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[FM22] Ultimate Challenge with a Few Extra Rules - 14/32


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Posted (edited)

Introduction and Personal Rules

Here is where I'm going to document my Ultimate Challenge more in depth and offering regular updates on the other page. I'm going to do it a bit differently to the others. Instead of fighting to go to the biggest team every time, I'm going to aim to do it using teams from (if possible) the second division of a nation. For example, I go from the second division of South Africa to win the Premiership and win that title. The same in the major nations. If I go through the US or Canada, that will obviously not be possible.

Another stipulation is that I cannot manage an International and a Club team at the same time. Hopefully, this makes for more variety in the teams I get with some more likely to be relegated or promoted than others by going longer into the future. I find building clubs more enjoyable than moving from one Super Club to another but other people feel a different way and that's fine.

One last rule and it probably won't make much of a difference since I'm starting with a second tier team. But the team must not have won the Champions League or the league. So no teams like Nottingham Forest or Kaiserslauten. No Everton in the second tier to name a couple.

Summary Graphic

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Thread Summary

Spoiler
Season      Country           Team                      League                  Position         Best Cup           Continental    Notes and Achievements
2021/22   South Africa     Polokwane City        GladAfrica Championship          3rd        Preliminary Round          N/A        Third Period Winner and Qualified for Playoff Mini League
2022/23   South Africa     Polokwane City        GladAfrica Championship          1st          Second Round             N/A        Won the title
2023/24   South Africa     Polokwane City           DStv Premiership              5th            Winners                N/A        Won the Telkom Knockout
2024/25   South Africa     Polokwane City           DStv Premiership              3rd          First Round            Finalist     Won the MTN 8
2025/26   South Africa     Polokwane City           DStv Premiership              1st            Winners              Winners      Won the title, Telkom Knockout and CAF Confederations Cup
2026/27   South Africa     Polokwane City           DStv Premiership              5th            Winners              Winners      Won the CAF Super Cup, Champions League, Telkom Knockout, MTN 8 and the Nedbank Cup
2027/28     Senegal       Senegal National               N/A                      N/A              N/A                  N/A        Won the African Championship of Nations with the B Team
2028/29     Senegal       Senegal National               N/A                      N/A              N/A                  N/A        Won the African Cup of Nations
2029       Argentina     Gimnasia (Mendoza)         Primera Nacional             18th              N/A                  N/A
2030       Argentina     Gimnasia (Mendoza)         Primera Nacional              5th          Quarter Final            N/A        Promoted by winning the inter-league playoff vs Argentinos Jnrs
2031       Argentina     Gimnasia (Mendoza)     Liga Profesional de Futbol       11th           Sixth Round             N/A
2032       Argentina     Gimnasia (Mendoza)     Liga Profesional de Futbol        6th           Fifth Round           Winners      Won the Copa Sudamericana
2033       Argentina     Gimnasia (Mendoza)     Liga Profesional de Futbol        1st            Winners              Winners      Won the Recopa Sudamericana, Copa Libertadores, title and the Copa Argentina
2033/34     Mexico            Mineros             Liga BBVA Expansion MX          7th              N/A                  N/A
2034/35     Mexico            Mineros             Liga BBVA Expansion MX        1st/1st         Semi-Final              N/A        Won the Apertura and Clausura Double
2035/36     Mexico            Mineros                 Liga BBVA MX              5th/2nd        Second Round             N/A        Won the Clausura
2036/37     Mexico            Mineros                 Liga BBVA MX              5th/5th          Winners              Winners      Won the Campeones de Campeons, Campeones Cup, Copa MX, Liga MX Clausura and the CONCACAF Champions League
2037      South Korea        Anyang FC                 K League 2                 9th              N/A                  N/A
2038      South Korea        Anyang FC                 K League 2                 1st          Second Round             N/A        Promoted by winning the league
2039      South Korea        Anyang FC                 K League 1                 2nd            Winners                N/A        Won the Korean FA Cup
2040      South Korea        Anyang FC                 K League 1                 1st          Quarter Final          Winners      Won the league and AFC Champions League
2040/41     England       Chesterfield FC          Sky Bet Championship           7th           Fifth Round             N/A
2041/42     England       Chesterfield FC          Sky Bet Championship           6th           Fourth Round            N/A        Promoted via the playoffs
2042/43     England       Chesterfield FC             Premier League             20th           Third Round             N/A        Relegated.
2043/44     England       Southampton FC           Sky Bet Championship           1st           Third Round             N/A        Promoted as Champions
2044/45     England       Southampton FC              Premier League              1st            Semi Final             N/A        Premier League Champions
2045/46     England       Southampton FC              Premier League                                                               Community Shield winner

Challenge Progress

Club

5/10 top domestic leagues (2025/26 DStv Premiership (Polokwane City), 2033 Liga Profesional de Futbol (Gimnasia (Mendoza)), 2035/36 Liga BBVA MX Clausura (Mineros), 2040 K League 1 (Anyang FC), 2045/46 Premier League (Southampton FC))

4/10 domestic cups (2023/24 Telkom Knockout (Polokwane City), 2033 Copa Argentina (Gimnasia (Mendoza)), 2036/37 Copa MX (Mineros), 2039 Korean FA Cup (Anyang FC))

4/5 club continental championships (2026/27 CAF Champions League (Polokwane City), 2033 Copa Libertadores (Gimnasia (Mendoza)), 2036/37 CONCACAF Champions League (Mineros), 2040 AFC Champions League (Anyang FC))

0/1 club world championship

International

1/5 continental tournaments (AFCON 2029 (Senegal))

0/1 world tournaments ()

 

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Posted (edited)

 

Forewood

I've started this journey loading a few leagues from around the world I think they might take a chance on some randomer from the South of England as well as the Main 5. Countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, South America, Mexico and Peru would probably help my cause. Going for a European club feels like it would be a waste of my time since the road to that Champions League is so long. I'm not expecting Mexican clubs to take a chance on me so I won't hold my breath with them. Peru would give me some geographic proximity to Mexico if that is how my story goes. Honestly, I'm just in for the ride at this stage. If anything looks promising, I'll be in for it.

I've gone for Adaptability since I'm hoping they'll overlook my current flaws. Then again, the rest seem to develop more easily so it makes sense going in for this one. If I can knock out a few badges pretty quickly, I'm not sure they'll mind.

The Job Centre

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As it stands, this is how the job centre looks. On a normal day, I'd look at clubs like Izarra and Woking since they're a good way to start my career. However, that's not the aim for now. Persija is in Indonesia's top division so I'm not even sure they'd go for me if I wanted that role. Looking at Tshakhuma, they seem to be a wholly new club with a completely blank slate. They've got a squad so it's not as blank as it could be. Their history is limited with only one minor honour as a previous club. I've applied for that job.

As for the Indonesian clubs in League Two, RANS and Persekat are Semi-Professional and RANS look like they've won minor leagues and their Wikipedia says they've gotten promoted in this season. The same is the case for the two Professional clubs in Persiba and PSPS. Maybe a quick promotion is on the cards for teams like Persiba and RANS but I'll apply to these four as well to get my foot in the door.

Quickfire Update

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I'm surprised that they've responded so quickly. It's only been 24 hours so I'm hoping I can choose my options more wisely. South Africa's season hasn't started yet so I've got more time to evaluate a squad there. In Indonesia, they've started their season but only in the first phase so far.

I HAVE A JOB!

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PSPS from Indonesia had initially offered me a role at the club. Since they were the worst Indonesian side, I pushed for a delay to see if the other opportunities would come along and give me a better springboard to progress as a club and manager. Fortunately, my preferred option of Tshakhuma approached me. I wanted this role since it's the easiest opportunity to move to a club in a league with a realistic opportunity to win their Champions League which I didn't think was entirely realistic in Indonesia.

Now the hard work begins. 

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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  • SaintsFCFan7498 changed the title to [FM22] Ultimate Challenge with a Few Extra Rules
Posted (edited)

MEET THE TEAM

The way I evaluate my squad is not far off how shaunvamos does in his Moneyballing series. I find it allows me to more easily understand how the squad should perform in their role and how scouted players would fit into my team. Rather than eyeballing attributes, I find it gives me a better understanding of how they should perform. Like he has, I've used it in my saves to pick up some hidden gems so don't be surprised to see some unusually cheap signings where I find them and they're of value to the team.

