fired) I'll be able to play with a "level 1" or "level 2" club (so a club that plays in a league having "level 1" or "level 2")

- After 3 years of career I'll have permission to play at a higher level, meaning I'll be able to play with a club / in a league having at most level 3.
- After 6 years of career I'll have permission to play with a club in a league having at most level 4.
- After 9 years of career I'll have permission to play with a club / in a league having at most level 5.
- After 12 years of career I'll have permission to play with a club / in a league having at most level 6.
- I'm not allow to play with a level 7 club.

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So my first club will have to be a level 1 club, so in other words, it will have to be a 2nd league club in Tajikistan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Mongolia or East Timor.

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I started my career in December 2019 :

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However, in December 2019 almost all clubs in the 5 "allowed" leagues did not have managers. I could have applied to about 80 clubs. Way too many. The game need some time to "hire" managers for the more than 1,000 clubs in the database. So, I decided to wait, that is, to go on vacation until January 1, 2021.

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Lol, I'm a slightly better manager now, and that's without doing anything specific. Some of my attributes increased just because I was on holiday. It seems like a very interesting method to improve my professional skills, but still, I don't think I'll propose it to my real life boss ...

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I was wanting to get hired as soon as possible, which is why I immediately applied to all clubs available in leagues in which the season will start in the next 2-3 months (Myanmar 2, Cambodia 2 and East Timor 2) :

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I was immediately offered an interview, I introduced myself, we talked ... and I was hired :

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So, the 2nd league in East Timor. The league with the lowest possible reputation.

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Some details about East Timor. It is a country in Southeast Asia, somewhere north of Australia. As size, it's very similar to Northern Ireland (15,000 km2, 1.8 million inhabitants). There are two official languages: Portuguese and a local language, called Tetum (which was strongly influenced by Portuguese). As a consequence, players' names are similar with many usual Portuguese names, which is a bit surprising in a country located, however, on the other side of the world. The capital of the country is called Dili and, at national level, it's a very important city ... at least from the point of view of football, most of the clubs in East Timor being located in Dili or in the neighboring localities.

East Timor map - regional

East Timor map - national

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Football in East Timor. The competitional level is - of course - very low. There are no professional clubs, the national champion being a semi-pro club. Almost all clubs in the 2nd league (including "my" club, FC Nagarjo Dili) are amateur clubs. International performance? Does not exist. In fact, East Timor represents for Asian football what Andorra or Gibraltar represents for European football.

The Portuguese influence is obvious. There are clubs called "Boavista", "Benfica", "Academica" ... and even "FC Porto". My club, FC Nagarjo, is (in terms of reputation) the 15th club in the country, which, of course, does not mean much. In the 2020 season Nagarjo managed to position in 3rd place in the 2nd league table, which means that there is some potential, at least to try for a possible promotion.

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As I said, FC Nagarjo is an amateur club. It doesn't have its own stadium and plays on the municipal stadium in Dili, a stadium used by 9 other clubs (!!!). Club's facilities are, of course, extremely limited.

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Club's finances? It's an amateur club, so expenses (and income) are extremely low. Basically, this aspect can be ignored.

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The board would be satisfied with a position in the first half of the table. Personally, I would be satisfied with just a little more than that.

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In media prediction we're practically considered a mid-table team. We'll see ...

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Rules. We can bring in a maximum of 3 foreign players ... but it's hard to believe that "our great financial strength" could attract even one. A maximum of 27 players can be registered (why 27 and not 30 ? Or 25 ?). But the most unpleasant aspect is related to the very small number of games. The championship will end after only 11 rounds, so there will be quite long periods in which we'll not play any official match.

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As for the backroom staff ... we have. All its members are amateurs (including me, of course). But, in fact, we have everything I need. Assistant manager ... I have. HOYD ... we have. Goalkeeping coach, fitness coach, physio, scout ... we have. I dont't need more ... for now.

