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  1. So I have finally managed to work through a rather hectic 2021 season, in which I had some serious domestic and international commitments. I think it would be fun to take a look at my life in Grenada and use this update as a preview for the new season, my sixth in football management thus far! I would like to welcome everyone back to my successful domestic side, Mount Rich of Grenada. Club Background: Those avid readers amongst you will now have a fairly decent knowledge of Mount Rich, the semi-professional outfit at the forefront of this save. Mount Rich are based in Grenada and were formed in 1986. Prior to my successful reign the small club had never won a serious piece of silverware but since I took over we have acquired 9 domestic trophies (four league titles and five domestic cups). In addition to these domestic successes, we have become a regular participant within the CFU Club Championship and the aim is to, at some point, better the semifinal appearance we achieved back in 2019. We still hold a one star, national level, rating in terms of reputation. Whilst that not seem that spectacular it does make us the most recognisable team in all of Grenada! Facilities: Not too much has changed with regards to our facilities over the past two seasons. Despite winning quite a lot of silverware, the prize money on offer for semi-professional, Grenadian football has not been quite enough to fund much in the way of improvements to any training facilities. One area that we have continued to improve on however is our youth set-up. Our junior coaching has just received a recent update, and is now up to a god level and our youth recruitment remains at extensive. This, coupled with our fairly decent Head of Youth Development, has seen a number of good prospects come through the youth system in recent years. Our pitch was relaid last season and the condition of it is now very good. Our 700 seater, council owned stadium still stays in an average condition but the lack of financial funds have stalled me from improving the training facilities. Competitions: The past few seasons have seen me become very familiar with the main domestic competitions of Grenada. The domestic league is called the GFA Premier Division and will be my main focus for this upcoming season. This top level league consists of 10 different sides (with everyone playing each other twice for a total of 18 fixtures), with the top two sides qualifying for the CFU Caribbean Cup. The bottom two teams are automatically relegated to the first division, whilst the side finishing 8th has to contend with a relegation playoff to ensure their survival. As you hopefully know by now, we have pretty much dominated the domestic scene in Grenada ever since I joined. We have won four league titles, in five years, and the focus is now on making Mount Rich the most successful side in Grenadian history. In order to achieve this aim I would need to win six total league titles, which would surpass the current record of five held by Hard Rock FC. The second domestic competition that I will be taking part in is the superbly named Waggy-T Super Knockout Football Tournament. This little cup competition consists of just three, one-legged, knockout rounds prior to a final played in the national team's stadium. We have managed to dominate the domestic league of Grenada but in the domestic cup competition we have literally been unbeatable. We have won every single Waggy-T encounter since I joined Mount Rich and this has resulted in us claiming five consecutive trophies! Last seasons cup victory actually made us the most successful side in the history of this competition as we have now won the most Waggy-T trophies ever, which is a pretty remarkable achievement given my short reign. The final competition that we will be taking part in is actually the first to begin this season. The CFU Club Championship is essentially the Caribbean equivalent of the champions league, with the main difference being that it is absolutely massive in size. A total of 64 teams enter the opening round and are split into a whopping 16 different groups. The sides taking part are from all over the Caribbean but the initial draw has already been made. We were drawn in Group N alongside Helenites, SV Estrellas and Violette. The weakest side in this group is probably Helenites Sports Club., a side who we actually played against in this stage of the competition last year. They are based in the US Virgin Islands and are the current domestic champions. They are an amateur team, yet they have won the top domestic title in their country on four different occasions and are listed as the nations second most reputable side. Next up are Sport Vereniiging Estrellas from Bonaire. The semi-professional outfit recently won their first, and only, domestic league title having spent much of their history on the periphery. They are currently ranked as only the 6th most reputable side in their country but are led by senior international Eric Smit, an 18 year old newgen who has already made 32 senior appearances! Finally, and probably the most challenging side in our group this season, is Violette Athletic Club. This semi-professional side are based in Haiti but have yet to stamp their dominance in the domestic league despite being founded in 1918. They have won the top division on one previous occasion but qualified for the tournament this year having finished second in their division last season. They have a number of pretty talented newgens, including a very good looking forward in the form of Henri Carrie. Yet again, we will play each side once with just the top placed team progressing, meaning one poor performance could easily see us dumped out of the competition in the first stage. Considering we have made it to the semi finals the past two seasons I would be very disappointed if we failed to get out of this group and, given the strength of opposition, I am thinking we will fare strongly. Grenadian Football: I have kept an eye on the Grenada job ever since I started this save but Andrew Munroe still remains as the main man in charge. During the past five seasons he has not managed to achieve much but has created some stability. When I started this game Grenada were ranked 161st in the world but they have climbed a few places since and are now at 151st. They highest rank they achieved was back in 2019 when they climbed up to 127th. Despite the rather stagnant progress as of late, things are looking bright for the future of the national side. They have a forward in the form of Kimron Sampson, who plays for Manchester City and has scored eight international goals in just nine appearances, who seemingly has the potential to become a seriously good player. Only five players in the current senior side are over the age of 23 so it would appear that as the youngsters develop things should only get better for our small island nation. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So that concludes my reintroduction to Mount Rich and to the country of Grenada in general. We will be kicking things off on the island nation very soon as the CFU Club Championship gets started very early in the calendar year. If I am ever going to make it to the CONCACAF Champions League then I will need to reach the final of this competition and so it will be a main focus for me going into 2022. I will be back shortly for a reintroduction to the national team of Kenya, as we prepare for a historic appearance at the 2022 World Cup in Australia. Thanks again for all your comments and views! I know this updates are pretty spaced out but I hope you are enjoying the detail involved.
  2. Update 30: End of Season Review (2021) Club: Mount Rich Division: GFA Premier Division Amazingly, this is now the end of my 5th season in Grenada and that time has absolutely flown by. Since I joined Mount Rich I have developed the small, semi-professional outfit into the strongest, most dominant Grenadian domestic side. We have absolutely smashed the league and cup competitions whilst also moulding a number of players into senior internationals for the island nation. This season was no different in terms of my sheer dominance and in this short post we shall look back at what happened this year with Mount Rich in Grenada. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- COMPETITIONS: GFA Premier Division. Final League Position: 1st Played: 18 (W = 16, D = 2, L = 0) Goals Scored: 47, Goals Conceded: 7, Goal Difference: +40 Points Total: 50 A second unbeaten season since I joined the club saw us cruise to a fourth league title. The board obviously expected us to win this competition and we duly delivered a resounding season with some excellent performances. In fact, we were just two games away from recording a maximum points total but ended up drawing our final two fixtures to finish on a total of 50 points from a possible 54. We scored a league high 47 goals but that was actually a few less then we have been managing in previous years. Where we have really improved is defensively, where we conceded just seven goals all season in an absolutely dominating performance. Our closest challengers, Hard Rock FC, finished 14 points adrift and it is going to take something special from one of the other clubs to knock us off our top perch. In fact, as previously mentioned, we have now reached four league titles. The most successful team in Grenadian history is Hard Rock FC who have won six GFA Premier Division crowns. The aim, before considering the possibility of leaving Grenada, is to established Mount Rich as not only the strongest current club side but also as the best historical side. In order to do that I will need to spend a few more seasons here and hope to add a few more league titles to the collection. Waggy-T Super Knockout Football Tournament. Final Position: Winners I cannot ask for much more than a fourth league-cup double and a fifth consecutive Waggy-T Knockout win. Grenada's only domestic cup has become a bit of a benchmark for myself as it is a piece of silverware that I have won in every single season of my football management career. In fact, I have now managed 20 Waggy-T Knockout matches, winning all 20 of them. We cruised through the early rounds, recording a resounding 6-1 win over St. John's Sports Club in the semifinals but then required a dramatic extra time win over Grenada Boys Secondary School in order to claim a win in the final. CFU Club Championship. Final Position: Final Group Stage If we ever want to achieve the dream of seeing a Grenadian club appear in the CONCACAF Champions League, we will first have to reach the final of the CFU Club Championship. The best I have managed thus far is a semifinal appearance back in 2019 and I was unable to better that this season. We did manage to power through the initial group stage, going unbeaten against Helenites Sports Club (US