Mkbw50
7 years ago
1 month ago
58

It's time for another run of Money Mode, where I start unemployed with no badges and apply for every job I can, taking as much money as I can, with no loyalty.

 

Statistics

 

Uganda (9 Jul 2023- at £850 pw):

2025 CAF Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers: Qualified

2026 African Nations Championship Qualifiers: Qualified

 

Sarawak United FC (9 Dec 2023-7 Oct 2024 at £400 pw (£17,314.29), 7 Oct 2024-6 Jun 2025 at £425 pw (£14,692.86), 6 Jun 2025- at £450 pw):

2024 Piala FA Malaysia: Preliminary Round

2024 MBSB Bank Championship: 8th

2025 Piala FA Malaysia: First Round

 

I get my applications in, and the first offers come from a host of international teams, mostly youth, but two seniors: Uganda and American Samoa. Uganda are offering £850 p/w, much more than the American Samoans, and so I'm off to be the most-loved Briton in Kampala since that doctor in The Last King of Scotland. There is little to do at this early stage; Uganda did not qualify for the upcoming AFCON, but there will be African World Cup qualifiers in November.

 

The game has used the actual 2026 FIFA World Cup CAF draw, in which Uganda have been placed in Group G with Algeria, Guinea, Mozambique, Botswana, and Somalia. Uganda is hardly known as a football powerhouse, but they were in Pot 3 for this draw, and were the top team in the pot, one place below Equatorial Guinea, the lowest in Pot 2. The other teams were written above in seeded order.

 

Uganda began its footballing history in the Gossage Cup (sponsored by a soap company) in 1926, contested with Kenya on a yearly basis (more or less), then adding Tanganyika in 1945, and Zanzibar in 1947 for a four-way tournament. This still exists today in the form of the CECAFA Cup (the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations), although it is no longer a priority and most federations now send B or U23 teams.

 

In the World Cup, Uganda didn't bother entering qualifying until 1978, but haven't really gotten close. In terms of African Cup of Nations, they qualified in their first attempt in 1962, when the tournament only had four teams, and were runners-up in 1978. However, they did not qualify again until 2017, and then did so again in 2019. However, they missed out in 2021.

 

In 2022 World Cup qualifiers, they came up short in a group dominated by Mali. In qualifiers for the 2023 AFCON, Uganda were in a close race with Tanzania in a group dominated by Algeria. On the final day, Uganda had to beat Niger and hope Tanzania lost in Annaba. While Uganda did their job, Tanzania managed a 0-0 draw and Serbian coach Milutin Sredojević was sacked. This is where the game diverges from real life, as they turned to me for help.

 

With the expanded 2026 World Cup, there are now more spots for Africa. There are nine groups of six teams (home-and-away), with the winners of each group qualifying. The top four runners-up also advance to a mini-tournament for a play-off place. This guarantees regular competitive football for the forseeable, with ten games in our group.

 

Mkbw50
7 years ago
1 month ago
58

So our first international break is that of November 2023, as we visit Somalia and host Guinea. The license pack hasn't come out yet so it's the "World Cup African Qualifying Section" "Group 7", but it'll do.

 

So, what of our squad? We have a few players in decent leagues, with Uche Ikpeazu (28), our best player, not actually recieving a cap before as his only call-up saw matches postponed due to COVID-19. He is a fringe striekr for Turkish top-flight mid-table side Konyaspor. The squad is relatively old, with the best players Ikpeazu, Bevis Mugabi, Khalid Aucho and Richard Kassaga all 28 or thirty. Centre-back Mugabi (28) is a fixture for Scottish top-flight team Motherwell in their bid to avoid relegation, with basement rivals Livingston interested in poaching him. Defensive midfielder Aucho (30) plays for Young Africans, one of Tanzania's top sides. And Kassaga (30) lines up for Olympique de Béja, in the Tunisian top flight. I pick a squad mostly of those who are good now, with a 4-2-4 DM Wide formation on positive.