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We can register up to 27 players. In the senior squad we have 23, but about 7-8 of them seem (at first sight) not to deserve a place in the squad. In the under21 squad we have at least 5 pretty good youngsters ... but they are not enough to strenghten the first team. I will try to bring some players, although I do not imagine I'll find very good players willing to come to us. In any case, the very low level of the league suggests me to pay attention to physical abilities as they are the most important at this level. Also I will not ignore some important mental aspects (and first of all determination and workrate).

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Low team cohesion. It's good that it's just that. I hope it can be solved quickly with some friendly matches and specific training.

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The league will start in March and end in July. There will be a two-month break, then the cup games will begin. The cup will end in November, after which another break will follow until March 2022. Of course, no one guarantees that I won't be fired in the meantime, but if I somehow keep my job ... I already have a problem. The season is way too short, and a newbie manager wants as more games as possible. So, if I am not fired, I'll probably look for another club at the end of the league, regardless of whether the performances achieved with FC Nagarjo would be good enough or not.

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February (and early March)  2021

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Youth intake preview.

For now, this review it's a irrelevant. After all, who is FC Nagarjo? An amateur club whose reputation is similar to that of a club that plays in the 10th English League. Moreover, East Timor's national youth rating is 4 times lower than England's, which means that a club in the English 10th league will produce better youngsters than a club in East Timor having the same reputation. (by the way, I use Daveincid's megapack, and the national rating is lower than that default in the game). So ... what will the next intake be like ? Probably interesting, but not out of the ordinary. I'll see ...

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Transfers. We brought in only one new player. It's true, a very good player, in fact the only really good player who agreed to come to our club. Being an amateur club we could not offer him anything, but the guy was really willing to come to us because his former team (FC Santa Cruz) had just relegated from the 2nd league last season.

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Initially I set out to rely on players who have good or very good physical characteristics. Unfortunately, I have very few such players ... and the ones I have are weak in terms of the other important attributes. I don't think would be useful a player who has a good stamina and strength ... but extremely low determination and work rate. Finally I gave up major changes and I relied on the squad I found here, to which was added the newcomer Amora and 5 youngsters from under21 team.

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The team is based on 6 players who stand out in terms of quality: Gali, Gusmao, Ricardo, Amora, Alves, Golias. Unfortunately, 3 of the 6 are only 17 years old. Another problem: I have a lot of strikers in the team ... but I don’t have enough central midfielders. Which means I could use the 4-4-2 configuration, although, I admit, it's risky, because my wide midfielders don't seem to be good enough.

The best 5 players I've found here

... and Joao Amora, the 6th very good player

Under21 squad

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Friendlies.

We played a lot of games, no less than 10. We needed these games to check how is working the 4-4-2 configuration and to improve the team cohesion and morale. Surprisingly, we won 2 of the 3 games played against some 1st league teams (Benfica, Kablaki FC and Dili FC) ... but these were only friendly matches. League games will obviously be much more difficult.

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March 2021

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Wow ! Nice start of the season ! 6 points out of 6 and 8 goals scored in two games.

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I haven't been able to improve cohesion as I would have liked ... but it seems to be good enough. The team is playing very well anyway.

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April 2021

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Shi ... sorry. I shouldn't have been so optimistic. We played poorly and it's no surprising we lost both games.

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I don't like "short" competitions at all. A few defeats can turn a (possible) good season into a catastrophic one. Unfortunately, we only play 11 matches in the league ... and 4 of them have already been played.

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That's not well at all. Cohesion was being mediocre anyway, now even the atmosphere is not as it should be. I'll try to find opponents willing to play some friendly games. We have enough time, in the next 9 weeks we'll play only two league matches ...

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May and June 2021

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We didn't play much better ... but we got 4 points.

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We're lucky. We're not a very good team ... but our opponents aren't very good. If we'll be able to to win the next two games we have a very good chance to fight for promotion.

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That's better ...

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July 2021

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6 points, but in the first game we were extremely lucky. To be honest, during this game there were at least 5 cases in which our opponents preferred to shoot from a difficult angle instead of trying a pass to a teammate who was being unmarked in our box ...

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A very important game, AS Ponta Leste being our main opponent for promotion.

