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FM22 - Jagshemash, subsequent save in Kazakhstan, the greatest country in the World.


ToMexico!!
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Don't worry, thats enough Borat for now. 

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Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan is the 9th largest country in the world and is located in Central Asia, bordered by Russia to the North, China to the East and Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to the South. It has an estimated population of 18.7m people and its captial is Nur-Sultan or more commonly known as Astana. 

Despite being a country based in Asia, its national team and domestic league teams ply their trade in UEFA ran competitions, which is why I am here. I want to bring an Central Asian influence to European competition, having previously played in Azerbaijan who are West of the Caspian Sea and play in European competitions and Turkmenistan who are East of the Black Sea but play in Asian competitions. 

Kazakhstan are a rich nation in relative terms and that shines through into their football teams, looking through some of the bigger teams, like Astana, they are paying some of their top players upwards of £15k p/w at the moment. 

I've chosen a more difficult task, although not the most difficult. 

FC Okzhetpes's logo

FK Oqjetpes Kokshetay

Or also known as FC Okzhetpes. On FM22 they start life in the 2nd tier of Kazakh football in the First League. They are a professional club who play their home games in the 4158 capacity Okjetpes stadium which is in the city of Kokshetay. 

Kokshetay (or locally known as Kokshetau, which means Blueish Mountain) is located in the North of the country and is around 190 miles from the capital. It is the 18th most populated city in Kazakhstan with roughly 146,000 inhabitants. 

This save is by no means purely a youth only save but will become a key part of it like any of my saves before it. 

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The club starts with fairly decent facilities for a club of its stature. 

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and here's where the finances fall in line with the country being quite rich. We have over £5m on the balance sheet, for a 2nd tier side thats incredible. Furthermore, the club have given me money to spend. 

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We won't be spending all of that money and there is no wiggle room in the wage budget, we will have to sell before we can buy for sure. 

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We are an ageing squad to say the least and we're spending some big wages of these old players, thankfully though, all but one players contract is up for renewal at the end of the season. This is a very unbalanced team and will take some time to sort out, we have 4 GK's, one RB of note, two CM's and no out and out strikers. I'm going to go with a three at the back formation in this save, as its not something I've done well with in the past. 

The young players we have in the squad are very poor and thats something we will need to address. We also have a reserve team, an U21 team and a U18s. 

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Our staff are quite poor but are the best in the league, overtime we will look to change these. A lot of them are youth driven which is good to see. 

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The club want me to sign players under the age of 23, which is fine by me. They want to work within the wage budget and only give 1-year deals to players over the age of 34. After this season, we won't have many players over the age of 30 let alone 34. They also want promotion to the top flight this season, which for a recently relegated team is also fine with me. Once promotion has been achieved the board would like us to stay in the top flight. 

We'll look at the squad next and the tactic we'll look at playing and where we need to improve. 

Edited by ToMexico!!
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The Tactic

I mentioned that I'd never had any success with a three-at-the-back formation before, I had more success with a 2-at-the-back with Astres or Ashanti Gold in Africa, I forget which one. And because of the introduction of the Wide Centre Back role, lets give it a go. 

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3-1DM-4-2. I still want us to be a positive team that looks to be quite direct with our play and counter when the opportunity arises. We also have qiute a few old(er) players in the team already, they are my best players but with age comes decline in the footballing world. I don't want us to tire ourselves out pressing the opposition, so we're going to regroup, be a strong defensive unit and force the opposition inside where our ball winning midfielder can make the initial attempt to recover the ball or one of the centre backs are get a 2nd bite at the cherry. This is by no means a rigid tactic, as we improve as a team, roles will change and we will become more adventurous as the seasons go on. 

I've selected the best players I have in the positions I can, lets take an initial look. 