Virgin Islands), Sporting Vereniging Juventus (Bonaire) and Racing Club De Riviere-Pilote (Martinique). The final group stage saw us given one of the harder draws as we had to play reigning champions Puerto Rico FC (USA) and Jamaican side Harbour View FC. Despite some spirited performances, we were unable to gain a single point at this stage and were easily beaten by three far superior sides. Getting anywhere close to the talent level of these sorts of clubs is going to be almost impossible and that is going to prove to be a real limiting factor when trying to progress further in this competition. Still, we will be back playing in the CFU Club Championship in the early stages of 2022 and I will be hoping to better the performances of this season just gone. PLAYER STATISTICS: We ended the year with an impressive 17 players holding an average rating of 7.0 or higher, a fairly exemplary feat given that we only played 18 league games. Below are some key stats from my second campaign in Grenada: Shaddai Sampson once again finished as the clubs top scorer, netting an 16 times throughout the course of the season. One other player managed to reach a double digit goal tally as new signing Shalrie Augustine scored 10 goals in just 13 appearances. The leading assist provider this season was right fullback Cassim Millette, who tallied 10 in total. Forward Shaddai Sampson finished second, collecting 9 assists, whilst excellent central midfielder Joel Francois-Ravalier added 6 of his own. Fullback Cassim Millette ended the season with the most Player of the Match Awards, picking up 5 whilst forwards Shaddai Sampson and Shalrie Augustine both collected 4 awards. . Ball winning midfielder Alister Rennie led the team with an impressive average of 4.72 tackles/game in his 17 appearances whilst central defender Christ Kisangala collected a team-high 81 defensive interceptions. All-time Best XI: It is nice to see some youth academy players already being named in the clubs all-time best XI despite their young ages. Right fullback Cassim Millette and midfielder Joel Francois-Ravalier are joined in the starting side by goalkeeper Patrick Walcott, attacker Kyle John-Brown and forward Shavon Bishop. Moukaram Abidjo had an excellent season and he joins the back three whilst Shaddai Sampson is the clubs all-time leading scorer with 71 goals in just 96 appearances. It is also pretty fun to see some of the previous years' players appearing in this side and reminiscing about their impact on the club. Right fullback Quinton Rennie was a stellar player before being replaced by Millette whilst, the now-retired, Kimron Redhead was one of the best scoring midfielders I have ever managed. It was also pretty fun to see Uriah Enoe and Christ Kisangala both surpass 100 career appearances for the club, a pretty impressive accomplishment given our very short league seasons. PLAYER AWARDS: 1) Player of the Year: Cassim Millette (RB) - 23 matches, 4 goals, 10 assists, 65 key passes, 32 chances created, 3.10 tackles/game, 5 PoM Awards, Ave Rating: 7.83 This award was really was to decide this year and it had to go to Cassim Millette. The youngster, a product of the youth academy, has really grown into an excellent player and had his best season yet in a Mount Rich shirt. The fullback was a constant threat in attack and terrorised opposition defenders enroute to a team-high 10 assists and an outrageous 32 chances created. He played almost three key passes per appearance but was also solid on the defensive end, averaging over three tackles per game. The youngster was a right winger when he came through the academy but I have been converting him to play as a wingback and it has been a super transition.He has some excellent physical attributes including excellent levels of stamina. His crossing is brilliant but he also has superb teamwork and work rate. The 19 year old is now a regular in the Grenadian national team set-up and has already racked up 15 caps for the senior side. Understandably he is a key player and one who attracted interest from abroad throughout the season. We have managed to hold onto him for now and he is actually under contract for the next four seasons so I am confident he will remain playing here. 2) Defensive Player of the Year: Joel Alexander (LB) - 15 matches, 3 assists, 33 key passes, 30 crosses, 2.56 tackles/game, 1 PoM Award, Ave Rating: 7.64 On the opposite wing to Millette, the newly acquired Joel Alexander had a brilliant season. The Grenadian national has found himself the first choice at left wingback this season and, despite being a more defensive minded player, has adapted to the tacit and put in some excellent performances. He again has some very impressive physical traits including solid numbers for stamina, pace and acceleration. His technical skills are not much to get excited about but he has a very well-rounded mental attribute set, especially given that he is just 21 years old. He has reached 24 senior national team caps thus far and is a regular on the team sheet at left fullback. There is no reason, with little competition at his position, that he cannot be the countries starting fullback for many more seasons to come. 3) Midfield Player of the Year: Joel Francois-Ravalier (CM) - 20 matches, 3 goals, 6 assists, 55 key passes, 76% pass completion, 2 PoM Awards, Ave Rating: 7.60 The midfield player of the year is also one of my favourites in the squad. Joel Francois-Ravalier joint the team in the same youth intake as Cassim Millette and has developed into an excellent player in the middle of the park. The teenager played an excellent 55 key passes this season whilst providing an excellent attacking link within the tactical strategy. He is another of our youngsters who has a very strong physical make-up, with high numbers for stamina, pace and agility. He has excellent vision, considering his age, and this combined with solid passing and a strong technique makes him a player that I always want to be in possession of the football. The only worry with Francois-Ravalier is the devastating injury that he sustained right at the end of the season. Initial reports looked as though he would miss 11-12 months of football, almost the entirety of next season, which would not only be a blow to our team but also a blow to the development of a youngster who has become a regular on the international stage, collecting 19 senior caps. I am hoping he can rebound and get playing again but it looks like a long road back for one of our superstars. 4) Attacking Player of the Year: Shaddai Sampson (ST) - 23 matches, 16 goals, 9 assists, 30 key passes, 4 PoM Award, Ave Rating: 7.51 Shaddai Sampson has become one of the best players at the cub and, as previously mentioned, is the clubs current all-time leading scorer despite being just 21 years old. The attacker joined on a free transfer in my second season ate Mount Rich and has been a constant on the team sheet ever since. This past season saw him named top goalscorer once again as he netted 16 times in just 23 appearances. He has the finishing, and first touch of a player much better than anyone found in the Grenadian league system. His off the ball movement and solid overall physical skills are a key factor in him creating separation from sluggish defenders in this league and has helped him become the most prolific forward in domestic football over the past few years. This efficiency has seen him become a regular member of the Grenada squad but, with competition high at his position, he has not quite become a regular starter. Still, he has managed an impressive 7 goals in 18 international games and I am hoping for another excellent season from the youngster in 2022. 5) U21 Player of the Year: Shalrie Augustine (ST) - 13 matches, 10 goals, 3 assists, 82% pass completion, 4 PoM Awards, Ave Rating: 7.62 A new signing at the start of the season, Shalrie Augustine outplayed the more experienced Uriah Enoe and was superb... when he could get on the pitch. The only thing stopping Augustine from winning a more reputable award was the fact that he struggling with a number of niggling injuries which limited the forward to just 13 total appearances this season. Still, in that time he managed to rack up a double digit goal tally, netting 10 times. His finishing is the same as that of Sampson and he also has solid off the ball movement to go along with a well-rounded set of physical skills. It definitely seems like there is a certain mould of forward that is effective in the Grenadian league and it is one I shall be on the lookout for in the future. FINAL THOUGHTS: Things have obviously become a bit more routine in the league and cup nowadays, with me entering matches expecting to come away with a victory. The real challenge will be when we kick start our CFU Club Championship camping in just a few months time. It will be interesting to see how we get on this season, especially given the disappointment of the final group stages last season and what with Joel Francois-Ravalier missing through injury. He is one of a few players who can compete with the larger Caribbean sides and, whilst his absence should not affect our domestic performances, he will be a huge loss in the continental competition. Speaking of the CFU Club Championship though, the initial group draws have been completed and we have been handed a relatively easy one on paper. I will go into more detail regarding who I have been drawn against when I return with my next update but you can see who ourselves and Hard Rock FC have been drawn against above - bonus points to anyone who can name which Caribbean islands any of our opponents are based in (ideally without the use of Wikipedia or Google Search). As with previous years, the winner of the CFU Club Championship is granted entry into the CONCACAF Champions League, a feat no domestic side from Grenada as ever achieved. We first need to navigate the initial group stages, which will be achieved by finishing atop our group following three fixtures at neutral venues. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I hope you are all still enjoying this save. I know the international side of things with Kenya has become a bit more exciting, especially given our recent World Cup qualification, but I do not want to lose the emphasis on Mount Rich and my attempts to qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League. We have also developed some excellent youngsters here and it is really pleasing to see them performing on the national stage! My next update will be with Kenya, as we partake in the African Nations Championship - the tournament where I am only allowed to use players who are currently based in Kenya. After that I will be switching the focus to the CFU Club Championship with Mount Rich where the aim will be to qualify for the final group stage and then hope for a nice draw which will increase our chances of getting into the semi finals once more.