Squad Scores

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Onto the squad, one thing I find to be an issue is that I've inherited an ageing squad. With an average First XI age of 28.3 and an ageing or weak backline, the Half Back is intended to further provide defensive solidity. Thopola is our best Centre Back and our best Right Back. That combined with him being in the Media Dream XI does give me some hope. However, there are depth issues at Right Back and I feel like the Half Back would be enough to provide defensive solidity. Although Dzaga isn't stunning, I'm hoping an extra body is more important with the relative lack of talent.

Central Midfield is the usual story. Although they're 27 and 28, I'm hoping they're good enough to do a job before we can replace them. The Mezzala is something I also like to include to provide a surprise in the box. I had considered a narrow diamond before I looked at the Wingers. But a 21 year old with that relative quality is something I have to use. Whether he's somebody I build the team around or somebody I look to make money on, for the short term he's our youngest option in the team by a while. The same goes for Matete who looks like he possesses enough quality to be able to turn games around. Fortunately, our attack is topped off with somebody of quality, too. With the concerns in the midfield, you can probably understand why I've opted for a more direct style of play. Bypassing the midfield wouldn't be an awful avenue to try.

The Tactic

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With this team, I'm looking forward to the new season. We're 13-1 to win the league. However, with the league so tight in terms of odds, we are only 10th. Now to prepare the team for the season and try to find some guys to elevate this team.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Posted (edited)

Well that didn't go well.

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It didn't take long for me to be sacked. Results weren't fantastic and the team massively turned against me. I was about to post an update for the end of October having played 11 games but it wasn't to be. With an ageing squad, I was caught out by the requirement to start three U23 players. Only one was up to quality so that weakened by squad. We were in the early stages of injuries piling up with Matete having been injured for a while. We weren't as bad as the tables showed,

Unfortunately, we're out of a job with no badges and I've just realised I've forgotten the Editor Data for the Real Name Fix so I'm trying again. It's not like I've lost anything so the next update might be before this one in game but it will be fine. I'll probably sim forward to the first of November to get a better rotation of jobs.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Posted (edited)

Part 2: Actually Got The Files Boogaloo

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Now I've actually got the Editor Data files for the Real Name fix, I holidayed to November 1st since that's where I got to in the initial playthrough. I got nowhere since I got sacked. I removed the Top Division Clubs and this is what I get. I'm not going to the depths of Spain since that won't help me progress in this challenge. If I was looking for a UEFA Champions League only, I would be more likely to take that role. Of the roles available, Polokwane City is the only one I'm happy to go with. I have Peru, Canada, Mexico, Indonesia and Malaysia as well as the big 5 on this run but that's the only club of those which makes sense to bother going for. They were established in 2011 and have been in the Top Flight before. However, they're 16th so it would be a difficult season if I were to get it.

Getting the Interiew

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I got an interview at Polokwane. Since they're so hopeless, they'll be desparate and I can probably think I'm likely to get it. However, a job at a midtable tide came up with Jomo Cosmos. When writing this, I've checked their history and they won the Premiership title in 1987 so that makes them ineligible for me to manage. It's unfortunate since Polokwane are miles off the 15th placed team. A second tier team from Mexico also sacked their manager. However, they've also won an Apertura in the top tier so they're ineligible.

I Got The Job

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So I've got the job. The league table isn't as dire as it looked and I delayed it once to see what other opportunities would take me. Since I hadn't had an interview and they rejected a second delay, I'll take this one. Hopefully, there's a chance of me getting them out of the relegation zone and me not messing up with the league rules. The team got their first win of the season in their last game so avoiding relegation is possible. The board say for me to avoid relegation but I'll be sacked since the third tier is unplayable.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Squad Discussion and First Game

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Looking at my first 11, there's definitely room for them to grow. Fortunately, I've inherited a squad with two Under 23s in first team contention in Box to Box Midfielder Thobejane and Shadow Striker Thopola. That meant I only had to shoehorn one player into the team which is Central Defender Masebe. Although Majingo is 23, he's barely too old to fill that quota. Haoseb does seem a solid defender but since his score is 63.79, I'd rather give Chembezi the run of games to be with the squad for the longer term.

First Day, First Game

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I was hired at 12:17 that afternoon and kick off was at 3pm. I didn't have much time but for being at the club for 2 hours and 43 minutes, I'll take that. A goal on the half hour after some chances for Richards Bay wasn't ideal. The highlights made it feel like we were in for a long day but the stats say we had the outright majority of the ball so preventing counters is the first plan. Before that, they had a ball in which hit the post twice before being blocked by one of our players. However, a good chance through a free kick meant Thopola was through on goal and we scored. I was happy at the time. Then a penalty on the 70th minute was converted by Tlolane. After the game, I got a message saying he had a goal drought which we ended so that's good news. Unfortunately, they had a clear chance which was converted by Mngomezulu in the 82nd minute. Considering they were 2nd before this game and we helped in dropping them to third, it's not a bad result.

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Out of the Nedbank Cup

Only one league game between our first and the Preliminary Round of the Nedbank Cup. Fortunately, we ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over 12th place Cape Town All Stars. A low cross into Tlolane set up the opening goal in the 28th before a defender slid it into their own net after an outside the box shot hit the bar and it was finished off by Nku in the 38th minute. It was a comfortable game. Although they had some highlights, it wasn't an issue. That's 3 points on the board and into 15th only two points off 14th and safety at the halfway stage of the season.

Cup Game Stats

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As you'll see from our 3 xG, you could probably say we deserved that win and the highlights showed it too. Although we went 1-0 down in the 27th minute, I wasn't concerned as we were comfortable. It was their first shot on target of the game so we just needed two goals and we'd be through. However, we just didn't score. 33 shots probably says something about us racking up small amounts of xG through poor shots than anything but we were still on top. The injuries to Burds and our left back Goss meant it was 10v10 with no additional sub in Extra Time like in Europe.

Tlolane equalised in the 41st minute then no goals until the 103rd minute when they score out of what seemed like nowhere. Their shots weren't building, they didn't have anywhere near as many and the highlights stopped coming late in Extra Time. However, we can just concentrate on the league than be in a cup I'm not expecting to win. So that's some bonus.

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Good Form Gives Us A Chance Of Playoffs

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If you take a quick glance at the schedule, there's a lot of green in January and February.  Since the midseason break, the team has been unstoppable. They've played well and no goals conceded in the three games in February as well as three wins highlights that. Despite managing here before in FM21, I completely forgot about the periods. All eight games through January and February meant that we won the third period. It doesn't count for anything to begin the journey but it does show we're making positive progress.

Third Period Winner

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League Table

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The league table is good reading right now. In the third period, we finished with four points more than anybody else. If we can keep that up going into the final period and 8 games of the season, there's a chance of the Playoff Mini League against the other Playoff team and the team second-bottom of the DStv Premiership. Since we're 11 points off Tshakhuma, I'm counting that out unless they have an absolute capitulation but second with this run of form after being last would be a great achievement.

Definitely going better than the other attempt where I forgot the Editor Files. In this tactic, I've gone more aggressive and it's clearly worked. Though being aware of the U23 requirement has helped me stay on top of where the squad actually is compared to the absolute best ability.

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Posted (edited)

The Coaching Badges Update

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In a coaching badge update, the board's main concern was initially about training which required that promise. I now have my National C license which helped with Managerial Support which was my main issue despite the results we were getting. Fortunately, with that badge done, I've also been allowed to do the National B license. My plan is to get as many of these done as possible. Hopefully leading to a top African, Asian or North American International job depending on when the competitions are.

Spoiler

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Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Posted (edited)

Polokwane City reach Playoff Mini League as Wilson earns new contract

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Before the last game of the season, the board gave me a new contract. Clearly going from last to third isn't an achievement they ignore. However, for the final day, to assure the Playoff Mini League we needed match JDR Stars' result and hope Black Leopards didn't have a massive goal difference swing if both teams lost. Fortunately, we won so all of those don't matter. Despite being unbeaten across those 8 games with three draws, we didn't win the Fourth Period because Tshakhuma finished off their title season with one more point than us. It's not something I pay too much attention but it helps give an understanding of form throughout the season.