  • GK - Ruslan Abzhanov - one of three first team GK's who are being paid handsomely. The youngest of the three, he will have the gloves to begin with. 
  • WCB - Dmytro Ryzhuk - recent signing from Minsk in Belarus. 28 years old and the first of 3 Ukrainians. 
  • BPD - Igor Duts - another new signing, this time from Rukh Lviv in Ukraine. Another Ukrainian national but younger still at 26. 
  • WCB - Vitaliy Goshkoderya - the 3rd and final Ukrainian CB, again signed this season from Metalist. Primarily a LB but can play CB. 
  • BWM - Guram Tetrashvili - by far our best player, signed from Tambov this season, hopefully the Russian will screen the defence. 
  • WR - Timur Zhakupov - a 2nd Kazakh but pretty poor, will do a job with his pace and determination down the right. 
  • AP - Sanat Zhumakhanov - one International appearance to his name, a well-travelled player who despite being 33 can play a number of roles. 
  • BBM - New Signing Needed
  • WL - Il'ia Kalinin - a right footed player on the left, the best we have at the moment. 
  • P - New Signing Needed
  • AF - Zhasulan Moldakaraev - primarily a winger but at 33 he'll knacker himself out playing there, up front he goes to take advantage of his finishing. 

So, there we have it our hardy bunch of ageing players who will start the season, we have players that can fill the two vacant positions but they're awful. We need to find some home-grown or Central Asian talent to come in a make up the numbers. 

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IIRC, they once qualified for Europe, despite finishing 9th in the Kazakh top division, as UEFA didn't allow some of the clubs above them a licence to play in European competitions (finances were poor IIRC), and the teams that would have entered instead, withdrew from the league.

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1 minute ago, robterrace said:

IIRC, they once qualified for Europe, despite finishing 9th in the Kazakh top division, as UEFA didn't allow some of the clubs above them a licence to play in European competitions (finances were poor IIRC), and the teams that would have entered instead, withdrew from the league.

Really, I've having looked too much into the history of the club, chose them because they had just been relegated, need a complete overhaul of players and the board expect promotion. 

I'll take a look and post some history. Thanks :thup:

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Brief History 

According to Wikipedia; 

The club was founded in 1957 and was called Torpedo, the club has been renamed multiple times over its history, including in six times in the 90's; Torpedo to Kokshetau to Kokshe to Avtomobilist to Khimik to Akmola for it to then revert back to Kokshetau in 2000. 2001 saw the club renamed again to Esil before being renamed again in 2004 to its current Okzhetpes. 

Its current name is taken from a cliff, 'Okzhetpes' , which means 'an arrow won't reach'. This is derived from the below tale; 

"Eighteenth century Kazakh ruler Ablai Khan could not decide which of his warriors to give a captive girl to and so allowed her to choose a husband for herself. She climbed to the top of the highest cliff and said she would marry whoever hit her shawl with an arrow. Nobody managed it."

Like @robterrace mentioned, Okzhetpes have previously played in Europe despite finishing in 9th place in 2008 Kazakh Premier League season. The club gained entry to the first qualifying round of the inaugural season of the UEFA Europa League because of the denial of licenses by UEFA and withdrawal of higher placed teams. 

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The above graph shows the club has been the Norwich of Kazahkstan of recent years, yo-yo-ing between the top flight and 2nd tier for a number of years. 

Edited by ToMexico!!
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Pre-Season & Transfers

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A good pre-season with just one loss to top league opposition in Qairat. 

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Just one player left and no one came in, I made a mistake in not noticing the transfer window are as follows;

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We have two deals agreed with players to come in, in July. So until then we have to cope with the squad we have at the moment. 

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10 hours ago, ToMexico!! said:

having previously played in Azerbaijan who are West of the Black Sea and play in European competitions and Turkmenistan who are East of the Black Sea but play in Asian competitions.

Unless you are talking about the Caspian Sea/Lake, then this doesnt make much sense. Anyways, good luck in bringing another horde to conquer Europe! ;)

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11 hours ago, Muttley84 said:

Unless you are talking about the Caspian Sea/Lake, then this doesnt make much sense. Anyways, good luck in bringing another horde to conquer Europe! ;)

I definately am talking about that one, trust me to not look at the map properly. Will edit now. Thanks :thup:

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2021 Season Review - Kazakhstan First League

We went into the season with an decent crop of ageing players, sprinkled with some poor quality Kazakh youth, I missed the boat on the transfer window which was already closed when the save started. Any signings we made had to wait until July to join the club. 