  3. Update 29: December 2021 Team: Kenya Division: CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup Having recently wrapped up the domestic side of my managerial career in Grenada I switched focus to my final commitment of the calendar year, the annual CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup with Kenya. It has been a long season what with all the international and domestic competitions and this small tournament would be a fun way t wrap things up. CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup DETAILS: The CECAFA Cup is a small, yearly, tournament that sees the best 12 teams from Central and East Africa compete against one another. The competition itself follows a fairly straightforward format in that there is an initial group stage (three groups of four sides). The three group winners and the best second placed side qualify for the one-leg semi finals, followed by a final. The avid readers amongst you may remember that I actually managed to win this competition with Kenya last year, defeating rivals Uganda in the final on penalties. I would love to end this season with a bit more silverware and this competition presented a very realistic chance of doing so. The 2021 edition of this competition would take place on the island nation of Zanzibar, a country whom I did not know had enough stadiums to host a tournament such as this. Still, I was not complaining as Zanzibar has some killer beaches! We had been given the easiest group possible, avoiding some of the bigger names such as Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia, so I would be expecting an easy passage into the semi finals. SQUAD SELECTION: No huge shocks here as I select a fairly standard squad. I did actually have to make a few changes to what is seen above as we picked up a few injuries prior to the opening game and Victor Wanyama's 'one-game suspension' for some reason became a suspended-for-the-whoel-tournament thing... There were places for newgens Joseph Jackson Were, Joseph Mwaniki and midfielder Duncan Mbugi. CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup RESULTS: So we would kick off our 2021 CECAFA Cup till defence with three fairly straightforward group games. Of the three sides we would have to play, the biggest threat was probably Eritrea, whom we would have to face-off with first. Game 1. CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup (First Round, Group C): vs Eritrea (World Ranking = 192nd) We opened our campaign with an absolute demolition of a weak Eritrea side. Within the first half an hour we were already leading by three goals. Michael Olunga fired in an accurate finish early on, bouncing in off the woodwork, before adding a second through a powerfully struck penalty. His strike partner, Innocent Mutiso, then added our third when he tapped home from close range in the 28th minute. Substitute forward Paul Kiongera then added a fourth just after the break as he rattled home a strike from the edge of the area. Ali Abondo added a fifth in the closing stages when he placed a shot in the bottom corner following a nice through ball from Mutiso. There was time for Eritrea to grab a late consolation but this did not affect the result following a dominating performance. Game 2. CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup (First Round, Group C): vs Somalia (World Ranking = 202nd) Another fantastic performance from us as we dismantled a very weak Somalia side, whom we limited to just two total shots for the entire game. Michael Olunga added his third goal in just two games as he rifled home early on from inside the penalty area. The rangy targetman then linked up well with poacher George Odhiambo who slotted home a second in the 20th minute. We were again 3-0 up at halftime as Odhiambo added his second following a brilliant through ball from experienced midfielder Humphrey Mieno. Paul Kiongera again came on as a second half substitute and he scored a late fourth goal as he pounced on a poor back pass. Another excellent performance where we created chances at will, having 22 total shots, and one which meant we were all but guaranteed a place in the semifinals. Game 3. CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup (First Round, Group C): vs Djibouti (World Ranking = 196th) In a match where the back-ups were utilised and where we actually saw less of the ball then our opponents, we came away with a third straight victory thanks to some excellent attacking play. We again started quickly, scoring twice in the first half hour. Noah Wafula, an attacker who was a late addition to the squad, kicked things off with a simple tap in at the far post before Innocent Mutiso added a second with a sweeping finish following a right wing cross from Simon Mbugua. Mbugua added a second assist in the 56th minute when his cross was headed home by Wafula, ensuring we finished the group stage with a 100% record. Despite being out possessed we still managed to create a number of chances, having 23 shots in comparison to 6 for our opponents. Unsurprisingly, we finished top of our group with a very healthy goal difference of +11. The other three teams to progress to the semifinal stages were Uganda, Ethiopia and Burundi. No room for the much favourited Sudan who were knocked out in the group stages. The semis saw us handed the easiest possible draw as we would be up against Burundi. Game 4. CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup (Semi Final): vs Burundi (World Ranking = 158th) Burundi are by no means a weak side but I had beaten them in previous years. We were once again outplayed in terms of possession and the number of chances created was very similar between the two of us. In the end, our clinical finishing proved to be the difference as we took full advantage of any sight of goal. Having started our previous three games very quickly we were a bit slower in getting going in this one. When we did eventually break the deadlock though it lead to a flurry of goals. Paul Kiongera kicked things off when he rifled home a 31st minute strike which rattled in off the woodwork. Newgen central defender Joseph Mwaniki then added a second, 11 minutes later, as he smashed home a header following a Humphrey Mieno freekick. Innocent Mutiso added a third almost straight from the restart as Mieno played a brilliant through ball to the poacher who then tucked the ball under the keeper. Three goals in the final 14 minutes of the second period saw us well on top and things got even better when we were awarded a penalty just three minutes into the second half. Up stepped youngster Duncan Mbugi who sent the keeper the wrong way and gave us a 4-0 lead. Burundi grabbed two late goals, either side of a fifth Kenyan goal, but these were mere consolations in what was a dominant performance. The key man here was easily experienced midfielder Humphrey Mieno. The veteran has really stepped up in the absence of Victor Wanyama and has 4 assists in this game alone, to go alongside a brilliant 9.4 rating. This win meant we were through to the final where we would face... Uganda... in a repeat of last years final! Game 5. CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup (Final): vs Uganda (World Ranking = 108th) Turns out it was almost a complete replica of last years final as the game once again finished 0-0 and had to be decided by penalties. Unfortunately for our opponents, for the second consecutive year, we bested them in the game of spot kicks and were crowned champions of the CECAFA Cup! Most of the games we have played in this tournament we deserved to win but this game could not have been further from that. We struggled to retain the ball on a rainy evening and failed to create many meaningful chances in normal time. We actually did have a chance to win the game though when back-up forward Jacob Keli stepped up to take a 73rd minute penalty but his weak effort was easily saved. The game laboured to penalties and we came through victorious despite a miss from young midfielder Duncan Mbugi. Uganda missed their second and fourth kicks, with young keeper Joseph Jackson Were making a pair of solid saves and, for the second year in a row, Kenya were crowned winners of the CECAFA Cup! OTHER NEWS: So we are once again crowned winners of the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup. We played excellently in the group stages but definitely got a little lucky in the final, scrapping a victory courtesy of a penalty shootout win over our fierce rivals Uganda. This is the third season that the side have reached the final, having won the competition last year during my first season in charge. The next international commitment for myself is the African Nations Championship, which takes place in January 2022. The slightly different tournament is unique in that I am only allowed to use players who are based in Kenya so we will not be seeing the likes of Victor Wanyama or Michael Olunga. Following that we have the big one, the 2022 World Cup in Australia where we will be competing for the first time in our history! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So that rounds off everything from the 2021 calendar year and it has been a pretty intense one with World Cup qualification and a trophy win for Kenya alongside another league/cup double for Mount Rich in Grenada. I will be back soon with a season review and then we will be kick starting the African Nations Championship before moving onto the continental competition with Mount Rich as I try once again to qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League. Thanks to all of you readers, followers and commenters out there, hope you are all still enjoying this slightly left-field adventure!
  4. I honestly not sure that I will ever be able to achieve that! I'd have to beat a number of the top Jamaican and Trinidadian sides who, at this stage, are so much better than us in terms of squad talent. I shall try my best though! Haha. They are restricted to using players who are aged less than 20 years old as well...