 

Somalia were at the time of the draw the bottom-ranked team in all of Africa, and despite being away we are 10/11 favourites. In a remarkable turn of events, the Somali Civil War seems to have ended as we are playing in Mogadishu (something that hasn't happened in real life in nearly forty years). Therefore, this is a must-win. Ikpeazu is a pressing forward, with Emmanuel Okwi as advanced forward.

 

So the game starts and Somalia kick-off. They come forward, lose possession, and in forty seconds we go up the other end and score through Moses Opondo. 0-1. A move that takes an eternity falls to Aucho who fires home from outside the box. 0-2. Some lax defending allows Siad Haji to score before half time, so it's 1-2. The second half shows a free-kick chipped in and headed home by centre-back Timothy Awany, and a smart move from a throw-in allows Allan Kateregga to make it 4-1. So far so good. But then something remarkable happens. Some utterly shocking defending allows their captain Ali Musse to score in the 84th. 2-4. Then a low driven cross is unmarked and he scores again in the 86th. 3-4. And in injury time, he is completely unmarked to finish an eight minute hattrick and tie it 4-4. Then, with injury time made up, my centre-back gives it straight to their other striker... who fires over with a golden chance. But we still draw 4-4, an awful result away to Somalia.

 

Our next game is at home to Guinea. That's the number two seed in the group, and the only team that won their opener at home to Botswana. They're only twelve ranks ahead of us at the time of the draw, although they feel like a much bigger team in terms of reputation. Maybe that's just me. I go unchanged and stay Positive. Despite the debacle at the end, I was happy with my team's play, especially from set-pieces.

 

In fact, it's a masterstroke. Against a better team, with known players like Werder Bremen's 2019 European champion Naby Keïta and Stuttgart's Serhou Guirassy kept quiet, I dominate posession. I bring off a tired Ikpeazu for Fahad Bayo, not expecting much. But he scores soon after coming on, and Mugabi gets the second after a scramble from a corner. Bayo gets the third and it's a massive win against a better side.

 

I get myself ready for a long period of mashing space bar, with my next games in June. Every club has already rejected me, bar one. And with the season done, they approach me for an interview. I think the game didn't want them to interview me if they got relegated. But I'm accepted, by Sarawak Utd, in the Malaysian second tier. And I manage to get £400 per week off them. 

Mkbw50
7 years ago
1 month ago
58

So this team finished twelfth, but only one team went down in a thirteen-team league. Fantastic. The history of this club is genuinely interesting, so here you go:

 

Founded in 1974 as PB Melayu Malaysia, it seems that their history in the professional game is relatively recent. The PBSMM was and is a governing body of football specifically for the Malay ethnic group in Malaysia, and this was their representative team. However, in 2016, they entered the league structure, with them entering the FAM Cup, the third tier of Malaysian football. In 2017 they became PB Melayu Selangor; this then being run by the Selangor regional affiliate of the PBSMM. In 2018, they were rebranded again by Selangor United. They topped Group A of the FAM Cup, which then went to a knockout tournament, where they were losing finalists, enough to earn promotion to the 2019 Malaysia Premier League, the second tier.

 

They competed in the same league as the official Sarawak FA team, who got relegated, while Selangor stayed up. Therefore, the Sarawak team was abolished, and the Sarawak FA bought cash-strapped Selangor, rebranding them Sarawak United FC. In 2021, they got promoted to the top flight as runners-up. However, their cash issues scuppered them, as they got ejected for outstanding payment to staff and lost their license after the 2022 season. Ergo, they have been relegated to the second tier, now called the Malaysia M3 League (in fact that was the third tier, but the Premier League has been abolished so it is now the second). They are just as rubbish in the real-life 2023 season as in the game. In fact, it is much worse, with four points in 23 games in real life. They are still out of the relegation zone by a point though.

 

They don't have a manager on the game, but the 2023 season is over. In fact in real life it's a fourteen-team league, but one team got removed, and its represented as thirteen teams here. They came second-bottom in-game, although eight points clear, and lost in the TM Piala Malaysia in the first round (yes, I have the licenses now).