We developed a three at-the-back tactic for the season with a DM and four across midfield; primarily to use the wide centre backs but also to utilise the players we had at the club. 

Predicted to bounce back first time of asking after relegation last season from the top flight we had an indifferent start to the campaign, losing to early pace setters Qyran in the 3rd game of the season. However a 10 game unbeaten streak meant we kept in touch with them and briefly hit top spot until we lost the reverse fixture to Qyran again. July has come, the few reinforcements I signed joined and a seven game winning streak propelled us to the top of the table and...

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...promotion was secured back to the top flight. The title was secured without a kick of the ball as Ontustik akademiiasy failed to win. We drew the last game of the season to give the top of the table a closer feel but our work was done and the board were happy. 

We had a lucky run in the Kazakh Cup, reaching the semi-finals before bowing out to Tobyl. We beat Jetisy, Taraz and surprisingly Astana, albeit all on penalties after 1-1 draws

We made four signings this season but I lied about when one player joined, for some reason Belgian national Jorn Vancamp was able to sign for us in April.

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These signings were only made possible by us being able to sell Daniil Chertov who was on £3.3k p/w, we also managed to sell four other players who were on £100 p/w and with a slight budget adjustment to ensure we stayed within the wage budget to apease the board. 

Luckily the league isn't the strongest in terms of competition as we had a pretty poor squad in general, whether it was players age, which meant fitness/injury became an issue or the general quality of the squad namely the Kazakh players we had. Player of the season had to be Jorn Vancamp, who joined on a free transer, he scored 16 goals in 21 appearances in all competitions, if he had signed for us at the beginning of the season he would have probably scored 22-25 goals for the club. 

We lost a fair whack of money this season, around £2.5m in fact, mainly through wage expenditure but also because I made an upgrade to the youth facilities whilst we had the money to do so, that upgrade taking them to Adequate costing us just over £500k. 

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Squad Building - Nov 2021

With promotion confirmed the board have given our new budgets for the forthcoming season. 

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£1.1m to spend on new players and an increased wage budget of £77.5k p/w compared to £54.5k p/w this past season. Looking at the squad we're going to need to almost spend every penny of both budgets. 

We have 18 players' contracts expiring this month and I don't plan on extending any of them if I can help it. 

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Igor Duts is already leaving, no qualms there, although he was a starting CB in my back three. Our elder statesmen of Zhumakhanov, Goshkoderya, Tetrashvili, Nurmukhametv and Moldakareav all want star or important player status whilst not dropping their wage demands, despite all but the GK playing this season I bid them farewell and good luck on the rest of their careers. 

Kalinin had the joint most assists this season with eight but player one game less than his equal assister, his demands are also unfathomable according to his attributes, he will also leave. Zhakupov is happy to be a squad player but still wants over £2k p/w, he can sweat on it. Abuov, Leonov, Battalov and Aiankhan were bench fodder whilst French :confused: national Djabrailov is far too injury prone to be given a new contract. 

So...going into next season we have these first team players.

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Two GK's but I want rid of Baginskii as he's on £4.5k p/w, two CB's in Mihoubi and Ryzhuk, a left midfielder and three strikers of which Vancamp is the only competent one. We need to prioritise the following; 

  1. CM
  2. CM
  3. DM
  4. RM
  5. CB
  6. ST

And that's just for the starting line-up, we also need two further CBs with maybe one who could play DM, two MR/ML back ups and two CM's. Strikers we're fine with the back up's we already have. 

Luckily there are no limits to foreigners as finding Kazakh nationals/home-grown players with enough quality are hard to come by but I don't want to solely rely on foreign players to build my squad. 

 

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5 hours ago, ToMexico!! said:

Youth Intake Preview - August 

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I don't expect much from this intake at all, we have no one of note in either the U18s or U21s so these new players are being compared to no one really. 