  5. Update 28: November & December 2021 Team: Mount Rich Division: GFA Premier Division So, we switch our focus back to Grenada where December sees the conclusion of the domestic league. I was riding a personal high having secured a World Cup spot for Kenya and was looking to add to my success with a third consecutive league title for Mount Rich. This update will cover the conclusion of the GFA Premier Division whilst also seeing the start of the Waggy-T Super Knockout tournament, Grenada's only domestic cup and one that I have won in all four seasons that I have been at Mount Rich. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- GFA Premier Division RESULTS: W = 3, D = 2, L = 0 We concluded the season in fine fashion, managing to complete the entire year unbeaten but narrowly missing out on a full points total as we drew our final two fixtures. The start of November saw us totally dismantle St. John's Sports, in a result that equalled our record ever GFA Premier Division victory. We followed this attacking display with a pair of 1-0 home wins against T.A Marryshow Community College and Grenada Boys Secondary School respectively. We were very close to completing a season of 18 straight wins but we stumbled in the final two games, firstly playing out a scoreless draw with Happy Hill before ending the season with a 1-1 draw against Hard Rock. Waggy-T Super Knockout Football Tournament RESULTS: Amongst our league fixtures we also kick started our Waggy-T Super Knockout campaign. This very simple cup competition is one that I had won in every single season prior to this one and therefore I was expecting big things. As you may remember, we were drawn against Ball Dogs in the first round, a game that we would definitely be favourites for. First Round: vs Ball Dogs (GFA First Division) We were given a fairly easy first round draw, where we came up against Ball Dogs from the First Division of Grenada. Despite playing a rotated side we came away with an emphatic victory. We took the lead early on through youth academy forward Cassim Redhead before four second half goals put the tie well beyond doubt. There was a first club hattrick for young Portuguese forward Rui Reis and we cruised through to the quarter finals with a brilliant attacking performance. Quarter Final: vs New Hampshire United (GFA Premier Division) The quarter final stage saw us drawn against fellow Premier Division side New Hampshire. These guys had been had been having a bit of a torrid league season and given that we were drawn at home I had expected a more convincing scoreline. We took the lead early, when youngster Cassim Redhead rifled in a left footed strike but despite creating a number of chances throughout the remainder of the game we lacked a clinical edge and could never add a second goal. New Hampshire never looked like scoring in fairness and we progressed into the semi-finals, one good result away from reaching a fifth consecutive Waggy-T cup final. Semi Final: vs St. John's Sports Club (GFA Premier Division) The semis saw us drawn against St. John's Sports and we overcame a potentially tough away fixture with a superb attacking performance. You may remember that we beat this same side by an identical scoreline in the corresponding league fixture earlier on in the month. Shalrie Augustine, who has been an excellent addition to the squad this season, struck twice in the opening 13 minutes before Shaddai Sampson crashed a 24th minute header to put us three goals up prior to break. The second half saw us continue our attacking display as Augustine added his third in the 56th minute. There was still time for Cassim Redhead to net his third goal in as many Waggy-T games this season before Cassim Millette completed the rout with a powerfully struck penalty in the closing stages. Final: vs Grenada Boys Secondary School (GFA Premier Division) We made this so much more difficult than it should have been but we eventually managed to lay claim to a fifth Waggy-T Super Knockout cup victory. We opened the scoring just before the break when midfield dynamo Joel Francois-Ravalier slotted home from the edge of the area. We absolutely dominated this game and created chances at will but, as has been the case on a few occasions this season, we struggled to find the final product when required. We were punished just after the hour mark when GBSS grabbed a surprise equaliser as they netted from a free kick. We failed to grab a winner in normal time, with Francois-Ravalier missing a penalty kick in the 84th minute, and this meant the game progressed to extra time. We were still the better side in the extra period and grabbed an early goal courtesy of right fullback Cassim Millette, who slotted home from close range. We ended the tie by having a whopping 33 total shots and credit to the GBSS goalkeeper who kept his side in the tie for a lot longer than had seemed possible. Still, we claimed another piece of silverware with this cup victory and, with our fifth trophy, become the most successful side in Waggy-T history. PLAYER STATISTICS: A brilliant league season was built on the back of some excellent individual performances. We ended the year with an impressive 17 players holding an average rating of at least 7.0. The key duo have continued to be midfielder Joel Francois-Ravalier (7.60) and fullback Cassim Millette (7.83). The duo have absolutely dominated the Grenadian league this season and end the year with a combined 16 assists, 120 key passes and 46 chances created. In defence, Benin youngster Moukaram Abidjo (7.29) has been the best of the central defensive trio. He has played very well alongside fellow African Christ Kisangala (7.06), who himself leads the squad with 81 defensive interceptions. Experienced veteran Raymond Alleyne (7.04) also played well and youth academy prospect Alec Leo (7.28) made his professional debut, looking very solid in the process. Left fullback Joel Alexander (7.64) had a brilliant second half of the season on the opposite flank to Cassim Millette. In goal Marc Walcott (7.14) slightly outplayed David Ibeh (7.00) but both youngsters were very solid. There was not much to celebrate in terms of our midfield performances than the displays of Francois-Ravalier. Alister Rennie (7.18) had a fairly good year playing in the holding midfield role, averaging 4.72 tackles/game, but the next best central player was Chad Mark (6.95) who was limited almost entirely to substitute appearances. In attack, we had two players reach a double digit goal tally as Shaddai Sampson (7.51) continued his excellent Mount Rich career, scoring 16 times in 23 appearances. His best strike partner was the newly signed Shalrie Augustine (7.62) who had a remarkable debut season, netting 10 times in just 13 appearances. The youngster was limited in terms of games played due to a few niggling injuries but he looks like a very solid addition. Attacking midfielder Kyle Thomas (7.16) had a brilliant year, scoring six goals, whilst youngsters Cassim Redhead (7.11) and Kimron Phillip (6.93) both played well having seen their first serious professional action. LEAGUE TABLE: As previously mentioned we failed to complete an all-18 win season but we did go unbeaten and, for the fourth time in five years, we were crowned champions of Grenada! Our nearest challengers were Hard Rock FC and Paradise Sports Club, both of whom had decent league campaigns but never came near to usurping us atop the division. Laggy-T finalists Grenada Boys Secondary School also had a solid year, finishing 4th. T.A Marryshow Community College and Boca Juniors were relegated to the First Division whilst Queens Park Rangers won their relegation playoff and so will remain in the division next year. We scored a very impressive 47 goals this season, nine more than the next best side, whilst also boasting the best defensive record in the league, conceding just seven times in total. This left us with a remarkable goal difference of +40, almost 30 goals better off than the other best sides. OTHER NEWS: A few bits of other news to report on, including a horrific injury and some good news about the clubs overall progression. Injuries This is an absolutely huge blow! Joel Francois-Ravalier has become a superb player for Mount Rich and is a regular on the team sheet for his country. This injury was picked up only a few days after the cup final, in a training session, and these damaged cruciate ligaments will see the youngster miss almost the entirety of next season. Given that central midfield has been our worst position in terms of both depth and performances, this is a really big blow to our chances in the upcoming continental competitions. Under-20s One positive piece of developmental news comes in the knowledge that the Under 20 side won the league for the first time. This shows that the youth players coming through are really developing nicely and this is highlighted by this league win. Shavon Bishop, who dropped out of first team convention, led the way with a league high 4 Player of the Match Awards whilst young keeper Patrick Walcott kept an impressive seven clean sheets. Competitions An excellent league season sees us end the domestic campaign unbeaten and double league/cup winners. Things are become a little 'easy' in Grenada nowadays and I guess I really have to consider moving on if I am unable to crack the continental competitions. Our 5th Waggy-T trophy means that Mount Rich are now the countries met successful side in terms of that competition. Our four league titles to date are just one behind Hard Rock FC (5 wins). I think I would like to leave Mount Rich in the knowledge that the Grenadian minnows are not only the most reputable die in the country but also the most successful. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I guess that means I will be staying at Mount Rich for at least two more seasons as I aim for two more GFA Premier Division victories to ensure we stand alone as the best domestic side in Grenadian football history. I will also be taking part in the Caribbean Club Championship in the new domestic year. Before that kicks off I have international commitments to attend to with Kenya, starting with the defence of my CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup title that I won last year. Then, in January 2022, I have the African Nations Championship to attend to - a competition where only domestic-based players are allowed to be used. I hope you are all enjoying this story and would like your opinion on what you would like to see in terms of the domestic side of things. Should I stay in Grenada? Should I move to a different Caribbean nation? Or would you like to see me move to an entirely new continent and a new challenge?
  6. Thanks Nobby! I think us and Cape Verde's qualifications are the most surprising. I guess the other underdogs are Iraq and Wales but overall it was a pretty standard qualification campaign.