 

The new rules are out and it seems that we do now have fourteen teams again, with two promoted and two relegated. The fixture list shows a season where I begin in March and am told that the board wants me to avoid relegation from the Liga M3 and "be competitive" in the Piala FA. You got it.

 

Mkbw50
7 years ago
1 month ago
58

So, the state of the club. The finances are... okay, actually: for one, they're in the black, for now, but that won't last long as things stand. My first job is to get an assistant manager: I can choose between two regens with stats of 3 in both Judging Player Ability and Judging Player Potential. Class. I also get a Scout, who has a 4 in both categories. The playing squad has some real talent, but is completely deficient in wide areas, with no proper LM, RM, LB, or RB.

 

I've signed a couple players in time for our first friendly away to Sarawak (remember, we're Sarawak United) in the Liga Bolasepak Rakyat, which I think is the fourth or fifth tier now but according to Wikipedia was abolished in real life in 2017. I bought in Mohd Arif Azizan Ederis from M4 League Borneo (third-tier) side Machan, and he's going straight in as a left-back. I strengthened central defence with Che Mohd Arif Che Kamarudin on a free, and also brought in right-back Muhd Hashim Shamsudin. I still don't have any wide midfielders, but that can be worked on.

 

Our squad is pretty young, with the new additions being the oldest players in the whole squad, with Ederis at 30, Kamarudin at 29 and Shamsudin at 28. The best player is central midfielder Norman Angkun (23), but he is on the transfer list as he is running down his contract. I got a pretty paltry offer for him, and when he rejected he got a bit angry so I said that I'd let him leave for £8k to assuage him. He's not got any more offers for now.

 

Apart from Ederis and Kamarudin, our other best players are striker Alphonsus Joseph Willie (24) and Goalie Aquila Abdul Rhaman (23). With the ages so young, the potential is vast, and all I need to do is stay up right now. The board's vision is to work within the wage budget (required) and grow the club's reputation (desired). And this season it's required to avoid relegation and desired to be competitive in the Piala FA. Over the next five years they want me to continue to avoid getting relegated.

 

The friendly comes: I still don't have a proper right-midfielder, and though Angkun can slot in at left-mid for now, that's not a permanent solution. My tactic is a 4-4-2 direct counter-attack, ready for a season of being a lower-league team, and I realise non-league opposition isn't the best warm-up. Still, I don't expect to be 2-0 down within 25 minutes. For some reason Sarawak send everyone up for a free-kick and Willie scores on the counter-attack straight after half-time, which shows my philosophy can get results. We're soon level after an Angkun assist, again after winning back the ball... until Abdul Rhaman lets one squirm past him. I decide to go Very Attacking to see what they can do when taken off the leash. A half-cleared corner allows Willie to score his second and we're back level, until their striker is allowed too much freedom to make it 4-3, which is the final score.

 

It looks like it will be a pain to even scout players that feasibly could play at RM or LM at this rate. My scouts are finding nothing and I can pick out one or two players manually, but it's getting squeaky. The Piala FA draw puts us at home to Armed Forces in the Preliminary Round, who are also managed by an Englishman and one place above us last season, also changing the calendar a bit. The season will start on 1 March, and I badly need wide midifielders then. The next day, I have a friendly away to M4 League Borneo team Maqarize. I only make one change, and try and tinker. Angkun decides to go in with two feet and get sent off in the 15th minute, and so I move my out-of-position RM into CM, a sort of central 4-3-2. Ironically this probably sets me up better for my gameplan as I will have less possession. I manage to take the lead near the end but they score in injury time. It finishes 2-2. As well as no players in some positions, we also have no depth, and I'm getting tetchy. Even worse, the transfer window closes in eight days (a week before the first game). My scouts have failed me, and I can hardly blame them.

Our final friendly comes away to Machan, and it's a decent game. Again a late equaliser foils me, as we draw 2-2. It's time for deadline day.