Premiership and Championship Tables

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As of writing, I'm on a date when it's not assured who we're playing. However, for us to not play Royal AM, Golden Arrows need to lose by a minimum of 9 goals at a first glance so the group will likely be us, Royal AM and Cape Town Spurs in the Playoff Mini League. Since it's only four games, it feels like they're both Cup Finals for us to be promoted with the priority on the Home games.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Mini League Plagued by the Wrong End of Tight Results

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Royal AM and Cape Town Spurs were beatable. Being beaten by such margins is annoying where you know you'd have beaten these teams earlier in the season. When we lost the lead to Cape Town Spurs, I went full attack knowing if they drew both games and we won our last game, we'd have a chance. They did draw both games and we beat Royal AM but going more attacking gave them more of a chance to make it 3-1. Any win wouldn't have kept Royal AM up as they needed to win by 2/3 goals.

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End of Season Thoughts

The board are expecting mid table next season. That's reasonably achievable and I'm sure we can do that. Based on this season, it would be fair to go more for the Playoff Mini League again. This season, we just lost form for those final few games and that continued into the mini league. It was winnable if we just didn't lose out in the tight games. With few improvements and the potential lack of a runaway team like last season and we can win the title.

There's a little bit of quality searching that needs to go on since 35 year old Jembula has retired. It's a shame but, for me, he was a bit injury prone. Obviously, that means I have to find a Winger. Preferable if he was U23 so we can more easily meet that quota. 

The overall scouting and recruitment fan is on the 16-23s and filling in the missing slots lost out from Jembula. Evaluating the transfer market, there are some good players who we can sign and stay within the wage budget.

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Mixed Offseason with Missed Opportunities

Team Overview

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As said in the previous post, the plan for this Transfer Window is to improve the team where possible and increase our U23 options so they can develop over time. In areas, I think, we've done that. With some good other signings and I hope they do the goods in the league. There are some changes I'd like to make. Improving on Dillon Goss and replacing the ageing Tlolane will be looked at whenever possible. Thopola has aged out of the U23 group so we only have three instead of four. Ideally, I'd like more and a good U23 replacement for Goss and Tlolane would be great. Especially since they're areas I'll look at for an energetic player to push past players.

The loan signing of Bilal Baloyi is probably my best signing. It's a loan but I'm happy with the quality it looks like he'll provide. We improved the team in some areas we needed to. Sandile Dlamini is a good signing for CAM when it turned into Thopola being a good driver to move to Right Wing since nobody standout wanted to come to the club. Unlike last season, we don't have the issue of needing to swap in an inferior player because of the U23 requirement and I'm happy with that. 

I did look around for an improvement on Tlolane. He was second highest goalscorer in the league but his age and drop in ability has concerned me. Motumi is another since he could retire at the end of any season now.

A 24 year old goalkeeper was on the cards but he turned us down to go to France. I can probably understand that one. If anything, I'd say that he would have been a good option for the team with space to improve. We made some other signings on that idea without the absolute ability at this stage but that's fine. They'll develop in the youth and reserve teams.

Preseason Odds

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The preseason odds definitely show we've improved our squad so I'm happy with that. The two relegated teams from last season are the two favourites to go up. Hopefully, neither are dominant and we've improved our team enough to launch a title challenge. The Royal AM games last season showed we weren't far off that level. Hopefully, we've improved the team enough to take us to that level where we can beat them over the course of a season.

I'll return at the end of the First Period after 8 games with an update on how it's gone and with some signings if they come in.

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Unbeaten First Period Gives Polokwane City a Title Chance

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An unbeaten first 8 games gives Polokwane City the First Period title. A collection of comfortable wins and good results against one of the favourites for Promotion in Marumo Gallants despite throwing away a 2-0 lead in the second half. A good variety of goalscorers including outside the box shocks from Puleng Tlolane and Muhammad Carrim. Compared to last season, the team were bottom with only four points. So an improvement by 16 points is impressive. The second period included a few games where I was at the club so we got 8 points but there's still a definite improvement. To put it into perspective, with that first period, the team would have won the league by four points.

Squad Evaluation

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As said in the last update, I was looking for some improvements to the squad. Somebody I was looking for was a younger option for the DLP at CM since Motumi was starting to get old and I need to look at the future for the club. Fortunately, Thibedi was available so I trialled him and it became apparent that he'd be an improvement to our team at that position. It also brings the average age of the team down by about 0.9 which shows us off as more a youthful team than the one I arrived with.

Another aim I wanted was to look at replacing Tlolane. If you look at the fixtures, you'll see Shungu Dutiro. In terms of score, he's pretty much exactly on par with Tlolane and being 23, it helps that there's room for him to improve. My plan for him is to bring him on as a sub fairly regularly for some legs since Tlolane has been a one club man with 234 appearances. Next season, without an improvement from outside the club, Duitro will likely become the main man up front.

Those signings have brought us to a 9-2 odds to win the title and I'd say that's fair. There are still some weakpoints in Goss but he's played well and I think we can still improve this team but we don't need to unless somebody arrives with incredible ability.

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Polokwane City Continue to be Unbeaten

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In September, I've gotten my coaching badge for the National B. Immediately, I've tried to ask the board for National A but the board haven't seen this thread and are worried I'm going to leave. Shortly after, they gave me a new two-year contract which I accepted. However, the option to ask for a coaching course hasn't reappeared yet.

League Information

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6 wins and a 0-0 draw vs Jomo Cosmos meant we're still unbeaten and won the £25k for winning the Second Period. Performances continue to be good. The only few moments of shakiness we've had are when we initially took the lead and were 2-1 down after 30 minutes but a late first half turnaround meant we led at the break. The only other risk was when JDR Stars took the lead on 51 minutes and I brought on De Jager and Dutiro in response to ignite the attack so we were 2-1 up within 6 minutes.

The only non-league game we had was in the Nedbank Cup with the Preliminary Round we lost to Black Leopards last season. There was no issue as we ran out 3-0 winners with a 4.0xG. There was a slight concern when we didn't convert outside of a penalty in the first half but Dutiro was brought on since we were comfortable and got a brace.

Player Stats

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I don't normally show this but since we're doing so well in the league, I wanted to show off how well we were performing. Topping the Goalscorers and Clean Sheets show we're impressive overall and cleaning out the Average Rating does prove we're successful because we've earned it.

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Polokwane City lose Unbeaten Record but Progress in the Nedbank Cup

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Overall, you could say it was a good third period. Only losing one game and extending our lead at the top and I'd completely agree. That loss was unfortunate with a couple of injuries to U23 players requiring a few different names in the starting XI which weakened our team. We weren't too bad considering we lost through an 89th minute goal. I was more worried about the next game since we drew 1-1 to a TS Sporting team we had already beaten 2-0 and 3-0 earlier that season. For the rest, I'm happy. There's good progress being made and the squad is impressing. The lack of depth at left back is an issue but it's somewhat manageable for the time being.

In terms of the Third Period table, Cape Town All Stars had an All Star third period going unbeaten and three points ahead of us. Good for them but it means we've got 7 games to not throw away a 3 game lead meaning we have to win 4 games and it's done because of our far superior goal difference.

In other news, we played a side that were 5th in the Premiership in the Nedbank Cup and we were comfortable. We went 2-0 up before halftime when Tlolane added a third. They brought a goal back which made me worry for a moment but they never kicked on beyond that and Manjingo added another in the late stages. In the next round, we play TS Galaxy for a spot in the Quarter Finals. They're also in the Premiership but lower in the table so I'm hopeful. Of the big teams, Kaiser Chiefs were drawn against Cape Town City and knocked out, Orlando Pirates knocked out SuperSport United and 2nd placed Stellenbosch lost to Swallows. If it goes our way, there's a chance but I'm not counting on it.

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Posted (edited)

Polokwane City win the GladAfrica Championship

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After one and a bit seasons of playing well in the GladAfrica Championship, it took 26 games for us to win it. In the last game, Royal AM and Cape Town All Stars dropped points in separate fixtures to get us the league earlier than the four wins we needed having only two and a Cape Town All Stars draw. I'm happy we've done this after the short time and last season, I feel like I'd have been annoyed if we hadn't been promoted this season. After a few games, it felt like we'd not make much of a meal out of this and we've gotten 63 points. More than Tshakhuma did in their title winning season already. With only one loss, I'm comfortable with this team for the next season. Hopefully, we can extend the Baloyi loan.