  7. Update 27: October & November 2021 Team: Kenya Division: FIFA World Cup CAF Qualifying Section So having updated everyone on life in Grenada we switch focuses again to Kenya and their national team. I really hope that all this switching between club and country is not too confusing but it is definitely helping to keep the save interesting given the ease at which I am dominating the Grenadian domestic competitions with Mount Rich. As you may recall, we were in the midst of our World Cup qualifying campaign and were on the verge of achieving something historic. Kenya have never before travelled to a World Cup finals but we were just one point away from booking our place at Australia 2022. Could we do it? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- FIFA World Cup CAF Qualifying Section DETAILS: With the 2022 World Cup due to be held in Australia next summer, the qualification tournaments for the relevant geographical areas are now coming to a close. The African side of qualifying sees just five sides granted passage to the World Cup, those that finish atop their respective groups. So far we had put together a memorable qualification campaign. We defeated Liberia and Benin in our two opening games before beating favourites Egypt 4-0 in a thrilling game at home. We followed this up with a fourth victory, an away one against Benin to leave ourselves in pole position going into the final two fixtures. Fortunately for us, Egypt lost a match against Benin, leaving us with a six point lead and the knowledge that a single point from our final two games would secure us a place in the World Cup. Even if we lost both games and Egypt or Benin won both of theirs, our rivals would still have to turn around a nine goal differential. SQUAD SELECTION: No major injury setbacks here and so I was able to select a full strength squad. Newgen, Joseph Jackson Were has become my first choice shot stopper recently and he joins central defender Joseph Mwaniki as one of two newgens in the starting eleven. There is also a call-up for 17 year old Duncan Mbugi, a holding midfielder who looks suited to playing the ball-winning role currently held by Victor Wanyama. Wanyama is the most experienced member of this squad, having now reached 86 international appearances. 32 year old Humphrey Mieno is another midfield veteran who has racked up 60 caps of his own. Forward Michael Olunga is the countries leading all-time scorer, having netted 40 times in his 59 international games. Ali Abondo has proven to be a very talented addition to the squad. The 32 year old plays for Bloem Celtic in South Africa and was a bit of a late bloomer, totalling 38 caps at this point of his career. FIFA World Cup CAF Qualifying Section RESULTS: We had just two games left in our qualification group, one against a strong Egyptian side before we finished of the campaign with a home engagement against bottom side Liberia. Remember, just a single point required to secure a place at the 2022 World Cup in Australia! Game 1. FIFA World Cup CAF Qualifying Section (Third Round, Group 1): vs Egypt (World Ranking = 41st) Our heroics in the reverse fixture against Egypt were not able to be replicated here as we fell to our first defeat of the campaign in front of a massive 64,507 strong crowd. We had an absolutely awful first half and went into the break trailing by three goals. Our attacking mentality just left us far too open at the back and, although we did create some chances of our own, the clinical finishing of the Egyptians cost us dearly. They took the lead following an early corner and then Mohamed Salah, who we had kept very quiet in the first game, smashed a finish into the bottom corner. Things got even worse when Ramadan Sobhi, now of Everton, finished off the woodwork just before the interval. We kept trying to attack in the second period and we were handed a life line when Paul Kiongera, on as a halftime substitute, swept home a finish just nine minutes into the second half. A nice bit of pressure from us then followed but we could not make it count and Egypt grabbed a fourth when Sobhi stabbed home from close range. Our leading all-time scorer, Michael Olunga, then scored a fine header late on but ultimately we were outclassed by a talented Egyptian attacking unit. This meant we went into our final game knowing that a point would be enough to see us qualify for the World Cup! Game 2. FIFA World Cup CAF Qualifying Section (Third Round, Group 1): vs Liberia (World Ranking = 91st) Just what we needed! A decisive performance and one that puts this squad in the history books. It was a game for our stars to shine in and boy did they! Victor Wanyama gave us the lead just after the half hour mark when he confidently buried a penalty awarded after a push on Humphrey Mieno. We then doubled our advantage just six minutes later when Michael Olunga tapped home following a brilliant right-wing cross from fullback Jerry Santo. Olunga added his second, and our third, minutes after the restart as he again latched onto a cross from Santo to steer a finish into the bottom corner. There was time for Liberia to grab a very late consolation but overall this was a superb performance and one that highlighted our attacking mentality and willingness to take the game to our opponents. We ended up limiting our opponents to just three shots on target which was very pleasing but once again we struggled to dominate possession. This is not a major concern as the tactic we use is designed to make the most of possession quickly - I am not about that 'keep-ball' life. STANDINGS: QUALIFIED! A stellar qualification campaign sees us finish atop the group and gain a place at Australia 2022. Egypt did win their final two games but our defeat of Liberia in the final game meant we finished with 15 points, from five victories in just six games. We ended the group stages with the both the best attacking and defensive records. We scored an impressive 16 goals, three more than Egypt, and conceded just 8. This will be the very first World Cup that Kenya have ever participated in! Not only that, but I think it will be the first ever World Cup that I have participated in within a FM save, which is very exciting. The African qualification tournament threw up a few other surprises alongside us winning our group. We will be joined in Australia by South Africa, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Cape Verde. Ghana, Tunisia and Cameroon all finished bottom of their respective groups, whilst Morocco and Algeria both were also nowhere near to qualifying. OTHER NEWS: The main news for the Kenya national team is that of some of the group draws for our upcoming competitions. Prior to the World Cup, the national team will have two other competitions to compete in. Group Draw - CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup The first of those competitions is the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup. This tournament takes place in December and is one that we actually managed to win last season. It is a small tournament, competed over by the national sides of the Central and East African nations. The initial groups have been drawn and we were awarded a fairly easily looking one on paper where we will play against Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia. I will look into each of those teams in a bit more detail when the competition kicks off but I would love to be competing in the final of this tournament for a second season in a row. Group Draw - Total African Championship of Nations The more committed readers amongst you will remember that we also managed to qualify for the Total African Championship of Nations. This competition takes place in January but has the slight uniqueness in that it is for domestic-based national team players only. We have been drawn in a group with Senegal, Gabon and Zambia. but I cannot read too much into that given the weird squad selection rule. A brief look appears to show that most of the best Senegalese players participate in foreign leagues and therefore will not be available for selection. Zambia have a number of solid looking newgens who still play in their domestic division and therefore they could be a threat. Again, I will look at these teams in more detail when the tournament starts and hopefully this will give me a better understanding of the strength of each side! Group Draw - World Cup 2022 And the big one... Unsurprisingly we were grouped in with the 4th seeds and so were always going to be given a tough looking draw. Group B, where we will face off against Spain, Belgium and Uruguay! Things do not get much harder than that for your first ever World Cup appearance. Realistically, there is no way I am getting out of this group but it will be fun to get to play in this elite tournament, against some of the best teams in the world. Elsewhere, there are not many groups that are tougher than ours and I think it is probably safe to say that we have managed to find ourselves in the group of death. Nigeria have a tough draw, having to face Brazil, Portugal and South Korea but the easiest group is undoubtedly Group A where two from Australia, Austria, Serbia and Honduras will go through to the next round. The final team in Group H is Costa Rica. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So we have quite a lot to look forward to with regards to the national team side of things, culminating in a first ever World Cup appearance. I hope you are all enjoying this side of the save! National team management has definitely added an extra dimension to this career and it is definitely something that I have thoroughly enjoyed alongside domestic dominance in Grenada. I will be back soon with a final update of the season from Mount Rich, which will cover the final few league games and the Waggy-T Super Knockout Cup tournament!
  8. Hopefully for a longer stint this time around! Alec Leo looks like a really solid prospect. If I had him at a professional club with some better training facilities I think he genuinely could become a top player in some of the European divisions.