Mkbw50
7 years ago
1 month ago
58

My scouts don't have a perfect fit, and I'm forced into signing basically anyone with a C- or above, and a whole lot of them are prospects. But at least my positions will be sorted. I bring in fifteen players (plus the first three), all of them frees. Ederis is annoyed I didn't improve the defence enough (I did), which was a promise I made, and wants to leave. And as he's a free agent, he just does. Most of my players are also not happy with training.

 

After the Piala FA draw, our game was moved from Thursday to Friday for reasons I don't really get. Anyway, it's the opening day of the season, away to promoted WTS (Wan Tendong Stable). Therefore, I decide to go attacking... we give away a penalty and they're 1-0 up in the fifth minute. Nerves creep in, but alas, we work our way back in. A corner isn't cleared, and midfielder Sulaiman Jamali, who will leave for Sarawak as soon as the window reopens, fires home. Then, their centre-back picks up a clusmy second yellow, and a free-kick is headed home by new right-back Muhd Hashim Shamsudin in injury time for a 2-1 lead at the break. Or at least, I thought that would be the case, but another highlight emerges, and captain Azman Chuchu ends a good counter-attacking move. 1-3 at half-time. Then, Angkar is brought down in the box, and Azkaharridhi Farhan Hasnan scores to make it 1-4. It's a great start to the season, and even better, it comes with 42% possession! I'm most proud though of centre-back Abbel Akwensivie, especially as he's nursing an injury.

 

Our next game is on the Wednesday in the Piala FA Preliminary Round, the only round before the first, where all teams outside the top-flight enter. We host Armed Forces, who finished one place above us last season, but lost their season opener. We immediately go 1-0 down due to some poor goalkeeping from Abdul Rhaman, but a corner comes to Jamali who equalises in the eighth minute. Our only senior right mid comes off with a knock in the 30th. A great through ball from Hasnan found Willie, and it comes to Angkun who scores on the eve of half-time. They switch to go more attacking and the onslaught works: on the hour-mark a low cross isn't dealt with and it's 2-2, five minutes later they score again to knock us out of the cup. Still, I think the gameplan worked broadly speaking: either side could have won on xG, we were just less clinical. Still, the board accept I was "competitive" and I pass the vision target.

 

We visit Melaka United on Sunday, who came sixth last season and won their opener. I stay unchanged again, but go Positive. They catch us over the top to lead. We start to build chances after this for the remainder of the first half, but we can't score and in the 80th minute they score from a corner to wrap up a 2-0 win. On the Wednesday we will face Naga UKS, who came 8th last season and have won both their opening games, but I go attacking to try and get some leverage. I'm on top but in the 25th minute, Abdul Rhaman comes off injured, his replacement is 1.5 stars. Not that he's to blame as their attacker is in acres of space and puts them one up. Chuchu has been firing long shots all day, to humourous and frustrating effect, and then randomly smashes one in from thirty metres to make it level at the break. We have some decent moves but we share the points. Still, not a bad result considering we need to come twelfth. Abdul Rhaman is injured but luckily we only have one game left before the Ramadan break anyway.

 

That game is on the Saturday at home to Kelantan United, who were relegated last season but have one win and two losses in their early fixtures. By the way, our ground, Stadium Sarawak, has a capacity of 40,000, but our attendance is in the three figures despite season tickets for £2. I go positive, only changing the injured Abdul Rhaman. We go 1-0 up on the half-hour mark in a highlight that takes forever. Then, Hasnan is lazily brought down in the box and the same man tucks home the pen in injury time for a 2-0 lead at the break. They score straight after half-time, but it lasts a minute after a Chuchu freekick is pushed straight into the path of Jamali by their keeper and tucked home. Then, Hasnan scoring in a move that started from our keeper seems to wrap it up. My keeper misjudges a cross to let them back in in the 75th minute, but we still take a 4-2 win.

 

That makes it two wins, a draw and a loss, plus a cup exit, before a six-week Ramadan break. Not bad when we're meant to be fighting the drop: we've already got a five-point buffer. Time to return to Uganda.