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We lost in the Second Round of the Nedbank Cup. In the early stages, we were the worse team but the more the game went on, I felt like we deserved a goal and maybe even Extra Time. It's a shame but it gives me good hope for next season in the DStv Premiership. Cape Town Spurs went up via the Playoff and are currently 12th. We can beat that quite comfortably, I feel like.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Posted (edited)

One Loss Prevents Unbeaten Season as Polokwane City Dominate the League

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We won the final quarter of the season on only 15 points from 7 games but I didn't really care, to be honest. We missed out on the record points total held by Wits with 71. Slightly annoyed we messed that up in the penultimate game since it would be nice to get but I'm not that fussed. The team performed well but Tlolane stopped scoring as much when we won the league so missed out on Top Goalscorer but I'm happy we got a number of other awards. Clean Sheets highlight how we haven't lost games and Assists highlight why we've scored so many with such a good Goal Difference.

In terms of around the leagues, Chippa United are the Premiership team in the playoff with the teams from our division. Tshakhuma avoided that position in the late stages of the season to comfortably avoid relegation. The other team to go up last season in Cape Town Spurs finished 13th. Based on that, I feel like this team can get Top 10. We've been on par with the Premiership opposition we faced in the cup and we'll be improving this team with new players and refreshing the squad where we can.

On the squad, I've already signed a couple of free transfers with a Left Back who appeared in the last couple of games of the season in Mojaleda Ntsane. He'll likely be our first choice left back when the season starts. We've also signed a 20 year old striker in Olefile Ramatilo. With Tlolane ageing, I think it's time to move him to a lesser role at the club and appear less often. He's served well for the club over the years both in real life and in game. I don't want to move him on but he is accepting less money on a contract.

End of Contract Signings

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In terms of other free transfers, we have made a few, younger, signings on End of Contracts. We need depth in certain areas including Centre Back and SuperSport United want to try Baloyi in their first team. I can completely understand that since he's one of the best in the league and deserves that shot. I'd have taken him for multiple seasons but I don't have that option now. We've replaced him with Nombula from Swallows. He looks like a good acquisition and somebody we can develop. He's 20 so fills that U23 quota for a few seasons. He isn't quite as good as Baloyi but even if we get somebody better in, he adds depth which we desperately need.

The same goes for Hlangabeza. He looks to be a solid player from evaluating him and I'm expecting him to be around Thopola's quality. If he is, he'll be another to cover the U23 quota. Callum Thompson is a guy I took a punt on since he's U23, free and in the South Africa U20 squad as the first sub so there's a chance he might come good. There's pretty much no risk.

The board are expecting me to be in the Relegation Playoff next season. What we've done will show that we can do better than that. The aim is to improve the overall quality where possible as well as key areas including Goalkeeper.

Coaching Course

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The board have now allowed me to go onto another coaching course. National A would be a good benefit with a new contract and in the Premiership. It won't be done in time for the new season but it's never a disadvantage.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Posted (edited)

TS Galaxy Offer Job Interview

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TS Galaxy 12th in the DStv Premiership offered me a job. If I hadn't been promoted and I was doing this normally, I might take them up on the offer. But we're already at Polokwane City and we already have a good project going on too. Obviously, I didn't apply for the job. So that's a straight rejection.

Sundowns do the Same

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Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Season Preview Time

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The odds have us down in 14th. It's not all bad since we're shown to be around the quality of the promoted teams from the first season. At 450-1, it shows we've got a long way to go but I've overperformed the odds so far. To be assured of the CAF Champions League, we need to finish top. If we don't, then it's second for the Confederations Cup if one of the Top 2 win the Nedbank Cup. Though to make it slightly more confusing, Sundowns finished second and still got the CAF Champions League so I don't know anything.

This season, there's a new competition in the Telkom Knockout. It's only for top division teams but it counts for the Ultimate Challenge. Outside of giving us an extra chance, I don't expect it to be any easier by requiring fewer fixtures to win it.

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The closest we've come to a solution to the ageing and not that good Sixhaso is the Peruvian Jhonny Vasquez. I pinched him from Peru's Under 20s since he didn't have a team. I trialled a couple of people using that but he was the only one that fit any sort of potential or current quality. He's not quite there yet being 19 but he's scoring at a 54 which isn't bad for a backup goalkeeper.

Outside of that, I looked into a lot of players but none of them would elevate the team like we had last season. Late in the End of Contract signings, I found Thabang Molaoa who's on the same skill level as Baloyi was which is fantastic. I was looking at somebody better than Carim but he went to a Championship team which is annoying.

In terms of the rest of the squad, there isn't anybody who would massively elevate the team that I could feasibly get. My main focuses are on the Right Back and Striking positions to up the skill level. Since Ramatlo fills a U23 quota, I'm not massively worried about him since he'll improve. Hlangabeza looks to be a great prospect I got on an End of Contract.

As with last season, if there are any other incomings, I'll update them around the First Period or if we have a good run in the Telkom Knockout.

 

EDIT: From going into the first game, I've now realised there's no U23 requirement. Which is fine. I'm always going to look at the younger players since we're the underdogs and need to progress somehow.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Polokwane City sign Aidan Mfulwane for £200,000

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I thought I'd make a post for this kid. He's great and he's also the first monetary signing of the series. I know it might seem like a lot of money. But a 16 year old who's likely going to be a big money spinner if we remove the release clause makes this a great investment. I found him by chance, really as I was checking through my spreadsheet then sorted by score and saw this kid at Jomo Cosmos who looked incredible. He's already played 30 times for them and at this level with so many greens make him somebody we could win the Champions League with.

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I was initially going to slot him in as the B2B Central Midfielder but comparing scores, the decision became clear. Since Mfulwane was the better DLP at 75.30 and Thibedi was the better B2B midfielder at 68.86, it makes complete sense just to put them in at those positions. Seeing how much he improves this team already makes me a little excited for what he can do. The issue is his 550k release clause to foreign clubs. I feel like that would be removed quickly if we can't get a new contract to him.

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Polokwane City Reach the Telkom Knockout Final

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Normally, I'd start off with the league. But this is no normal update. In the first time of asking, we've reached the Telkom Knockout Final. It wasn't an easy run in the competition with tight games in all three prior games against TS Galaxy, Amazulu and SuperSport United. A 72nd minute winner from 20 year old Olefile Ramatlo was the only goal in a tight game with TS Galaxy, he then scored the only goal against a league leading Amazulu side who were second best. For a while, it felt like we'd never score against SuperSport United despite outclassing them. They took the lead in the 10th minute and from then on, the goalkeeper caught everything until Sandile Dlamini scored in the 38th minute then the turnaround was complete through (now) 17 year old Aidan Mfulwane in the 43rd minute. We were comfortable and on top in that game. It was thoroughly deserved with it being a question of a bigger win.

Midtable in the League Could Have Been More

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Normally, I'd show off the First Period. But despite having completed 8 games of the season, only 7 of those counted for the First Period so I'll show you the overall table instead. Results have been great. If anything, I felt we deserved more than we've overperformed. The opening three games against Golden Arrows, Kaiser Chiefs and Orlando Pirates feel like we've lost 5 points. Golden Arrows scored a fluke in the first minute which caused us to chase for the whole of that game. We lost despite a 1.54xG to their 0.8. In the Kaiser Chiefs game, we were 2-0 up on 24 minutes through a Ramatlo brace but a 93rd minute equaliser cost us two points. Orlando Pirates was more a game of we were better and we just gave away a penalty.

Fortunately, we bounced back with a comfortable win against Baroka and a clean sheet against Stellebosch. Tshakhuma was simple with a 2-0 win. The loss to TS Galaxy was annoying since I felt like the team just didn't push themselves. Amazula can count themselves unlucky with this one. Neither team reached a 1xG but we scored 2 goals. I count that as payback for the Kaiser Chiefs result.

The Board Give Me Another New Contract

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The board called me into a meeting to discuss a new contract. They offered 3 years and I was happy with that so I accepted. I had over a year left on the deal they gave me last year but I'm happy to take a raise and other things.

Some other more minor updates. I've gotten my National A License. However, with the amount of fixtures we've had, the board aren't willing to let me go for the Continental C yet.

Aidan Mfulwane has a few more South African U23 caps as he was called up to the CAF U-23 African Cup of Nations. He played all three games since they were knocked out in the Group Stage but won against Morocco. They were knocked out in a three way tie between themselves, Morocco and the Ivory Coast. South Africa were knocked out in that Head to Head by one goal scored. Gutting but it meant we got him back earlier.

