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[FM22] West Afri-Can we bring newfound glory to the club? Chapter 1 - Liberia


corinthiano
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ECOWAS Member States | West African Health Organization

West Africa is made up by the 15 (or16) westernmost countries in Africa, with a total area of 5,114,162km2 and population of over 349 million. It was home to large empires such as the Gao and Mali empires before colonization by the French, English and Portuguese. In 1957 the first West African country declared independence and the list was completed in 1974.

The climate is heavily influenced by the Sahara to the north of its semi-arid region and the more tropical climate at Atlantic coast to the South. Whilst the official language in most of these countries is French, English or Portuguese, there are thousands of local languages originating from the local tribes.

All 15 countries are part of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), established in 1975. The large trade bloc provides not only economic and trading agreements, but also political and security ones.

The United Nations also includes Mauritania as part of West Africa, but as they are culturally more predominantly Arab and left ECOWAS in 1999 I decided to not include them in the save. You could also call this the ECOWAS challenge then :D

Why West Africa?

West Africa is a region that I personally know part of, having been to Guinea, Liberia, Ghana and Togo for work, which included living in Ghana for 3 years. I really enjoyed my time in Ghana and followed football when I lived there, which was passionately supported by the people despite the chaotic organization. I have wanted to do a West Africa save since I saw @DaveTheEditor's Around the Globe database but thought I would not have the stamina to do it right after a long Brazil save. After that was cut short though and realizing that the 15 countries run better on my laptop than the massive Brazil file I decided to have a go.

The Challenge

Similar to my State Challenge the idea here is to win the national title of the 15 countries in West Africa. Here however I will strictly follow the rule of only doing it with clubs that have never won the national title before. I did enjoy hopping around in Brazil but always enjoyed it more when I spent more than just 6 months at a club. This means this save will be long, but I am OK with that considering the variety of leagues included.

Just like the Brazil State challenge there will be an order to how I will attempt this, beginning with the lowest reputation league until the highest reputation league. This will be dynamic, which means that if a reputation in a league increases and surpasses another they will swap order in the save. I will have all 15 countries loaded at once so will not have to add/remove countries. One exception is that Ghana will always be the last country in the save, it is the spiritual home of the save and I may also attempt to win the Champions League with a club from the country if I still have the stamina for it.

The Manager

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Kojo Danquah is a 20 year old Ghanaian bron in Yendi with no badges or experience. The name was inspired by two things.

  1. In Ghana people have a name given to them depending on the day of the week they are born. Kojo is one of the variants for those born on a Monday.
  2. Danquah is a second name in Ghana from Akan origin meaning "Everlasting". Since Kojo will be very old by the end of this save I thought the name was appropriate :D

The Beginning

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The LFA-Cellcom First Division League in Liberia is ranked 69th out of 83 leagues in Africa, sandwiched between the Gambian Second Division and the D1 in Mauritania. Very excited to start in the first country I visited in West Africa! I will go a little bit into Liberia and football there before we attempt to join our first club.

Edited by corinthiano
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Chapter 1 - Liberia

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Liberia Map (Physical) - Worldometer

Liberia is a country in West Africa bordered by Sierra Leone and Guinea to the North and Ivory Coast to the West. The official language of the country is English but there are over 20 local languages spoken. There are around 5 million inhabitants in Liberia with the capital Monrovia the largest city with just over 1 million inhabitants. Monrovia is the only large city in the country with the next biggest city being Gbarnga with 56 thousand inhabitants.

Unlike other West African countries Liberia was not colonized by European countries. Instead it began as a project in the 19th century by the American Colonization Society, which believed black people would have a better chance at prosperity in Africa than in the US. Between 1822 and 1861 just under 20 thousand people relocated from the US and Caribbean to Liberia. An Americo-Liberian culture quickly developed and independence was declared in 1847, which was only recognized by the US 15 years later. Liberia is therefore the first African country to have claimed independence and oldest modern republic in Africa.