 

Youth Intake Review - Dec 2021

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Now classed as an average intake. 

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Quite a poor intake first time up but our facilities are not the best at this stage of the save. Two or three players with decent personalities, both high potential are Unambitious and have poor key mental attributes.

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Nikita Levin | Maqsat Zhumabek

Spoiler

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Transfers - March 2022

With 18 players being released at the end of the season we needed to work quickly and build a new squad that was capable of staying in the top flight. Here's who joined below; 

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14 players joined for a grand total of £18.1k in fees. I'll pick out the best of the bunch. 

  • Mikhail Gaschenkov - joins from top flight team Aqjaiyq on a free, he will play in CM.
  • Zeid Ghrir - joins from Syrian side Al-Jaish for just £3.1k. He will play alongside Mikhail in CM but be the more creative player. 
  • Zoir Juraboev - joins from Tajikistan side Istiqlol for £13.5k. He will sit in the centre of defence.
  • Aslanbek Kakimov - joins after his release from 2nd tier Ekibastuz where he scored 19 goals in 20 games last season. 

Decent Kazakh signings were hard to come by this season, with most wanting silly money. We've signed far too many foreign players for my liking but staying in the league is the priority. 

Even with all these signings I've managed to keep the wage expenditure down, we're actaully spending less than we were last season at £43k p/w with another £33k left in the budget. 

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Job Interview Offer - August 2022

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7th placed Tobyl offer me the chance of an interview, judging by their players' wages they are probably in some financial difficulty and again they have an ageing squad with very few Kazakh players. They have former Norwich defender Timm Klose on their books. 

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2022 Season Review - Kazakhstan Premier League

Going into the top flight with nearly 75% of my squad as new players to the club I felt we could struggled but it was almost the opposite. We finished in 6th place of 14 teams which was an incredible achievement considering. We were on the cusp of finishing as high as fourth but losing the last two games of the season when injuries had caught up with us was disappointing but possibly would have been a step too far, too soon for this squad. 

Even with the likes of Aqtobe in touching distance (we lost to them on the last day of the season) was very pleasing, what will be difficult is catching both Astana (16 points ahead of us) and the Champions Qairat (28 points ahead) will be a difficult feat. For example Qairat's sponsorship income is £4m and their annual wage expenditure is just over £12m, ours is £2m at the moment. 

We also reached the quarter finals of the cup beating Aqtobe and Turan Turkistan before losing to Ordabasy.

We made two further signings this season to add to the 14 we had already made. 

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Both defensive players, Martynov slots in a CB and Azeri national Fischenko takes the DM spot, both signing from Russian sides. 

Jorn Vancamp continued his goalscoring form into the top flight, scoring 21 goals in 25(2) games, Kazakh striker Kakimov was the next top scorer with eight. Our most creative player was Syrian international Zeid Ghrir who made 11 assists from CM playing as the playmaker. On loan Ghanaian winger Joselpho Barnes made nine assists but won't be joining us again next season as I think we can find better. Maroine Mihoubi was the pick of the defenders for his consistent performances as a wide-centre back. 

We lost plenty of money this season mainly though wages and bonuses upon finishing 6th in the league. Our youth setup is only costing us £100k per season at the moment. However, all of that expenditure was overshadowed by £5m in prize money for finishing in 6th. 

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Squad Planning

We have six players leaving the team this season.

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Ayass spent more time on the injury table than being fit enough to play, thankfully he was only signed for a season. Both goalkeepers Baginskii and Abzhanov are leaving, despite both being Kazakh they have declined beyond first team ability. Tolegenov never got a proper chance in attack whilst Alex Jr. wanted to leave the moment he signed, I don't need his bad influence in the squad. Barnes did well for us with three goals and nine assists but I can find better. 