My next update will likely be the Telkom Cup Final which takes place in mid-December. Before then, we have four games to play so it won't be for a while yet.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Polokwane City WIN the Telkom Knockout Final

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With that win, we've completed the first of the 32 parts of this challenge. In our second full season, we've won the Telkom Knockout against Orlando Pirates. The scoreline makes it look more easy than it was. The ball pinging around the box from a Thobejane cross eventually fell to 20 year old Hlangabeza for an open goal to make it 1-0 for the result at half time. I was happy with that. We were on top and comfortable. Orlando Pirates never really got started in that first half but I expected it to come.

A fantastic low through ball from Left Back Ntsane put Thobejane through one on one to make it 2-0 in the 55th minute before a corner gave Orlando Pirates a chance only 5 minutes later. What followed was a steady increase in xG for Orlando Pirates but nothing enough for a highlight until the 85th minute when substitute Thopola brought an Orlando Pirates player down on the edge of the box. I feared what was going to follow it but it was a comfortable save by Sixhaso. The highlight felt like an age to happen but what eventually happened was a through ball to Thopola when one on one with the goalkeeper to make it 3-1.

After that, we shut up shop planning for no more highlights. Then one came. SIxhaso was passed the ball and punted it down field. Ramatlo judged his run perfectly to make it yet another one on one with the goalkeeper and 4-1 in the 92nd minute. I didn't think there was any coming back from 3-1 down but 4-1 just made it even sweeter. 1/32 with the Telkom Knockout. Onto whichever comes next.

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  • SaintsFCFan7498 changed the title to [FM22] Ultimate Challenge with a Few Extra Rules - 1/32
Posted (edited)

Positive Second Period Gives Polokwane City A Chance At Continental Qualification

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A good Second Period from Polokwane City propels them into Continental Contention. Young goalscorer Ramatlo has been amongst the goals all season and is topping the charts with 14 goals. However, he is considering his options at the club since he's in the last year of his one-year deal. Wilson has repeatedly attempted to negotiate a contract but has been currently unsuccessful. With his success in the league, you'd think he would be eager to sign but apparently not.

In terms of results on the pitch Polokwane City had a chance of winning the second period on the final day. Anything except what happened would have clinched it with their goal difference being superior to the Kaiser Chiefs. Outside of that, despite a busy December, Polokwane picked up four Clean Sheets in a row with three being wins. The only exception being a 0-0 draw against 2nd placed Sundowns. In that game, Polokwane City were second best but scraped a draw. The team endured a frustrating 1-1 draw vs Cape Town Spurs in the game after the cup final where they were on top enough to deserve a win. They ended the month, and the last game before the January break, with a comfortable 3-0 win over struggling SuperSport United.

In the Third Period, we'll see the quest for a cup double begin with the Nedbank Cup. Where we begin with a game against Championship side Jomo Cosmos and the former team of Mfulwane. 

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Mixed Results Keeps Continental Qualification Alive

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To start the period, a poor loss to Jomo Cosmos set the tone for some of the results here. Youth prospect Callum Swartbooi gave the rotated side the lead at the Peter Mokoba Stadium. However, a 94th minute (of 94) equaliser for Jomo Cosmos gave them a chance then they took the lead in the 11th minute of Extra Time. We were poor that night and I rotated too much since it was three days since the Tuesday game. We were on top. We just didn't do enough so that's the Nedbank Cup off the list already.

In terms of the league, great results against Kaiser Chiefs, Stellenbosch and Baroka were really overshadowed by poor performances. Orlando Pirates were just better. We were better than Tshakhuma and went more attacking after going 1-0 down. They didn't deserve anything. TS Galaxy was a similar story. We destroyed Cape Town All Stars but we just couldn't score. What didn't help was losing league top scorer Ramatlo and our right back in the first 15 minutes of the TS Galaxy game.

Even after dropping points, we're still 4th. We've still got to play Amazulu so those 6 points can easily become 3 and we can get 2nd.

The next update will be the end of the season since we're not on course for any milestones.

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5th Earns Polokwane City CAF Confederations Cup Place

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On the face of it, it's a good season. We won the Telkom Knockout to win the first cup of the challenge and we've gotten 5th in our first season in the DStv Premiership. However, it feels like we had too many games where we didn't take advantage of our momentum and threw away points. Personally, I feel like the goalkeeping and defense was more the issue in that games rather than Ramatlo up top. Annoyingly, Ramatlo is considering his options so I'm currently not sure who will be up top. The current plan is to have Dlamini up top with Thobejane moving back into the middle in the Shadow Striker role.

Frustratingly, despite being our top goalscorer, Ramatlo has decided to not extend the contract. That's frustrating so we're now on the lookout for a striker unless Dlamini comes up with the goods. Even if he does, one injury and that's it. We've got no backup since Duitro decided to do the same thing. We're blind loaning guys from Nice's B Team since we can't scout there. Since they're our parent club, there's no risk anyway because they're free.

On End of Contracts, we've reduced a couple of issues. In place of the ageing, and declining, Luthando Sixhaso we've looked at a replacement who I think will improve for the long-term. He will be 20 year old Cape Town City backup Luca Diana-Oliaro. He'll be the Number 1 as it stands. I identified him since he was the first feasible option between the sticks. Sixhaso fell to a 59.30 in terms of Sweeper Keeper on Attack score and has declined over the season with mistakes becoming more prevalent. Diana-Oliaro is a 60.21 which is a reasonable improvement for a player who will improve over the next few years.

He's not the only one I've brought in on End of Contracts. With the question marks surrounding Ramatlo and Thobejane's suitability in the CAM role, I identified two Wingers who will improve both sides and improve the depth options at each position. Monty Balthabane is a 21 year old who will join from Sekhukhume United who is a left-sided Winger. Although he was relegated from this division two years ago, he seemed to be under-appreciated by the team since he's only played 9 times per season. I'm aiming to rectify that and further his development. I intended to sign another 21 year old. However, he signed a contract extension for a year at Amazulu. Therefore, I went looking around and found somebody who never played a game in the league in 24 year old Kgotso Maloka. He'll be our starting Right Winger and aim to prove Baroka wrong by not playing him at all.

In coaching badges news, I've finally been allowed to do my Continental C license which will further my development as a coach and improve my attributes.

In terms of first team candidates from the youth teams, we have a starter in Callum Swartbooi who will partner Molaoa next season. He's improving quickly and I've not realised this as quickly as I should be. He's only 17 so there's a lot of room for improvement. That will mean Carrim will move to the bench as a solid backup. We'll need him with more games in the MTN 8 and the CAF Confederations Cup. He's Namibian and has been called up to their senior team.

This is how the team looks as of the 1st of July. It's an even younger team than it was before. 23.1 is a ridiculously young average age for the squad. That's before we try again with the Right Back. We have 14k space in the wage budget we can move around to sign some unhappy or Transfer listed players. That's the plan since we're not buying wonderkids much at this level.

Spoiler

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Posted (edited)

Polokwane City head to Namibia for CAF Confederations Cup Tie

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In our first continental competition tie of the save, we head to Namibian side Ramblers FC in the preliminary round of the CAF Confederations Cup. Should we win that, we'll go on to play the winner between Chad's Gazelle FC and Uganda's Uganda Revenue Authority. (Yes, that is their actual name.) Those fixtures will be played in September when I will update you.

In other news, we've been drawn against league winners Orlando Pirates in the Super 8. I'll update if we get to the final of that but it's not even an important competition for the Ultimate Challenge if we hadn't won the Telkom Knockout last season.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Polokwane City Win the MTN 8

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The third trophy of Wilson's tenure at Polokwane City came against the Kaiser Chiefs when substitute Monty Batlhabane slotted past when one on one with the goalkeeper to make it 1-0 in a low-energy game. We could probably get rid of the MTN 8 or make it a preseason only tournament. It's just added four fixtures and three of those caused further congestion to the start of the season. 

Thanks to the fixture congestion caused by the unnecessary MTN 8 and the Preliminary Round of the CAF Confederations Cup, we've struggled in the league. Injuries and fatigue have been the key issues of the start of the season so far which leave us down in 9th after 6 games and 8 points off the Kaiser Chiefs at the top. We won 11-0 over the two legs and my misunderstanding of the Squad Registration meant I couldn't fully rotate to keep First Team legs fresh.

Anyway. Enough of me complaining. We're in the First Round of the CAF Confederations Cup where we play Uganda Revenue Authority FC. We should win that comfortably. Which leads to the question of why we're even in this first part of the competition. 4 games we could use with rest games and the minnows fight it out for this part where their rest comes when they're knocked out.