Americo-Liberians did not integrate well with the local tribes and held disproportionate power and control for over a century. This resulted in a military coup in 1980 in which the then president was killed, and began two decades of instability in the country. Two Civilian Wars followed, killing 250 thousand people and shrinking the size of the population by 8%. A peace agreement was signed in 2003 which led to democratic elections ever since. The current president is George Weah, former World Player of the Year and Milan and PSG striker.

Liberia is mostly covered by tropical rainforests which cover the rolling hills all the way across the north of the country, where the highest point of the country Mount Wuteve is at 1,440 meters.

The civil war left Liberias economy in disarray and despite growth in the last 20 years it has been hindered by poor infrastructure, a small domestic market and little trade agreements with other countries. Rubber and Timber are the countries biggest exports, with mining being explored since the end of the civil war.

Although tourism in Liberia is very unexplored, the country does have beautiful and is a great destination for surfing, with some hard core surfers travelling from all over the world to surf in Robertsport.

Robertsport - Liberia

Football in Liberia

There has not been a lot of footballing success in Liberia outside of George Weah, with the national team starting to compete in qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations in 1967 but only making the Finals in 1996 and 2002, failing to get past the group stage both times.

A national league was first created in Liberia in 1956, although little is know about the competition until 1963, when Invincible Eleven won the title. They are the most succesful club in Liberia with 13 league titles alongside Mighty Barolle. In the history of the Liberian First League there has only been one winner outside of the capital Monrovia, when Nimba United won the title in 2015. More recently LPRC Oilers and LISCR have been the most dominant sides along the now defunct Barrack Young Controllers.

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Both of these alongside Mighty Barolle are the highest reputation clubs in the country and the only three that start the save with a manager. This give Kojo a clean slate and an opportunity to get a job at a better side in Liberia from the off, which he will gladly take in the beginning of the journey.

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Edited by corinthiano
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  • corinthiano changed the title to [FM22] West Afri-Can we bring newfound glory to the club? Chapter 1 - Liberia

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Monrovia Club Breweries

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Monrovia Club Breweries is a Liberian club from the capital city of Monrovia. They were founded in 1990 as the football club representing Monrovia Breweries, the largest beer producers in Liberia, which are owned by the Diageo group. I have had their signature Club Beer so nice to have a link to the club :D.

There is not much information on the club other than them finishing third place in the top flight three times, most recently in 2017. They have also won the Liberian FA Cup on two occasions, in 2017 and 2020. They also seem to have beaten JS Kabylie from Algeria in the Confederations Cup 3-0 at home once, but were beaten 4-0 in the return leg.

They play their games at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia, a 25,000 seater stadium that I presume is government owned as quite a few of the larger Monrovia clubs play there, including bug boy LISCR and LPRC Oilers.

Antoinette Tubman Stadium - Submissions - sortitoutsi Backgrounds Megapack

Strongest XI

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The squad is very unbalanced with a few standout players mixed in with a lot of very average ones. It is clear strengthening the midfield will be a top priority.

Top Rated Players

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Is in the Media's First XI for the League and certainly looks like a solid player for this level that still has a few good years ahead of him.

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Also in the Media's First XI - great technical skills but is getting on a bit.

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Our other Striker and another oldie, our strike partnership will be a combined 71 years old!

Finances

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Losses were wiped out with the $84k sponsorship we have, which is the 4th highest in the league. We have a bit of wage budget left to strengthen the squad but not much.

Initial Fixtures

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We have just over a month before our league campaign begins, which gives us a decent amount if time to see if we can improve the squad and for the players to get somewhat familiar with my formation. We are predicted to be 3rd by the league so I would like to finish at least the best of the rest as the top two sides look to be a lot better than us.

I also though it might be good to show the tactic I will use for this save, it is the same 4-1-2-1-2 I used in the Brazil States save, that plays a patient passing game and has served me very well. I do also have a tactic to close out games but it essentially just changes some of the more adventurous roles and gets us pressing less.