Mkbw50
7 years ago
1 month ago
58

Just a friendly away to Avram Grant's Zambia in this international break, last seen exiting the Africa Cup of Nations in the second round in a 4-0 humbling by Nigeria. A player that catches my eye to get into the squad is Faruku Miya, a regular starter for Turkish top-flight side Rizespor, while there is a decent battle for the no. 1 spot, with Ismail Watenga not starting for South African title challengers Sundowns, and Jamil Salim Magoola regularly starting for Richards Bay at the other end of the same league.

 

A weird rarity: a player retired while he was in the international camp, so I only had eleven subs. Odd. In a pretty poor game, we have more xG but lose 1-0. Bummer!

 

Apparently Sarawak United have the best attacking stats in the league, according to a "data analysis report". During the transfer window I scouted one right-back, Mohd Irwan Syazmin Wahab, 29, (who can also play at CAM, in fact if anything he's better there), and the report just came in. I sign him on a free, and although I can't add him to my squad until the window, I can sign him as a trialist, and trialists can play in this league. I also mercifully pilfer a new left-back, Ramesh Lai, who is very good... but also 44. However, he was playing in Liga Super last season with a team that got relegated, so he can't be that far off this level.

 

The Ramadan break is over, and we are away to SAINS (Syarikat Air Negeri Sambilan), who came third last season and are currently sixth. We'll go positive. Abdul Rhaman, his star rating damaged by injury, has returned in goal, while Lai and Wahab come in. The coaches say Wahab, among over things, is my best striker. We're too stretched for that though.

 

They go 1-0 up from a corner routine early on, and at the hour mark Hasnan gets injured so I put Wahab up top. Then Abdul Rhaman picks up an injury an has to go off. Great. To be fair, his deputy makes some great stops and keeps our defeat to 1-0, a result that's fair enough. Both Hasnan and Abdul Rhaman are more or less fine.

 

A week and a half later, we host Perlis United, languishing in the bottom two. I go Attacking. They score from a long ball assist from their goalie in the ninth minute. Great. Chuchu levels immediately. After this, we're the better team, and it's a bit of a frustration that we're level at the break. In the second half I put on work it into box, and we have even more chances... of course they go 1-2 up with their first. Of course. Luckily Wahab scores his first goal for the club in the 67th, a great strike from the right-back! How we don't win however, I don't know.

 

On the Sunday we visit rivals and promotion hopefuls Kuching City, and my best CB is suspended for yellow cards. Great. We go on Balanced, and though we keep them out for the first half, two quick goals in the second mean they win, 3-1 in the end.

 

The window opens, with Wahab and Lai officially signing. I sign one for the future but also goalie Mohd Shahyudin Mohd Salehin (24) comes in to challenge Abdul Rhaman. Going out is the midfielder Jamali. In the next game, two weeks leter, we host mid-table Manjung City. I go Attacking, Mohd Salehin comes straight in. In the fifth minute, Willie finally breaks his goal drought after a horrible error by Manjung, but the lead doesn't last long. No matter: by the half-hour mark, he has his hat-trick! After I was asked about his lack of form in press conferences, he's repaid my backing, and we win 3-1.

 

That's the last game before the June internationals. We're currently 7th after eight games with eleven points: ten shy off first, eight off of second, and eight ahead of thirteenth. If we can keep this up, we're golden.

Mkbw50
7 years ago
1 month ago
58

So back to World Cup Qualifiers, and we host Botswana on Friday before visiting Mozambique on Tuesday. Botswana first at the Mandela National Stadium, which, and I swear I'm not making this up, is actually named after Nelson Mandela!

 

Like us, Botswana weren't at AFCON, and are bottom of the group with two losses and a GD of -7. It's a must-win. And it's a pretty routine win, 3-1, little to say about it to be honest. Next we travel to Mozambique, who despite making the quarter-finals of AFCON, are fifth with just a single point. Suspensions mean I need to make a couple of changes, apart from that I stay mostly the same. Unfortunately, Mozambique put in their best performance so far and though we match them, they're more clinical as they win 3-1. That allows Algeria to take control of the group and it seems unlikely I make it to America, which was an unlikely dream that that Guinea result made me hope for.