  9. Update 26: September & October 2021 Team: Mount Rich Division: GFA Premier Division Having had some very successful times with Kenya recently, I am going to switch back my focus to Grenada and our league campaign with Mount Rich. As you may remember we kicked off the season in style, going unbeaten through the first month and seemingly proving too classy for the rest of the Caribbean island teams. This update will cover the middle two months of the year, where we also received our latest youth intake and found out our opponents for the first round of the Waggy-T Super Knockout. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- GFA Premier Division RESULTS: W = 7, D = 0, L = 0 We continued our superb start to the year, where we won our opening six games, by recording another seven victories through September and October. We had some potentially tricky games here but we overcame any potential banana skins and ending this two month span scoring 18 goals and conceding just twice. We kicked things off with a closely fought away win against Grenada Boys Secondary School before thrashing a good Happy Hill side at home. We followed that with back to back away wins, including a 1-0 victory against a strong Hard Rock FC team. We beat lowly Boca Juniors and New Hampshire United easily before ending October with a 2-0 home win against title rivals Paradise Sports Club. PLAYER STATISTICS: New signing Shalrie Augustine (7.90) has really been excellent this season in the league, netting 7 times in just nine appearances. The duo of Joel Francois-Ravalier (7.69) and Cassim Millette (7.69) continue to impress, with the youngsters combining for 11 assists, 91 key passes played and 37 chances created. The two youth products have really become the focal points for this side and it is great to see how quickly they have developed. Our defensive play has been solid and young Benin defender Moukaram Abidjo (7.25) has had a fine season. The teenager has chipped in with two goals and 27 defensive interceptions in his 13 games. Christ Kisangala (7.05), one of the few remaining real-world players in my squad, has had another strong season in defence and young keeper Marc Walcott (7.10) has outplayed David Ibeh (7.01) between the sticks. In midfield, young ball winner Alister Rennie (6.99) has played well alongside Francois-Ravalier in his inaugural full season in the first eleven. He has outplayed the likes of Chad Mark (6.94) who has been relegated to a back-up role this year. Our leading scorer this year is once again Shaddai Sampson (7.39). The youngster has netted 10 goals in his 17 games as well as contributing a further six assists. Kyle Thomas (7.11) has also emerged as a classy player. Operating in the shadow striker role, the youth academy product has scored 6 goals and played 23 key passes in his 14 games. LEAGUE TABLE: With just five league games left to play, the prospect of an undefeated season is very much on the cards. Not only are we looking as though we could go unbeaten, we also look likely to win every single game we play which would result in a maximum points haul of 54 points! Hard Rock FC have had a brilliant year themselves, losing just the one game to ourselves but elsewhere the league has been a bit of a mixed bag. Paradise Sports Club are third but only a few points ahead of Greanda Secondary School. Happy Hill, after a brilliant year last time out, find themselves in 5th. Things are not looking good for the bottom four sides, with New Hampshire United failing to win a game yet this season! OTHER NEWS: Not too much going on in terms of other news but I do have a few bits to report on from Grenada. Injuries: No injuries for any of our major contributors but it was a shame to see these two youth academy players go down with fairly severe knocks. Firstly we lost forward Cassim Redhead for a month and a half with a twisted ankle. The youngster had netted his first professional goal this season and looks like a decent prospect for the future if he can avoid any more setbacks. We then lost Ethan McQueen for about eight weeks. The young winger is being converted to fullback and currently backs up Cassim Millette, having made six appearances this year with an average rating of 7.60. Youth Intake: It is that time of year again when clubs in Grenada receive their yearly youth intake and this time around we picked up a really exciting prospect. Since joining Mount Rich I have always received players from the youth intake who have lots of potential but given our part-time nature and lack of quality facilities, helping them fulfil that potential has been a bit of a struggle. What I have not seen, until now, is players with high levels of current ability. Alec Leo looks like he could walk into the first team right away and I honestly would not be too disheartened if I received this sort of youth player in the European leagues. Leo is a central defender with a resolute personality and a high level for determination. His physical attributes are pretty solid, with a superb level for strength given his age, although his pace and acceleration need work. He has some solid technical traits, including decent enough numbers for marking and tackling, although he is not brilliant in the air. His mental attributes are very good for a 16 year old, with a good rating for bravery, decisions and positioning. I signed a number of the other prospects in this group, with the best of the rest likely being forward Bradley Mark and holding midfielder Earldon Andrew. Waggy-T Knockout Draw: Grenada only domestic cup competition takes place during the final month of the season and the draw for the first round has recently been made. We get an away game but against fairly easily opposition in the form of Ball Dogs. This side have been in and out of the GFA Premier Division since I joined Mount Rich and I would be very disappointed if they were able to knock us out. Remember, this is the competition that I have won in every single season that I have have managed in Grenada! Manager Profile: Not much to report in terms of my attributes but I decided I needed to keep developing my repertoire. This will see me secure my first continental license and hopefully mean I start to attract interest from clubs. Despite my Grenadian successes and work with Kenya, I have not been offered any other jobs thus far in this save. For now, I am happy in Grenada but it is becoming a bit of an monotonous job given the ease with which we are dominating the domestic competitions. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The aim with Mount Rich is to obviously win some form of continental competition but given the strength of some of the Jamaican and Trinidadian sides, that is proving to be a very ambitious aim. I think I will work on making the club the most successful in Grenadian history and when I get to that stage, if I am still struggling with continental progress, I might look for a new club challenge. The next update from me will be switching back to the international side of things with Kenya, where we play our final two World Cup qualifying games. We face off against Egypt and then Liberia, knowing that we need just a single point over the two fixtures to secure a first ever World Cup finals appearance for Victor Wanyama and company... Hope you guys are all still enjoying this save! I am having a lot of fun playing through it and have become very attached to some of the youngsters that I have developed at Mount Rich.
  10. Essentially the same one that I use with Mount Rich (5-2-1-2 with WBs). I have found that three centre backs (with two playing with the cover mentality) usually means I can deal with pacy attackers. In addition, I have Victor Wanyama winning the ball back in midfield and he does a great job at stemming the oppositions best creative players. In attack, the wingbacks provide adequate width whilst my trio of forwards cause all sorts of problems, especially as we play on an overall attacking mentality. I sort of decided it was not worth trying to play defensively or on the counter, as we do not have a goof enough back three or goalkeeper. Thought I might as well take the game to the opposition and thus far it has produced some very positive results.
  11. Thanks very much! Hopefully will have some more updates out over the weekend. I know, way better than I ever could have imagined. We definitely have been dealt a nice hand having Egypt in our group as they seem out of sorts at the international level currently. Qualifying for the World Cup would be an absolute miracle!