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Polokwane City draw Sundowns in the Second Round of the CAF Confederations Cup

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Since the draw isn't seeded and we can play anybody, we sometimes have to face difficult opposition at an early stage. In the Second Round, we face fellow DStv Premiership side Mamelodi Sundowns. We comfortably beat the Uganda Revenue Authority 3-1 over the 2 legs. We weren't in any real danger but we couldn't score at home and they scraped a draw. That's in the past now as we have to beat a reasonably good team. We haven't played them in the league yet.

In terms of our history against the Sundowns this season, we already beat them over 2 legs in the MTN 8. Despite drawing the Home leg, we won the Away leg 3-1. 

After this, we'd finally get into the Group Stage which is different to a normal (UEFA) Champions League/Europa League.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Polokwane City Beat Sundowns to Reach the CAF Confederations Cup Group Stage

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After 6 games, we're finally at the Group Stage. Through an easy Preliminary Round, potential banana skin First Round and a 2-0 away win against Sundowns mean we've qualified for the Group Stage. We face Salitas FC from Burkina Faso, two time CAF Champions League winners in 1988 and 2014 in ES Setif from Algeria and CAF Champions League in 2000 and CAF Confederations Cup in 2004 winners in Hearts of Oak from Ghana. Now we've gotten this far, I didn't expect an easy group and I don't think we have it.

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6 Points off the Title Gives Polokwane City a Chance

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Since I forgot to do this during the January break and hadn't posted a league update in a while, I did this after beating Orlando Pirates 2-1 in the first game back. With the fixture congestion, I feel like our team has been hit by it quite badly. Our lack of depth in key areas has been our downfall with us having to go a bit WorkTheSpace with the Left Winger being replaced by another CAM with injuries to both players who can. I did use some youth there for some games but I feel like I was throwing some of them in at the deep end. Especially with them getting some poor ratings as a result.

Even then, when we have games with one day break in between them, it gets a bit ridiculous. If I could opt out of the MTN 8 and the Telkom Knockout, I'd do it in a heartbeat. In the first half of the season, it opens games up for league games. Probably the same with the Nedbank Cup. But I can't. Despite the insanity of Saturday-Monday-Wednesday-Saturday, we had a pretty good month in November with good results. That's where I feel like we're starting to gel as a team and maybe the title is possible.

If we win the CAF Confederations Cup, it's nice but not something I care about that much. Though beating Sundowns when they sacked their manager the day of the first leg is quite a fun proposition. Then they offered me an interview. Obviously, I declined that.

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Polokwane Progress Comfortably in the CAF Confederations Cup

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We did a great job in the opening four games to progress in the CAF Confederations Cup with three wins from our first four games which ensured we qualified. We lost the final two games but that doesn't entirely matter since I put out a rotated side for both. They were largely comfortable wins and the draw was more us missing chances and them taking theirs than scraping a point. Rotating the team was purely to be able to use them in the league games where I wanted to qualify for the CAF Champions League.

In the next round, we'll play Club Africain of Tunisia. I'm expecting every game from now on to be a step up from what we've had before. There are two other South African sides in Maritzburg and Orlando Pirates. Ideally, I'd like to avoid them mainly for variety reasons.

Fortunately, we were able to register those we signed later in August so Shelembe and Abiola were able to feature. It's definitely helped with the ability to rotate and use the squad where I wanted to. 

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Polokwane Reach CAF Confederations Cup Final

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A fantastic and nervy Second Leg for Polokwane City mean they reach their first African final. It wasn't without drama with a 94th minute penalty sending them through after being 1-0 down since the 2nd minute. No Extra Time was needed with a 2-1 win at home sealing the tie. This competition doesn't count for the Ultimate Challenge and it doesn't qualify us for the CAF Champions League, either. Ultimately, it's a pointless competition in hindsight. Doesn't mean I don't want to win it, though.

In the Quarter Final, it was a reasonably comfortable pair of games. A tight, but deserved, 2-1 win vs Club Africain was completed in the second leg with a 2-0 win.

To win the competition, we'll need to beat Egyptian club Pyramids for a fascinating game at an otherwise unused stadium in South Africa.

DStv Premiership Nearing the Close

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Looking at the fixtures, it's unlikely we'll win the title this season. They need to drop 7 of the remaining 12 points so I'm not expecting that to come to fruition this season. However, we have a realistic chance of third with a game in hand over Royal AM and a final day game against them. With these fixtures, they're fairly reasonably winnable and I'm comfortable.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Polokwane City lose CAF Confederations Cup

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This one hurts. We were there but we were just second best all game. What didn't help is the lack of help from the league by scheduling a game mid-week. The Nedbank Cup was the day before so I'm glad we threw that early on because fixture congestion would have been even more hellish. I had pledged not to manage in South Africa after the same issues back in FM21 when I did a Hexagon Challenge. This just reaffirms it's just a nightmare place to manage.

In terms of the game itself, we were second best as I said. We were given a lifeline when we equalised in the second half but it only lasted a few minutes. Pyramids deserved the win, no doubt.

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Polokwane Achieve Third in the DStv Premiership

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Overall, you could evaluate us as a team who continued to punch above our weight despite the difficulty of the congestion of fixtures with the CAF Confederations Cup where we reached the final. However, it feels like we threw away chances to make the CAF Champions League. To improve on our points total by three and improving the squad should be seen as a good thing. I'm happy with how the squad has developed and grown and the aim is to stay on top of those who are looking to leave because they're pretty good and stay on top of contracts before they decide to consider options.

I'm honestly, not entirely sure if we lost out on a spot because we failed to win the CAF Confederations Cup or not. The rules for it say how the winner qualifies for the CAF Confederations Cup. However, Sundowns finished third and qualified for the CAF Champions League. What I'm guessing is, and just realised, is they qualified through winning the CAF Champions League. Meaning we have to finish Top 2 in this congested league to have a chance. Which kinda makes pushing for the Confederations Cup pointless unlike Europe where you win the Europa League and are rewarded with a Champions League place.

Since I've pushed through to July with the confusion around the CAF competitions since they're not shown in the league table, I've realised Mfulwane is in the last year of his contract and wants to move to a bigger club. He's better than us so I understand and we lost out on Swartbooi. The plan is to move him on with some money and future sale and hope they offer him back on a loan for the year. Otherwise, we're letting him go for free as well.

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Polokwane City Predicted 11th in the DStv Premiership

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We're at 100-1 to win the league. Earlier in the pre-season, we were at 50-1 so I think Orlando Pirates have signed a couple of players to take them to that level. The aim is to take that next step this year. The team is definitely continuing to improve and Shelembe scored a lot of goals last season. If we reduce the amount of injuries and focus more on the league and further improving our points total, we can pass the Kaiser Chiefs or Orlando Pirates.

We sold Mfulwane since I wanted to get some money for him. He went to Juventus but they offered him back on a free loan which is fantastic. We're going to get the same length of deal but with confirmed money coming in. If he gets sold by Juventus, we get 40% of that. Considering his value skyrocketed as a result of the move, I'm absolutely hoping they do sell him.

We've already played one game against Golden Arrows and won that one 4-0 with a first half where we scored 4 goals. It was a very good result and I'm happy with how we played.

In other competition news, we lost to Sundowns over 2 legs in the Semi Final of the MTN 8 so that won't affect fixture congestion too badly and we beat Young Africans in the Preliminary Round of the CAF Confederations Cup.

The First XI

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I should add a disclaimer that I haven't improved the squad massively and given them all 20s. I've changed how I see the number so it's how they compare with a player of full 20s. Since that's impossible, I think it helps differentiate between smaller increments more easily.

The main additions you'll see are at Centre Back where we've signed Mahlangu and Cupido. Cupido was on a free since he was released by Cape Town Spurs. Mahlangu was a transfer for money from TS Galaxy. We spent the £275k since he's only 23 and an improvement on both players from last season. For reference, both of these would have scored 70+ when both Centre Backs last season ended around 68. Hopefully, these will provide a good improvement on last season.

I've decided to look at increasing the age of the squad since I think I went too far in the way of youth and it's hurt us in regards to fatigue and injuries.

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Polokwane Play Salitas FC Again in the CAF Confederations Cup

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Salitas FC from Burkina Faso return to Polokwane City for the Second Round of the CAF Confederations Cup. Last season, we played them in the Group Stage where they were fortunate to get a draw then squad rotation meant they ended the group unbeaten against us. The aim is, of course, to progress as the board are expecting a return to the Group Stage of the competition. With a better plan and squad for the competition, I feel far more prepared than I was last season.