 

Back to Malaysia then, and we visit mid-table Armed Forces. We go 1-0 up, but can't hold on, although can be very happy with a scrappy 1-1 draw. We're doing more than enough to stay up at the moment. A week (and a day) for our next fixture, a Sunday night clash at home to promotion-chasing KL Rovers (the KL stands for Kuala Lumpur). In a midweek U19 game, Mohd Salehin got injured, so Abdul Rhaman gets back in. Apart from that, I keep it the same: suspensions forced me to rejig it a bit against Armed Forces but I like how the side is right now. They're the better team, although we match possession and I'm disappointed it's 3-0 to them with a goal in the 62nd minute. We respond well at least, with a goal in the 65th... and another in the 67th... hang on a minute... yes! 3-3! Another great point, and I'm really happy with Angkun, being played in a weaker position at left-mid, and starring, possibly actually being better there than in the middle. Our tactics are suiting us with the second-lowest possession in the league, but the sixth most goals (and xG), and the fifth least xG against (and sixth least goals conceded).

 

On Saturday we visit struggling YPM (Yayasan Pahang Maintenance), and I don't have a right mid as my only one is suspended. I put in a DM that can apparently play there but is .5 stars... we go 1-0 down early on, and who else equalises but my makeshift right mid? Willie scores soon after. They get a late equaliser... and Willie scores an injury time winner! Six in four for him, and we're looking good. Abdul Rhaman demands a new contract, which I grant him, and all that he gets is... turning his £140/wk wage into a £140 appearance fee? Okay. It seems that all our players are going unwaged and on a pay-to-play basis, with only those signed before I joined waged.

 

According to my assistant manager's "data analysis", Naga UKS (who are league leaders) are the worst-performing defensive team in the division. On the Sunday we host struggling Imigresen: although we're the better team we need a late Hasnan equaliser to get a point (1-1). Seven days later, we visit relegation candidates Bukit Tambun, and destroy them 5-0, with two goals from Willie, one from Hasnan, and two from Shazlan Zaidin (my left-mid). Zaidin wins Player of the Week. We're fifth at the half-way stage, twelve points ahead of Perlis in thirteenth.

bigmattb28
10 years ago
21 hours ago
1,467
Premium

Great name Willie, playing well too

Mkbw50
7 years ago
1 month ago
58

On the next Saturday, we visit promotion-chasing Naga UKS, so I go down to Positive. They're all over us, and I'm happy to lose 1-0. Another seven days and we host bottom side WTS, and though we dominate, they go 1-0 up, and we have to graft to find a Willie brace (that's now ten in eight) to win 2-1. This league is crazy, with Naga UKS beating Imigresen 1-7: in the real 2023 season, Imigresen were champions and Naga went down with three points all season!

 

The last scheduled midweek game is on the Wednesday at home to mid-table Melaka United. Angkun is suspended which is a big loss, I go Cautious. We lead through Hasnan, but end up drawing 1-1, a fair result (although they were probably the better team on balance). On the Saturday, we visit fifth-placed Kelantan, and I go back to Positive with Angkun back. Kelantan are better, and they lead going into the break, although Willie gets one back in injury time to make it 2-1. Then, in the second half, a clearence by my centre-back is completely missed, and we score a winner to take it from behind, 2-3.

 

My big new signing on deadline day is Mohd Badrul Hisham Mohd Hussein, a very very good right-back who will displace Wahab immediately (or more accurately, shift him to midfield). On Sunday, we host promotion-chasing SAINS. Despite leading twice, with Wahab scoring after moving position, but fall 2-3, a disappointing result considering the even stats. Abdul Rhaman picks up an injury, so Mohd Salehin is back. On Saturday we're visting struggling Perlis, a dull game ends 0-0, they were probably better too. The next Saturday, we host promotion-chasing rivals Kuching City. They have all sorts of foreign names in their starting XI, while we're banned from signing foreign players... it takes them thirty seconds to score, and a minute to score again. Cripes. Their striker then finishes his hat-trick in the eleventh minute. We actually dominate the game after this, and even score, but an injury time penalty means we go in at the break 1-4 down. Again when we get a goal, I think we have a shot, until a clumsy penalty. The same player scores all five goals for them. I wasn't delusional either, as we had three goals disallowed and were creating chances. But 2-5 it ends, a disappoint spell of three games without a win.