  12. Update 25: September 2021 Team: Kenya Division: FIFA World Cup CAF Qualifying Section Apologies for taking so long to get this update written, I have not had much time to play the last few weeks but I did manage to get this short international break played. I have really enjoyed managing Kenya thus far. They participate in a number of international competitions and each one has brought a new challenge to this save. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- FIFA World Cup CAF Qualifying Section DETAILS: The 2022 World Cup is due to be held in Australia and, although Kenya have never previously qualified for a World Cup before, I would have the chance to do so thanks to the CAF Qualifying Section. The qualifiers for the African section consist of two initial knockout rounds, both of which had been completed before I joined. Due to our ranking we entered in the second round, where we defeated Mozambique, in a two-legged tie to progress to the group stages. The group stages are very simple, five groups of four teams with everyone playing each other twice and the top placed team from each group qualifying directly for the World Cup. As you may remember, we were drawn in a group alongside Liberia, Benin and Egypt. We had already kicked off our qualifying campaign as we defeated Liberia 4-3 in a thrilling away fixture before defeating Benin at home with a solid 1-0 victory. We actually topped the group going into the next round of fixtures since Benin managed to pull off a surprise victory against a talented Egypt side. The next two fixtures for us were likely the toughest of this qualifying campaign so far; a home tie with favourites Egypt and then a tricky away trip to Benin. SQUAD SELECTION: A few changes here from the usual selections as a couple of injuries meant we were down a few of the regular starters. One injury, to Patrick Matasi, means that young shot stopper Joseph Jackson Were will be handed starting honours in goal. We would also be missing right fullback Jerry Santo, meaning Daniel Mzee or Simon Mbugua (who was carrying a small knock of his own) would have to fill in on the right. Young newgen Joseph Mwaniki is quickly becoming one of the best players in the entire squad whilst I also called up Eric Omondi to the full senior squad after the central defender impressed during the recent domestic-only African Championship of Nations Qualification games. Victor Wanyama is our leader in midfield but English-based youngster Henry Ochieng is becoming more influential at this level. The experienced duo of Ali Abondo and Humphrey Mieno are included as was Collins Okoth, after the experienced holding midfielder also played excellently in the recent African Championship of Nations games. Up front, Michael Olunga leads the line but he will be able supported by the domestic based duo Innocent Mutiso and Paul Kiongera alongside the versatile George Odhiambo. FIFA World Cup CAF Qualifying Section RESULTS: Kenya have never managed to qualify for a World Cup before in their history. Given our exceptional results in our first two games, and the fact that we topped the group, we went into these fixtures with a glimmer of hope at breaking some records. Game 1. FIFA World Cup CAF Qualifying Section (Third Round, Group 1): vs Egypt (World Ranking = 42nd) Oh. My. Goodness. This was by far the most challenging match-up of the group stage thus far, as we faced off against a very strong Egyptian side led by the enigmatic Mohamed Salah and former Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny. Egypt are ranked above us in the world but have not had the greatest of success recently on the international scene, having been knocked out in the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations earlier in the year. This was probably the best international performance since I joined Kenya as we ran out deserved winners. This was not a smash-and-grab victory, we actually played very well and created chances freely. We got off to a flying start when Innocent Mutiso slotted home a neat finish from inside the area after just two minutes. Ali Abondo, who had a brilliant game overall, then doubled our lead midway through the first period as he rifled into the bottom corner. The second half saw us switch to a more defensive focus as we attempted to preserve our lead. We finished the game in fine style though as Mutiso grabbed his second of the game, latching onto a brilliant through ball from Abondo, before placing a neat finish beyond the Egyptian goalkeeper. The final few minutes saw us add a fourth after an Egyptian defender turned home a left wing cross from Eric Ouma. We held Mohamed Salah to a 6.7 match rating, where he had just two shots and lost possession more times than he won it back. Mohamed Elneny was even less effective, grading out at a 6.4. In comparison our superstar, Victor Wanyama, had an 8.7 rating and a game his 14 tackles! This was a superb victory for us and one that I really did not expect given the difference in strength of our two squads. Game 2. FIFA World Cup CAF Qualifying Section (Third Round, Group 1): vs Benin (World Ranking = 69th) Benin are a pretty solid outfit but we were flying high following our outrageous success over Egypt and we continued our excellent qualifying campaign with another victory. We travelled away to the Benin national stadium and had to play out this fixture in front of a 31,288 strong crowd. This game saw Michael Olunga take over after a quiet individual game against Egypt. The rangy forward confidently converted a penalty midway through the first half before adding a trademark goal, a thumping header, in the second period following a top cross from left fullback Eric Ouma. We once again did not manage to control possession but we had 19 total shots and limited our opponents to just two shots on target for the entire contest. Victor Wanyama again had a solid game but it was Humphrey Mieno alongside him that stood out. The 32 year old was appearing in his 60th international game and completed 70 passes, four of which were marked as key passes. This victory meant we had now won our first four qualifying games! I never thought such a feat would be possible when I started this campaign! STANDINGS: Remember, only the top side qualifies for the 2022 World Cup in Australia. At the moment we are going to be there as we have won our first four qualifying games. Any sort of result (win or draw) in either of our final two games will see us qualify. Even if we lose the next two games, we will still likely qualify due to our extensive goal difference at this time. Egypt and Benin both managed to win their games against Liberia during this international period but our two victories mean we sit above everyone. Our final two games see us travel to Egypt before hosting lowly Liberia in the final round. I cannot begin to tell you how exciting this is! I do not think I have ever actually participated in a World Cup on FM before and I do not want to get ahead of myself before we are actually officially qualified, but this is shaping up to be a very impressive achievement. Lets be honest, not qualifying from this position would be an absolute disaster... OTHER NEWS: World Rankings: Two victories against countries ranked above ourselves sees us once again climb the rankings. We are now up to 73rd, just five places behind Kenya's highest ever ranking of 68th, which was achieved back in 2008. When I joined we were ranked 107th but tumbled to 121st after some very poor early performances under my reign. Since then things have been excellent and we are truly clubbing the ranks of international football. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- That concludes this round of international football, with the final two World Cup qualifiers being played out before the end of the calendar year, I will be back soon to see if we can mathematical secure a passage to the 2022 World Cup in Australia. I am using the same tactic with both Kenya and Mount Rich at the moment and it is providing some excellent results on both fronts!
  13. Haha. He's one of our worst youth products but definitely the one with the best name... Wanyama is an incredible talent and one who I do not think we will ever be able to replace. That being said, the young centreback Joseph Mwaniki is looking better every time I select a new squad. My staff already rate him as the one of best players in the squad so who knows, maybe he can get somewhere near Wanyama's level... but for now he still plays in the lower leagues of Kenya. Thanks rodesire! Yeah, I had read I would need to acquire a sum around that amount of money... I would have to win a few Caribbean Champions Leagues and get a few appearances in the CONCACAF Champions League in order to get anywhere near the million pound mark.
  14. Update 24: August 2021 Team: Mount Rich Division: GFA Premier Division Having detailed the current Mount Rich squad in the last update, I will be starting the next domestic season in Grenada during this one. During my four years in the Caribbean I have put together a superbly strong squad, one which this year has more depth than ever before. The majority of the players I have under contract are very young, meaning we should continue to improve as the years progress. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- GFA Premier Division RESULTS: W = 6, D = 0, L = 0 We kicked off the season in style, albeit against a number of weaker sides from the division. We opened our league campaign with an excellent home win against a sold Queen's Park Rangers side before following that up with an emphatic 4-1 away win against newly promoted Boca Juniors and a 5-0 home hammering of New Hampshire United. Our toughest game of the month saw us travel to Paradise Sports Club where, despite falling behind in the early stages, we rallied and secured a brilliant away win. We ended August with another two victories, at home to St. John's Sports and then a closely fought away contest with T.A. Marryshow Community College. Our attacking play throughout this month was amazing. We netted an astonishing 19 goals in just six fixtures as our offensive play was too much for the division to handle. As good as we were going forward, we were also excellent defensively, conceding just twice and keeping four clean sheets. If we keep us this level of play, a second undefeated season could well be on the cards! PLAYER STATISTICS: It is worth bearing in mind that these statistics also include data from our Caribbean Cup games earlier in the year so are not quite as outstanding as you might expect following our league form. Still, we have 16 players who currently hold an average rating of at least 7.0! Unsurprisingly, the star man has been Cassim Millette (7.77). The young right wingback has been in tremendous form and has played a team high 33 key passes leading to 16 chances created. He is pretty solid defensively as well, averaging 3.54 tackles/game through his 10 appearances. Elsewhere in defence, Benin centreback Moukaram Abidjo (7.27) has really stepped up his play, collecting 17 defensive interceptions and chipping in with his first two professional goals. Christ Kisangala (7.04) leads the side with 26 interceptions whilst goalkeepers David Ibeh (7.04) and Marc Walcott (7.03) have spilt shot stopping duties but both have impressed. In midfield, the stand out has once again been Joel Francois-Ravalier (7.57). The youngster has been in fine form again this year and has played 26 key passes to go along with two goals and three assists. Young ball-winner Alister Rennie (7.01) has played solidly alongside him, averaging an impressive 3.38 tackles/game. In attack, some of the new signings have really stepped up. Most impressive has been Shalrie Augustine (8.47), who has netted five times in as many games since joining the club at the start of the season. He has played very nicely alongside the ever present Shaddai Sampson (7.50), who himself leads the team with six individual goals. I have also seen an increase in the level of play of Kyle Thomas (7.15), who has collected three goals and played 19 key passes in his role behind the front two forwards. LEAGUE TABLE: Unsurprisingly, our excellent league form sees us top the table heading into the international break. Hard Rock FC have started the year very well and they too are currently undefeated (although they have drawn three of their six games). Last seasons runners-up, Happy Hill, have not had the best of starts this year and currently find themselves languishing in 6th position. Our superb attacking performance sees us top the division with a healthy +17 goal difference. We have a slightly tour run of games in September starting with a triple header against a defensively sound Grenada Boys Secondary School, a home game against Happy Hill and then a trip to our only current competition Hard Rock FC. OTHER NEWS: Not too much in the way of other news on the Mount Rich front but I have a few small bits of information that might interest you. Injuries: Firstly we lost left fullback Joel Alexander to some pulled knee ligaments. The youngster had been playing well defensively and is now the nations number one left back for the senior Grenada side. Luckily we have a very talented replacement for Alexander in the form of Zimbabwean Tatenda Amini. We then lost young forward Shalrie Augustine to a twisted ankle. The 20 year old had been playing excellent, as previously mentioned, and this was a bit of a blow considering how in-form he had been. Still, we had acquired a bit of depth upfront this season and so hopefully it would not be too big a blow to our overall form. That being said, we then lost Rui Reis to a very long-term injury when he broke his toe kicking a ball in training. The Portuguese forward had made just two first team appearances but was next in-line to get some game time after the injury to Augustine. Instead, I will now be relying on the old duo of Uriah Enoe and Shavon Bishop, both of whom have not really got going this league campaign. International News: The latest international break saw the latest Grenada squads be announced and we had a huge number of call-ups! In total, 23 of our players would be representing in either the U20 or senior squads which goes to show how dominant we have become in this nation. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So that concludes my first month back in Grenada and it is safe to say that it has been a very successful one. It is now the international break and I have a couple of World Cup qualifiers to look forward to with Kenya so I will likely be switching back to focus on those in my next update. I hope the constant switching between Kenya and Mount Rich does not become an annoyance. I am having a lot of fun playing with the different challenges that both squads present and would be reluctant at this point to solely focus on just one or the other...