Encouraging First 7 for Polokwane City

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I say First 7 since, for some reason, we've only played 6 games in the First Period so far. Outside of the Amazulu game, I think the results have been a fair reflection of the games. The Amazulu game was a low xG affair but they scored with everything. Neither team played well enough to win. Cape Town Spurs was a dry game where not much happened and Orlando Pirates was a tight game. The same for Sundowns. If anything, we lucked into a win that neither deserved to lose.

In the CAF Confederations Cup, we played rotated teams against weaker opposition. Since there's a decent amount of fixture congestion prior to the first leg of the Second Round, I'll do the same there but the squad should be reasonable for the second leg.

I can't explain the Cape Town City game. All our other games were tight but they just fell apart. We play Sundowns at Home in the next round and I can look at putting out more of a full strength side for that with a gap between games as was the case here.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Solitary Defeat at Halfway as Polokwane City Top DStv Premiership

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After half the season is complete, we're top of the DStv Premiership. It's brilliant. We've played well and the results have shown it. Between all the competitions we're in, I've finally managed the squad well enough to compete in various competitions and being successful in them. Our most unfortunate dropped points was the league game against SuperSport United where we were comfortably on top. However, we just couldn't score a goal and a questionable red on Ntsane meant we were at 10 men for the last 38 minutes of the game.

We haven't lost a game in any competition since the Amazulu game and looked comfortable. The improvements and signings made over the summer have helped our squad depth issues and ensured we can properly compete on multiple fronts. I don't think we have the absolute quality yet but we're getting there with Diana-Oliaro in goal and Shelembe up top. With Mfulwane leaving in the summer, we'll need to find somebody to replace him. I did have SuperSport United midfielder Appolis in mind. However, he changed his mind about leaving.

Polokwane City qualify for the CAF Confederations Cup Group Stage

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A comfortable pair of games against Salitas FC is rewarded with a relatively easy group in the Group Stage. A Kenyan club, another Burkina Faso club and the 2020 winner of the competition in RS Berkane. With how well we've been playing and how comfortable it was last season, there should be no issues whatsoever.

Polokwane City win a Second Telkom Knockout

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It doesn't count for a second competition in the Ultimate Challenge but we've won the Telkom Knockout again. Comfortable wins as already shown in the last update before a comfortable 5-1 win against Sundowns at home set up a semi-final against SuperSport United. A tight and tense affair went to penalties which we scraped to set up a final against Orlando Pirates. We went 1-0 down in the 12th minute but it felt against the run of play. We were on top and a quickfire double in the 42nd and 44th minute from Thibedi and a scrambled own goal meant we saw out the came comfortably to win.

As of now, I'm not entirely sure when I'll return with an update but it feels like we're progressing well. It may be around the end of the CAF Confederations Cup if we get an interesting Quarter Final draw or the end of the Third Period of the league.

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5 Games to Go. We're in a Title Fight

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As you can see from the screenshot, it's quite ridiculous how many teams there are in a theoretical chance of the title. Of this group of teams, we're only playing Sundowns and Swallows. Both are potential banana skins with Cape Town City. However, Orlando Pirates play the same four of the five teams we have to play. If they drop points, there's definitely a chance. Cape Town City just beat AmaZulu so we're realistically focusing on the Kaiser Chiefs for CAF Champions League qualification.

The only concern for me is that we've been a little shaky since the January break and lost the lead and momentum we had. However, it feels like we're starting to get it back.

As it stands, it's realistically a two-team title fight between us and Orlando Pirates. Unless we let the Kaiser Chiefs and AmaZulu into it with immediate losses, that's the current fight.

EDIT: After the first game against TS Galaxy, we drew. However, Orlando Pirates, Swallows and the Kaiser Chiefs lost. So we're level on points with Orlando Pirates after 26 games with AmaZulu three points back.

RS Berkane Return for CAF Confederations Cup Semi-Final

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We played RS Berkane and they went through to the Quarter Finals as the other team in the group. Both games were comfortable wins with a 2-0 and a 4-0 win for us meaning I hope we'll continue those results and progress to the final. Club Africain and Pyramids play in the other Semi-Final. As much as I want revenge, Club Africain would be an easier game for me to win.

Youth National Teams Provide Potential and Depth

There's no screenshot for this as including them in the team would be too much of a risk at this late stage so I'll develop more on this for next season. However, from scouring the youth national teams, I've found some reasonable quality who should be at teams better than us. For example, a Brazilian youth central midfielder is a free agent and will join the club with the aim to be a starting player for next season. The same goes for a Mexican centre back. Even if they kick up a fuss, I hope to sell them on for good money.

I don't know when my next post will be. It might be around the final of the CAF Confederations Cup whether we reach it or not.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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2 Games to Go As Polokwane City Win the CAF Confederations Cup

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We avenged the demons of last season where we were comfortably beaten by Pyramids. Fortunately, Club Africain beat Pyramids in a tight semi-final game which set up this game in Nigeria. It wasn't an easy game by any means. However, we were on top and it would have been deserved. It took until the 86th minute for Khayelihle Phakathi to score past the goalkeeper Mouez Hassen. Thobejane with a fantastic ball through a gaping hole in the Club Africain defense meant it was a fairly easy chance. All he had to do was slot past the goalkeeper and he did. It set up a potentially fearful final few minutes but it wasn't to be as Phakathi launched a fantastic cross into Dlamini who got his head on it to score.

Four Teams within 2 Points of the Title into the Final 2 Games

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Hopefully since we've won the CAF Confederations Cup, I hope that's removed all the distractions and we can comfortably win against Sundowns and Swallows to win the title. In the three games since the last update, it's been nervy and fascinating. We drew against TS Galaxy despite being on top whilst Orlando Pirates and the Kaiser Chiefs lost. In the next game, we were top by three points as we beat Sekhukune United 1-0 and Orlando Pirates lost. All we had to do was win 2 games and the title was unlikely. So we lost 3-1 to Cape Town City as the Kaiser Chiefs won and AmaZulu and Orlando Pirates drew their games. Now we have to play Sundowns and Swallows who had a theoretical chance. Sundowns have been tough for title contenders as they failed to lose against AmaZulu and Orlando Pirates as well as Swallows failing to lose against Sundowns.

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POLOKWANE CITY WIN THE DSTV PREMIERSHIP

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That's 2/32. The DStv Premiership is ours. It was a comfortable 2-0 win and until the 68th minute where AmaZulu scored to lead, we could have drawn and won the title. Orlando Pirates looked to struggle to a 0-0 draw vs Golden Arrows and the Kaiser Chiefs drew against Royal AM. It's been a fantastic season. To win three competitions in a season, let alone the DStv Premiership is awesome. I'm glad we took that next step and gave Mfulwane a title in his final season. It's incredible.

The game itself wasn't that nervy. We were on top throughout and meant we didn't need to rely on the other teams. Though they provided the shocks where I wanted, and needed, them. Now, onto the CAF Champions League. Orlando Pirates were losing finalists. I think we can do it.

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  • SaintsFCFan7498 changed the title to [FM22] Ultimate Challenge with a Few Extra Rules - 2/32

Polokwane City Predicted 6th in the DStv Premiership

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On the eve of the new season, I've decided to give you a small preview of our title defence. In the MTN 8, we've already beaten Cape Town City 3-1 and drew 2-2 with Orlando Pirates in the first leg of the Semi Final. On the opening day, we play Cape Town City again.

Unsurprisingly, winning the title has given us a bump in our odds to win the league. We were around the 100-1 mark and predicted 10th. However, the reputation boosts from the title and CAF Confederations Cup as well as some decent signings have meant we're now predicted 6th at 20-1. With how tight the table was last season down to 6th, it's pretty much said how we'll likely be in a shot of a title fight.

The DStv Premiership isn't my main focus this season since we won that last season. However, I do aim to get Top 2 in case we don't win the CAF Champions League this season. That competition will be the main focus of the updates. The main change to the format is that there's one less round in it. Instead of going through three rounds of pre-Group Stage qualifying, we're on course for only two. That's a relief in the case of us making the Super Cup and in case we progress in the cups again. As much as it would be nice to boost my Hall of Fame points with competition wins, I'd rather have a more easy CAF Champions League run.