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Lol. We lost against the weakest team in the league, a team that in the previous 9 games had gained only 3 points and had not defeated anyone ....

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It's very clear now. If two teams have the same number of points the ranking is based on goal difference. To promote 100% we need to win the last game. We can also promote with a draw, but provided that the YMCA wins the maximum one goal difference. Or provided that Ultramar does not win.

Last round schedule

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YES ! We did it !

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Of course, we were very lucky. We are no better than the teams that missed the promotion. We were just luckier than them.

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Players' stats.

We have two very good youngsters in our team. Both were called in the U19 national team, and Gali (the goalkeeper) is a regular starter there.

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Like I said, we haven't been the best team in the league. Our attack worked quite well, but the defense was pretty weak. Fortunately for us, our goalkeeper is very good ... and opposing strikers missed quite a lot of clear chances to score.

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Everything is good and beautiful ... but I have a problem. The rules. At the beginning of this career I set some rules ... and one of those rules is ...

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- After 3 years of career I'll have permission to play at a higher level, meaning I'll be able to play with a club / in a league having at most level 3.

What is the level of the first league in East Timor? Level 3, this league being on the 75th place in the ranking of Asian leagues. What this means? That I'll leave FC Nagarjo before this team plays in the 1st league, that is, before February, 2022.  To be honest, I would have looked for another team anyway. As I said in a previous post, the first round of the league is in February (at the end of the month) and the last round in July. There is also the national cup, which takes place in October. So there are 5 and a half months out of 12 in which no match is played. Such a league that offers very few games is interesting in the short term, but not in the long term.

What options do I have? Until January 1, 2024 I'll only play in the "level 1 and 2" leagues, which means (sorted by the month they start) Myanmar 2 (January), Nepal 2 (January), Bangladesh 2 (February), Macau 2 (February), East Timor 2 (February, I've already played here), Cambodia 2 (March), Singapore 2 (March), Kyrgyzstan 2 (April), Mongolia 2 (April), Tajikistan 2 (May), Lebanon 2 (September), Oman 2 (September) and Sri Lanka 2 (October). We are already in August, so at the moment I have only two options: Lebanon 2 and Oman 2. I'll apply to clubs in these two countries.

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I applied. It was about 3 clubs and all those three clubs informed me I had not reached their shortlist or, in other words, they were not interested in my services. That's it. Now I have only one option : to try to get a qualification (license), so to follow the coaching course. I wasn't sure the Nagarjo board would accept my course ... but they accepted (yay !) :

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I didn't know if a possible resignation would mean the cancellation of my coaching course, so I refrained from applying to other clubs. I was going to wait quite a while (4 months) ... but it was worth.

In the meantime, I still had something to do in Nagarjo. The "12 de Novembre" cup (national cup) was to take place in October, so I had to prepare the team for this competition. 

...

We played two friendly matches ... then I calmed down. I would have been stressed in vain because in the draw our opponent was going to be Boavista FC, that is the champion of East Timor in the 2020 and 2021. Our chances of qualifying? Almost zero.

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And to make it as difficult as possible, our best players (goalkeeper Gali and striker Golias) were called up to the U19 national team exactly when we were going to play against Boavista.

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"12 Novembre" cup, 2nd round :

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That's it, at least we tried ...

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That's good for them ...

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... but I'm not interested in a new contract.

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January 2022

At 8.53 I was informed that I had got the "National C" license ...

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And 7 minutes later, of course, I resigned.

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On the same day I started looking for a new job. I would have been interested in a job at a club that would play in a league that would start in the coming weeks, so I applied to the 2 clubs in Nepal and the 7 clubs in Bangladesh.

Clubs looking for a new manager

First job interview offer received :

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Only 4 days were enough to reach the signing of the contract. My new club : Pulchowk SC Lalitpur, from Nepal.

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And a review of the various competitions that ended in 2021 (or even 2020 in the case of some continental competitions)

National competitions - Western Asia

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National competitions - Central and Southern Asia

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National competitions - South Eastern Asia

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National competitions - Eastern Asia

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Continental competitions - clubs

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Continental competitions - national teams

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