  15. Update 23: Preseason 2021 Team: Mount Rich Division: GFA Premier Division Having played through a number of different international competitions with the Kenya squad, I will now be returning to Grenada and to Mount Rich. I have been crowned league champions in three of the past four seasons as well as winning the domestic cup for four consecutive years. I realise that I have not detailed what the Mount Rich squad looks like for a few years now so rather than just covering this preseasons transfer activities I will instead take a bit of a more in depth look at the players that have made us the most reputable side in Grenada. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- BOARD ROOM: I will kick things off by taking a quick look at the financial side of things. In terms of general money, we are easily the most wealthy club in Grenada with an overall balance of around £300,000. Although this is fairly impressive for a part-time club, it still is not enough for the board to consider turning professional or approving any training facility upgrades. Our positive overall financial outlook has resulted in some very healthy budgets being handed out this year. Both of these figures are the highest that they have ever been in my career. The transfer budget, although impressive, is a figure that I do not pay much attention to given that I am not really in the business of buying players. The wage budget however, has proved very helpful in allowing me to retain my best players by offering them new, lucrative contracts when foreign sides come sniffing for their services. Board Objectives (2021) GFA Premier Division - Win the GFA Premier Division Waggy-T Super Knockout Football Tournament - Win the Waggy-T Knockout Unsurprisingly, the board are well aware that we are the best side in the country and therefore, at a minimum, expect us to retain both our league and cup title. There are a few decent domestic sides in Grenada, and the level of competition in the top division has definitely improved since the first year I was here, but I am confident that I can achieve both of these targets. CLUB STAFF: I have successfully put together a pretty hefty backroom staff considering we are a semi-professional club. Assistant manager Anthony Hart has been with me since the start of this save, as has Head of Youth Development Kwan Marshall who has been very successful at recruiting some talented youngsters for the club. Our coaching staff are superb for this level, with Trinidadian coach Ricardo London being the true standout, with a skill set that would not look out of place in some of the lower European leagues. We also recently signed former Mount Rich player Henson Cuffie as a scout. THE SQUAD: Seniors: Here is the senior squad that I will be using this coming season. Hopefully there are a few names here that you recognise but there definitely will be a few that you do not! The first thing to point out is that this squad is young! The oldest member of the first eleven in 29 year old Raymond Alleyne but after him, the next senior player is Christ Kisangala at just 24. My strongest starting lineup will feature five teenagers and two 20 year olds. Goalkeepers: I will likely rotate both of these shot stoppers but the best in terms of ability is David Ibeh. The 20 year old Nigerian joined on a free transfer a few seasons ago but spent last year on loan in his homeland. He has only played four Mount Rich games in his career but he looks set to be a primary number one this season. His main competition comes in the form of Marc Walcott, a recent youth academy product who recently made his full international debut for Grenada at the age of 17. David Ibeh profile. Central Defenders: Raymond Alleyne is the most experienced member of the squad having won 50 senior international caps and has been a regular starter for us the past two seasons having joined on a free transfer following a stint in Trinidad & Tobago. You should be aware of Christ Kisangala, the Democratic Republic of Congo defender was our first foreign acquisition and has made 80 first team appearances over the past three seasons. Also in the squad are the experienced Nicko Williams, young Benin national Moukaram Abidjo, who has recently become an established first team player, and Nicko John. Christ Kisangala profile Fullbacks: Despite being listed as a winger, Cassim Millette is easily our best wingback. The teenage youth academy product collected 13 assists in 30 club games last season and is a real talent. On the left we have Joel Alexander, a fellow Grenadian who I picked up last year on a free transfer from Paradise Sports Club. Also on the left I have Tatenda Amini, a young Zimbabwean wingback who is entering his third season with Mount Rich. Cassim Millette profile Central Midfielders: We start two youth academy players in the centre of midfield, including one who is probably my favourite player in the squad, Joel Francois-Ravlier. The 19 year old has already made 16 senior national team appearances and is part of the same youth class as Millette - 2018 was a good year for us! Alongside him is the young Alistair Rennie, a ball-winner who made 31 club appearances over his first two seasons with us. The experienced duo of Chad Mark and Kareem Coutain present two solid rotational options. Joel Francois-Ravalier profile Attacking Midfielders: The tactic I use has the need for a single attacking midfielder or shadow striker and we have a number of solid options in this position. The best, and most exciting, is Kyle Thomas. He is another young youth product but is already one of the better players at the club and is currently gaining preference over Kyle John-Brown who held this role for the past few seasons. Thomas completely bypassed the Grenada U20 set-up and was interred straight into the senior squad, where he has made 8 appearances. Kyle Thomas profile Forwards: These are probably the least talented players in the squad but they thrive in our tactic given the talent around them. The best is without a doubt Shaddai Sampson, the 20 year old who joined during my first season with Mount Rich. During his time he has become the clubs record goalscorer, netting 59 times in his first three seasons. Alongside him we have Uriah Enoe, another player who joined in my first year and who is slightly behind Sampson with 55 career club goals. Youngster Shavon Bishop never looks that talented but has a definite eye for goal whilst I also recently signed young Shalrie Augustine from Paradise Sports Club and Portuguese attacker Rui Reis to bolster depth. Shaddai Sampson profile Under 20s: I have managed to build up some very significant depth over the past few years and it has meant we have become the most well-rounded squad in Grenada by a mile. Our U20 squad is very strong and I would not be surprised to see them compete well if they were allowed to play in the same division as the senior side. Some of the better players included goalkeeper Patrick Walcott, who was the clubs starting shot stopper last season and Ugandan central defender Karim Juma, who should get some first team games this year. There is a whole lot of potential in this group and two of the most exciting additions, Kimron Phillip and Cassim Redhead, are from last years youth intake. TACTICS: I have been using this set-up for quite a while now and, due to its success, it is also the one that I utilise with the Kenyan national squad. The three central defenders are primarily responsible for defensive duties, with one being set to 'cover' in order to neutralise any long balls and the pacy forwards that seem to littler Grenadian football. The wingbacks are far more involved in attacking play and provide the width when our build-up play cannot work through the central areas. I will always set one midfielder to play as an attacker and one primarily as a defender to ensure some central balance. I have recently been playing the attacking midfielder as a shadow striker to add some extra offensive firepower and I always have one forward playing slightly deeper than our poacher. I almost always play on 'attacking', including during continental competitions, and I have a number of team instructions that I commonly use. All players in front of the three central defenders have personal player instructions but these are predominately used to minimise/maximise skills such as crossing, dribbling and risky passing depending on player skill level. Friendly RESULTS: W = 6, D = 0, L = 2 We had a very successful preseason in terms of friendly results bar an appalling fixture with Grenada Boys Secondary School and a home humiliation courtesy of strong Jamaican outfit Cunupia. Other than those two games, our attacking tactic worked perfectly and we were a constant menace offensively, scoring a total of 23 goals in these eight warm-up games. We headed into the season free of any major injuries and I was therefore confident that we should be able to secure anther league and cup double. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I hope this has helped provide some insight into the players I am managing at this level. I am well aware that most of these guys are not particularly amazing in terms of skill level but they are very decent for this level of football. I will hopefully be back very soon with an update regarding the first few months of the league season, following which I will be heading back to Africa for the next round of World Cup qualification games with Kenya. Thanks again for all the likes, comments and views! Really appreciate it you guys!