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Theres a few players who I want to move on, Gashenkov who is unhappy, wants a new contract but wants near on £5k p/w, at 30 years old no thanks. Zhakypbaev wants to leave due to lack of game time, again he spent more time unfit, than fit to play. I will look to renew the contracts of Ghrir, Mihoubi and Juraboev for sure, the rest are playing for new contracts. 

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These four have two more years left on their deals, I will probably looked to extend Vancamp's contract again this season too. 

Transfer Priority

  1. Goalkeeper x2 (first choice and back-up)
  2. LM
  3. RM
  4. CM
  5. ST

Ideally I would like to bring in some Kazakh players who are leaving the likes of Astana, Aqtobe and Qairat but their wage demands are way too high for me to consider signing them. Yes we have the money to spend on wages but I don't really want to break £5k p/w on any players wages at the moment. 

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4 hours ago, ToMexico!! said:

Youth Intake Preview - Aug 2022

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Another potentially poor intake, I think it will be many seasons before we see a first team potential player for us. 

Youth Intake Review - Dec 2022

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Its gone from a poor intake to an excellent one, go figure. The intake distribution is the same. 

Ruslan Tuikbai is an outstanding talent and with some postional retraining could become an important CM for us. Mentally fairly good already, his physicals will naturally improve and we can work more on his technical ability. 

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Overall the personalities are very poor and beyond Tuiakbai, only Malyshev and Timofeev could feature. 

Spoiler

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Transfers - May 2023

I'm a bit late with this, I got carried away and am six games into the new league season. Lets take a look at who I brought in. 

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Nine players in total for a roughly combined £550k. 

Anton Mitryushkin was the first through the door, we had no goalkeeper, so that was a priority. The former Spartak Moscow youth played for Sion in Switzerland, Dusseldorf and Dresden in Germany before landing the number one role for us. We did signed another goalkeeper, Erjan Tokotaev, on loan but he's since kicked up a fuss and gone back to his parent club in Kyrgyzstan. For the right wing we made the free transfer of Mohamadou Sumareh, a Malay/Gambian national who had left his former club Johor DT when his contract expired. 

We then began to spend some money, £18.25k first on Niger international Daniel Sosah from Belarussian side Isloch. He scored 15 goals in his two seasons in Belarus and had a decent start to life in Kazakhstan. Also signing on the same day was Samat Shamshi, a token Kazakh, he played for a few sides in his homeland before getting a move to Russia with Rotor. A new left winger joined next, Ibrahim Bayesh, for just £7.5k, an absolute bargain. The Iraqi winger joined from his homeland club of Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya, he's began his new football chapter with four goals and five assists in seven games. 

We then signed Luka Gagnidze on loan from Dinamo Moscow, we needed an extra bit of quality in midfield and he brings that. We have an optional future fee of £600k at Dinamo's discression but I don't see myself triggering a permanent deal. My last signing has to be my best and the leagues best, expensive at £500k but worth it. 23-year old Ognjen Ilic joins from Serbian side Radnicki 1923 to play the anchor role at defensive midfield, such a well rounded player, his agression could be higher but at least we shouldn't see many yellows/reds from him this season. He can also play, if needed, at left wing which I think where Radnicki were playing him because of his 17 goals for them. 

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2023 Season Review - Kazakhstan Premier League

With a better group of players to work with we made some tactical tweaks to make us more attacking but also defensively more solid, the changes were; DM to Anchor Man, AP to Mez, Wide Mids from Support to Attacking. We also looked to counter press rather than regroup and force the opposition on the outside instead of inside. 

These changes seemed to work as we scored more goals with 60 in 26 league games compared to 46 the season prior, despite the higher attacking output we also conceded six goals less than the previous season. We also had some good results this season drawing at home with last seasons runaway winners Qairat at home but we also managed to beat them 3-2 in their back yard and then smashed Astana 3-1 in the very next game at home. 

We actually ended the season just three points behind the winners, Qairat again, in 2nd place. Tobyl finished in 3rd place behind us on goal difference and Astana in 4th. 2nd place rewarded us with a place in the European Conference League. 

We're regressing in the Cup still, this time bowing out in the 2nd Round albeit at the hands of Qairat. 