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I'll report back at the end of November with hopefully some sort of initial success :D

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November 2021

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The gulf in quality in the Liberian top flight is huge. You have a handful of Professional clubs, a couple of Semi-Professional ones and some Amateurs all in the same league. No surprise that the games against the amateurs were easy as we are professional ourselves. Against LISCR though it was clear there is a gap between us and the top two sides as they dominated us and 3-1 was flattering on our side.

Transfers

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The registration window closed at the end of October and it was not enough time for us to bring a lot of players in. Massaquoi Boimah the only signing but a valuable addition in midfield.

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Next Fixtures

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December is a busy month with some good challenges against Mighty Barrolle, Invincible Eleven, Nimba United and Watanga, who are all professional sides. Think it will be telling as to how well we will do in the league this year.

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December 2021

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A very good month other than the draw against Sandi FC, where we absolutely dominated but just could not find a way through. At the moment it is us LPRC Oilers and LISCR fighting for the title and I dont see anyone else challenging. The only concern I have is that some of our crucial players do not want to renew their contracts, which will put us in a spot of bother next season.

Next Fixtures

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A massive game against LPRC Oilers before a mid-season break. The game will be crucial to determine our chances to win the title.

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January/February

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January was a poor month that put a serious dent in our title challenge, it is difficult seeing LISCR and LPRC Oilers dropping too many points and I dont think we can beat them yet. February was the proper mid-season break and also the mid-season transfer window, which was quite busy. 

Transfers

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7 players in and 3 out. I may be in a bit of trouble with the board as two outgoing transfers fell through on deadline day and we are now over the wage budget. We did manage to strengthen the team quite well though. We also signed a few players for the summer already to replace some of our stars that are refusing to sign contracts. My feeling is this will be a very different side next season, hopefully for the better.

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Squad player for now but looks promising.

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Experienced Ghanaian DLP, lets me play Koon further up the field.

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Solid, if unspectacular option in midfield

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Another Ghanaian brought in anticipation of one of our centre backs leaving in the summer.

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Completes the Ghanaian trio, very old but much better than having a 17 year old with silver stars.

Next Fixtures

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If we have any hope of winning the title we have to beat LISCR in our next game. We also travel so second division side Muscat in the Last 16 of the Liberian FA Cup, which the board expects us to reach the final.

 

 

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March 2022

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We continue to struggle in the league and now have competition for 3rd place, which is as high as we will finish. The game against LISCR was always going to be a tough one but losing to Nimba Kwado was particularly disappointing.

The FA Cup has been a nice distraction as we beat second tier side Muscat comfortably and got very lucky in the Quarter Final draw by getting another second tier side in Junior Professionals whilst LISCR and LPRC Oilers were drawn against each other. The Quarters are played over two legs, we should have won the away tie by more but taking a win to the home leg is not bad.

Improvements

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Got my first improvement approved by the board, they didnt agree to improve youth recruitment though.

Next Fixtures

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We are getting toward the business end of the season and I am hoping we can pick up our early season form again and finish strongly as well get through the Semi Finals of the FA Cup.

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7 hours ago, vara said:

i like this! well done on your progress so far. the obscurity in the project is very interesting!

good luck!

Thanks! Yes, part of the fun will be playing in countries I have very little knowledge of!

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April 2022

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We are back in form in what was a good month. We are still fighting with Watanga for fourth place as LISCR and LPRC Oilers are out of reach. In the FA Cup we got lucky again as we were drawn against Mighty Blue Angels in the Semi Final, with LPRC Oilers playing Invincible Eleven in the other Semi-Final. The home leg win puts us pretty much in the final, which is great to get to in the first year at the club.

Next Fixtures

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We finish the league with a couple of very difficult fixtures. Third place might be defined on the last day against Watanga so its a good thing we can rest players in the FA Cup two days before that.

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