Shelembe brings in £1.4m

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This is where I planned to discuss the improvements to the squad I alluded to in the last post. The strategy for some signings were to scour the youth teams at International level and see who was without a club. The plan involved nations such as South Africa, Nigeria and Brazil. For example, Joao Ricardo has turned into our Mfulwane replacement as he slots well into both roles in the midfield and he was without a club despite being in the Brazilian youth setup. The same goes for players such as Fernando who I found in the Japanese (Also eligible for Brazil. Hence the name Fernando.) setup. He won't fit in the first team. However, with some development, can slot in as a backup. The same goes for near-first team player David Espinoza from Mexico.

I also did this tactic with the Academy Clubs. Places such as the Senegalese ASPIRE Academy (One also in Qatar) is where I found a couple of players with one not far off being in the first team. I was able to get these players for nothing and that helps with the other signings I'll discuss in a moment.

One player who I've looked at for a while is Oswin Appolis. As SuperSport United began to struggle in the league, he seemed to become unhappy. I've tried to get him a couple times over the last season and he's rejected us. However, this offseason, he accepted to negotiate and has joined the club. The plan is to use him as a CAM largely because he's an upgrade there and Joao Ricardo and Thibedi will likely be the mainstays in that partnership. I bought him for only £175k. In the past, we've had bids accepted for about £250k when he was unhappy.

Now for the big one. Lwazi Shelembe scored 31 goals in 52 appearances for the club. Scoring in key moments such as the last game of last season and a winner in the Semi-Final First Leg against Berkane. He's served the club well. However, he became unhappy because he felt he was too good for the club. It's frustrating only getting two seasons out of him and not getting him back on loan for a season like with Mfulwane but he brought in good money. £1.4m is a profit of £1m on the £400k deal from Royal AM. On top of that, like Mfulwane, I negotiated a % of Profit on Future Fee. It's not expected to be as big a jump as Mfulwane but it will bring in big money should they sell him.

There's nothing I could replaced him that would have upgraded the position. However, I brought in the second highest goalscorer in the GladAfrica Championship in Max McMillan as he was promoted with Marumo Gallants. I'm not expecting him to be on the level of Shelembe and at £100k, it's a shrewd signing since the board like to keep hold of the money. I initially intended to sign him as a backup to Shembele but he was considering his options so McMillan will be our starting striker.

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Posted (edited)

Polokwane Progress in the Champions League as they Win the CAF Super Cup

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It's been a bit of a shaky start for the reigning champions of the DStv Premiership and the CAF Confederations Cup. Despite reaching the MTN 8 Final with a 93rd minute winner in the Second Leg against Orlando Pirates combined with frustrating results in the league, Wilson was concerned heading into the CAF Super Cup final against Champions League winners ES Tunis from Tunisia. With two losses including one against Baroka and a poor result against the Kaiser Chiefs, Wilson was battling a small spell of poor form.

Those fears were eluded after 2 minutes as summer singing Appollis scored a free kick that went around the wall after 2 minutes. After 10, ES Tunis scored their only goal with a well set-up goal giving them the equaliser. On the 23rd minute, Max McMillan scored to make it 2-1 in a lead they'd never lose. Joao Ricardo added a brace in the second half to make it 4-1 as Polokwane City make their continental intentions known.

Polokwane City Struggle but Progress Against Ethiopian Side Wolaita Dicha

Rotation in the first leg with league fixtures becoming an issue meant we failed to win the opening leg with a comeback from 3-0 down. It was frustrating but it felt like I was powerless to react. Against that type of opposition and at home, it's excusable. Fortunate, a relatively comfortable 2-1 win in Ethiopia means we progress to play Ugandan side Onduparaka.

The next update will come after both legs of that tie and will include the MTN 8 Final for our second chance of silverware of the season already. If it's early enough, I'll include the results from the Group Stage draw.

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Polokwane Beat Onduparaka to Reach Group Stage

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After a comfortable and deserved 3-0 win at home, I rested players for the Away leg in Uganda. There, we won 4-1 resulting in a comfortable 7-1 win on aggregate. The Group Stage draw will be near the end of December.

Polokwane City Win the MTN 8 Again

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It was a tight and difficult game with the Kaiser Chiefs. However, unlike the league, we scored and stayed in the game long enough to ensure that a win was on the cards. A 28th minute goal from Max McMillan was enough to seal it and with it, the Last Man Standing award for Top Goalscorer.

In other news, we won the First Round of the Telkom Knockout in the first game to defend that title.

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Polokwane City Champions League Group Stage Draw

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It's a solid, but winnable, group for the CAF Champions League. Last season, we played Gor Mahia of Kenya in the CAF Confederations Cup and got 4 points out of them. The year before, we played ES Setif in the same Group Stage with one win and one loss in a rotated team when we've already qualified. Asante Kotoko would be a fascinating game since we haven't yet played them. They're a solid team. However, we should top the group fairly comfortably and I'm looking forward to those 6 games.

Title Fight as the League Reaches the Halfway Stage

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The first half of this season has been less spectacular than the last. We're currently 6 points off the top of the league and we've had more losses. One loss was a poor 3-0 one against AmaZulu in the last game before the break. An unfortunate 2-1 defeat to Baroka in the third game was also frustrating. As well as throwing away the lead away at Maritzburg. If we don't mess up in two of those three games, we'd be tied top of the league with the Kaiser Chiefs and Royal AM.

Polokwane City retain the Telkom Knockout

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With three wins in four years, the Telkom Knockout has turned into our competition. It's been made slightly easier with two less games in Continental Competition. However, the games themselves haven't been any easier. Tight but deserved wins against Swallows, SuperSport United and Cape Town City meant we return to the final against Orlando Pirates. It was tough but we grinded out a 1-0 win for a third Telkom Knockout.

In other news, I was offered an interview at Almeria in Spain's Second Tier. They're currently 11th in the league. If the job had come along a year later, and after a CAF Champions League, I'd have absolutely taken it since they fit the criteria and should have the quality and finances to succeed.

My next update will come around March for the end of the Group Stage. I'm expecting a comfortable run to the Quarter Finals.

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Posted (edited)

Polokwane City Qualify for the Quarter Final

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As expected, it was a comfortable Group Stage run. Despite frustratingly drawing against Kenyan side Gor Mahia in the opening game, we won the remaining 5 games to ensure our path into the Quarter Final. As a result of that comfortable run through, in the Quarter Final against Ivorian side ASEC Mimosas. The wonderkid hub will provide some fascinating Champions League games but I expect we should progress similar in difficulty to the Group Stage. They finished 2nd in their group. I feel like it's a weaker Champions League this season with our biggest competition being Wydad Casablanca who struggled in their group and fellow South African table toppers AmaZulu. 

Edited by SaintsFCFan7498
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Polokwane City Record Two 4-2 Wins Over ASEC Mimosas to Qualify for the Semi Final

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As expected based on the Group Stage, we played well in both games against ASEC Mimosas to win 4-2 in both legs to win 8-4 on aggregate. We were the better team throughout and deserved to progress past the Ivorian side. Since AmaZulu lost against Kenyan side Tusker FC, we're the last remaining team from South Africa in the competition. In terms of the CAF Confederations Cup, Orlando Pirates are the other South African team into the Semi Finals of the African competition.

In terms of other competitions, we are 6th in the league and in the Semi Final of the Nedbank Cup for the first time. It's not fantastic in terms of the league but progressing in the Nedbank Cup is fantastic.

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Semi-Final Wins Gives Polokwane City a Chance to Win 2 Competitions

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A second leg 6-2 win followed a 2-0 win over Kenyan side Tusker FC to give South African football revenge for them beating AmaZulu. The comprehensive 8-2 aggregate win meant Polokwane City have a chance at winning the CAF Champions League for the third competition of the Ultimate Challenge. In a rematch of the Group Stage, Polokwane City will play Asante Kotoko in their inaugural Champions League final. In an unusual situation, both games ended 0-0 with Asante Kotoko winning on penalties.

Cape Town All Stars the Challengers to Polokwane City

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Over the last few years, GladAfrica Championship clubs have made a habit of making the Nedbank Cup Final. However, the club in question was Jomo Cosmos. They have lost both their appearances. The only issue in this final is likely to be an issue of complacency over whether Polokwane City have the absolute quality to win.

Hopefully, this will be the penultimate update before winning the CAF Champions League and completing Africa at Club Level.

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  • SaintsFCFan7498 changed the title to [FM22] Ultimate Challenge with a Few Extra Rules - 14/32

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