Jorn Vancamp profited from our more attacking style with 23 goals in all competitions with 20 of those in the league which saw him finish as the leagues top scorer ahead of Krivenstev who scored 19 for the relegated Turan Turkistan. He was supported well by Nigerien Daniel Sosah who scored 14 goals as a poacher. Wide midfielders Bayesh and Sumureh did well from the wings, who both scored five goals but the former made 12 assists compared to the latters eight. The on loan Luka Gagnidze contributed well and I'm considering making his stay a permanent one, eight goals and eight assists from central midfield. 

Our finances decreased a lot this season, mainly due to wages at £2m spent, we also spent £600k on new players including another GK in September for an intial £60k. We also improved the training facilities at a cost of £300k and made an upgrade to the junior coaching. However, we received £7.25m in prize money for finishing in 2nd place, which means we end the season with just short of £9m on the balance sheet. 

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Defence - Nov 2023

Looking the at the first team squad there's one thing that really stands out to me, my defences average ratings. 

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The 7.27 rating is from a midfielder who has been included in the defensive unit. Without him just two players have averaged above 7.00. 

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The four highlighted players are the starters, which coincides with them being my best four defensive players and got the most gametime through the course of the season, averaging high 80's for minutes per game. The above stats show that even with Zoir Juraboev playing in his favoured central defender role he performed poorer than Mihoubi and Martynov either side of him. 

80% tackle success rate, making what must have been just 10 tackles across the course of the season whilst nearly making more fouls against than completed tackles. He was also poor in the air with just 64% of headers won with but he does have poor just 10 for jumping reach compared to 14 and 12 for the other two defenders and he's only a few centre metres shorter than them too. 

Its pleasing to see llic have the best tackle success rate and hightest headers won % which sees him operate as that defensive shield. His interceptions could be higher but we seem to win possession the most in his area of the field. I need to look at maybe pushing the engagement line forward more and reduce the amount of possesion regained in the area closest to the goal and reduce the defensive actions that are needed there too but that could be due to the lack of full backs and we're more susceptable to crosses because of it. 

So my main priority this close season is to find a tall, imposing centre back with better heading, jumping reach, can tackle more effectively, has better work rate and is stronger. Not much then. 

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13 hours ago, ToMexico!! said:

Youth Intake Preview - Oct 2023

I missed the message in August I think it should have been. 

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Youth Intake Review - Dec 2023

This was a poor intake as alluded to by the preview. Some better personalities, the top six were signed. 

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Recruitment continues to be within the borders of this great nation. 

Spoiler

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Transfers - Mar 2024

My main priority was to sign a new CB to replace Juraboev in the heart of the defence, we also needed to sign a right-mid. 

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Just two players signed and both were for the positions we needed. 

Ali Reynah was someone I courted the season prior but his agents insistence of having a minimum fee release clause was putting me off as it was for less than what I was paying for him. Thankfully his club now wanted less for him this time round and in he came from Syrian side Al-Ittihad for £275k. Unfortunately he still had the same agent and he insisted on a £425k minimum fee release clause, hopefully he will play under the radar and we can give him a new deal and either increase the clause or remove it totally. The other player to join was someone who was offered to me prior to his release from his previous club. Timi Ogunniyi is a Nigerian national who is equally as good at CM as a ball winning midfielder as he is at RM, my only gripe is he's a lefty on the right. He was originally at Sunshine Stars in his homeland but Latvian side Spartaks signed him for £9k, where he spent three seasons with some success. 

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4 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Love it, I thought about a Kazakh save last year although was mainly looking at Qairat or Almaty. Btw what are the registration rules like?

Thanks! There aren't any registration rules to abide by which is suitable becuase Kazakh players are either really poor or paid extortinate amounts by clubs like Qairat and Astana. But on the flip side having some sort of home-grown ruling would be good. 

I don't actually have any Kazakh players in my first choice XI at the moment. 

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Foreign Squads - July 2024

As I have alluded to above we don't have any Kazakh players in the first choice XI and thats not what I wanted to happen but when Kazakh players are being paid upwards of £10k per week to be a squad player for sides like Astana and Qairat I can't compete financially and I can find better players for a cheaper overall package in the foreign market. 

I've done a quick table to show the current starting XI selected for each team. 

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It shows that every team is there or thereabouts in the same boat, three teams inlcuding outselves have no Kazakh players in the 11 whilst the most is 4 at Ontustik which are a deemed an academy side and have plenty home-grown players just not very good ones. 

My aim in the save is to bring through Kazakh players from within my own academy intakes and make them first team players. I also want to bring Kazakh players home from foreign clubs if able to do so. At the moment there are just four players from within my recruitment package range that play outsde of Kazakhstan that are willing to sign for us if a bid was accepted. 

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Of those four players there are two that I would sign. However, we don't play with full backs so Zhumakhanov is a no plus I couldn't afford him anyway but Shushenachev could be an option if it was the at the lower end of his estimated transfer value. 

When we untick the interested in transfer option the number of players increases to 14. 

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Nuraly Alip stands out as I've previously scouted him but he's on £17.25k p/w at Lokomotiv Moscow and it wanted by Krasnodar and Spartak Moscow. Pavel Patrikeev is a player I'm going to keep my eye on as a potential signing, the young Kazakh came through at Dinamo Moscow in the 2021/22 season. 

Just a side note, I have obviously have Kazakhstan loaded but I also have England, Germany and Russia loaded as playable to the lowest level. Hopefully we can see some German and more Russian clubs poach/bring through Kazakh players ala Alexandr Merkel (who has now retired it seems in game). 

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2024 Season Review - Kazakhstan Premier League

This season the board expected just a top half finish from us despite finishing 2nd last season, I was expecting more of the same. We had the added interest of the Conference League this season though, we would need to manage the squad in the 2nd half of the season and compete both domestically and on the European stage.

In the league we started well, really well but still found ourselves behind a dominant Qairat side. Our first loss of the season came in game week seven with us losing 1-0 to Astana but we got ourselves back on our feet but drew three of the next four to see Qairat open up a small gap. Game week 12 saw us beat Qairat 4-2 with Vancamp bagging a hat-trick. July was fantastic with four wins from four including an 8-1 demolition of Ontustik. We continued unbeaten until game week 24 when we faced Qairat again and we were just four points behind them, Qairat got back at us though with a 3-0 victory ending our slim title hopes and sealing the title for themselves. We ended the season with back-to-back wins and cement our second successive 2nd place

Wins over Turak Turkistan and Ontustik saw us into the Quarter Finals of the Cup before Atyray beat us 1-0 to knock us out. 

I wasn't sure how we would do in Europe, albeit the conference league, we were drawna against Slovakian side Slovan Bratislava in the Second Qualifying Round. We hammered them 7-1 in the first leg away from home with Jorn Vancamp netting four for himself. We drew the return home leg 1-1 after some changes were made. Vaduz were next, possibly a more formidable opponent but we beat them home and away to win the tie 4-1 on aggregate, we had now achieved more than the board had expected. Austrian side Sturm Graz were next and the end of the road in our qualifying campaign for this season, they had players worth up to £15m. We weren't outclassed though, losing both legs but only to a 2-1 scoreline each. We received just short of £900k in prize money for the campaign. 

In the league we top scored with 58 goals which was nine more than winners Qairat and 20 more than Astana who finished in 3rd. We had the 8th best defence in the league conceding 28 goals which was four less than last season when we had the 5th best defence. I would say this season we had more injuries, wingers Sumareh and Bayesh spent time out whilst Vancamp spent 5 weeks on the sidelines in April/May. The injury didn't hamper Jorn Vancamp too much however, he scored another 28 goals in 29(3) games whilst his strike partner improved on his 14 goals last season with 18 this term, although I think we are due to sign a replacement for him. New signing Timi Ogunniyi rewarded us with 13 assists playing either RM or CM.

We made a further improvement in the quality of our training facilities at the cost of £600k, taking them from Below Average to Adequate. However, the board denied my from improving the youth facilities and both the junior coaching and youth recruitment further citing financial reasons. With prize money of £7m for 2nd place in the league I will look to convince the board upgrades will be worth it. 

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Player Unhappiness Upon Joining - Jan 2025

This is the 3rd time this has happened now initially with Haitian midfiedler Alex Jr. then with Malaysian winger Mohamadou Sumareh who upon joining were then unhappy and wanted to leave to immediately becuase they felt their international call-up chances were being hampered by joining us. 

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Discussing this with our latest player to become unhappy with the same issue I annoyed him even more and he wants to leave. It didn't effect the call-ups of either unhappy player before him. He's a Bissau-Guinean international and looking at their squad I think he will continue to get call-ups.  

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Transfers - Feb 2025

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Four players leave this window. 

Mihoubi left despite being a first team players, the Tunisian defender wanted a new contract that would have more doubled his £4k weekly wage. I refused and he got unhappy, £400k from Ukrainian side Desna, thank you very much. Opsanov was a youth player who actually found a team to go to. Tuiakbai (YP22a) had a fall from grace; from 5* PA to 3* PA at best, his contact was up Nov 2025 so to get £30k plus 50% profit is a good deal. Fischenko leaves on loan after a lack of gametime last season. 

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And 5 players join. 

Nigerian utility midfielder Timi Ogunniyi was wanted by a few clubs so thats why I opted to bring in another central midfielder in Moreto Cassama. Starting at Porto he moved to French side Reims before failing to win a new contract but as alluded to above he's unhappy because he thinks having signed for us his international call-up chances could be hampered. Also knowing that Mihoubi was leaving we opted to sign not one but two new centre backs to give us more options in defence. First to arrive was Danijel Loncar after his contact with Croatian side Osijek was not renewed, the defender can equally play at CB or his more favoured RB role which we don't obviously use. The second CB to arrive was Azadasher Al-Asaad, another young Syrian this time from Al-Karamah for £100k. At 18 years of age he has plenty of time to develop here with gametime and continental experience. 

We then spent relatively big on a new striker to replace Sosah alongside Vancamp. He was alerted to me by my scouts and I had to make a bid. Luckily Ernesto Sanchez had a foreign club release clause of £400k and his 52 goals in 60 games for former club Isidro Metapan only sweetened the deal. 7 goals in 19 international appearances too at the age of 18. Last to join was a Kazakh national from Astana, he was transer listed for £75k so it felt like a no brainer, Vladislav Vasiljev joined to be back up although we've had to pay a little more than I would have like wage wise. 

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8 hours ago, ToMexico!! said:

Player Unhappiness Upon Joining - Jan 2025

This is the 3rd time this has happened now initially with Haitian midfiedler Alex Jr. then with Malaysian winger Mohamadou Sumareh who upon joining were then unhappy and wanted to leave to immediately becuase they felt their international call-up chances were being hampered by joining us. 

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Discussing this with our latest player to become unhappy with the same issue I annoyed him even more and he wants to leave. It didn't effect the call-ups of either unhappy player before him. He's a Bissau-Guinean international and looking at their squad I think he will continue to get call-ups.  

The Plot Thickens

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:confused:  We haven't sold him. 

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We haven't sold him! 

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Apparently, we sold him to ourselves. :lol:                                                                                                                                 ^

This bloody game! 

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Youth Intake Review - Nov 2025

Labelled as a below average intake which is better than the previewed Poor intake. 

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We still have the same HoYD at the past three seasons but he's on a rolling contract until I can find someone better. My thinking is the intakes are starting to get better, we've improved the junior coaching once and the youth recruitment twice this season and we've had three players poached from us by Astana. 

We have one stand-out player from this intake.

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Aidyn Aripov will be labelled and looks a good starting talent with very good finishing along with good off the ball, composure and anticipation which are good attributes for a fox-in-the-box striker. 

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