 

Our next game is on the Saturday away to Manjung City, and although we are 4-0 down early on we fight back to lose 5-4. We're getting closer to safety though. An international break comes next.

Mkbw50
7 years ago
1 month ago
58

Before this, some very good news: we have officially avoided relegation courtesy of results elsewhere. Our first friendly is away to Cape Verde, who got to the AFCON quarter-finals and have had an impressive start to World Cup Qualifiers, with four wins from four.

 

On matchday though, I get an email: Sarawak United have offered me a new contract. I try to get it up to £425 per week, and they aren't happy, so they... withdraw from negotations. Ah. Goodbye Sarawak. And fuck you for not wanting to give me £25 a week more after keeping you up.

Anyway, Cape Verde are the better team, and deserve to win 3-1. We will have an easier game four days later, as we visit non-FIFA members Réunion. We easily win 7-3. Meanwhile, the preliminary rounds are finished for the AFCON Qualifiers. After this, the group stages are drawn: we are drawn with Madagascar, Niger, and Tunisia in Group B, with matches home and away. The top two qualify, and the FA only request that I be competitive. However, I think we have a good chance of making the tournament.

 

The more I think about it, the more happy I am to see the back of Sarawak. The club didn't seem like it really had much upwards trajectory. We still have five games to go though, starting with a home match on the Sunday against mid-table Armed Forces. We go 1-0 down in the second minute, then equalise in the fifth. Then, Chuchu gets his second of the game with a brilliant strike. Though we lead at the break, we're not the better team but we do take charge of the game in the second half, and double our lead from a deflected Angkun effort, and Willie scores again soon after. Our dip in form coincided with Mohd Hussein coming in, but a brilliant assist there. Chuchu then finished his hat-trick with a free-kick in off the bar. They do get an injury-time consolation, but it finishes 5-2.

Next Sunday it's a crucial match, but not for us, as we visit promotion-chasing KL Rovers. A training injury rules Hasnan out for the season (probably), while Wahab is suspended. We score early on through Mohd Hussein's first goal, and we are dominating, but they then take control. However, we score a second through Willie, and though they get one back, an injury time goal gives us a 1-3 win.

 

On Saturday we have another massive game, at least for our opponents, as we host YPM who desperately need some points. Our team doesn't play too well, at least in the opening stages, but we win 4-0 thanks to a hat-trick from the backup striker in for Hasnan, who gets Player of the Week.

On the next Sunday we visit Imigresen who are in a relegation dogfight. Willie is suspended (and also injured) so we have neither striker. The result, a 2-1 loss, is probably fair.

 

Annoyingly, there is no international break this time, with the two Uganda matches sandwiching a Sarawak United match, my last at the club.

We are starting AFCON qualifiers on the Friday with a match at home to Tunisia, the massive favourites in the group who came fourth in the last edition of the tournament. Therefore, any result against them is a bonus.

 

Hang on, I've gotten another offer. This time they agree to immediately give me a rise to £425/wk, with an extention of one year, a 15% promotion wage rise (and a 35% relegation drop). Looks like for now I'm staying at the Golden Hornbill, and a good youth intake has made me a bit more optimistic.

So, the Tunisia match. We score in the first minute, but they equalise in the fifth, and I think: "here we go". But then we score soon after from a penalty, and it seems we're more than holding our own. Then the game changes when a bad tackle puts them down to ten men. We don't really take a hold of it however, and they equalise soon after the break, but we go back ahead at the hour mark, and then immediately concede from a corner. The same player then finishes off a hat-trick and it seems like a massive opportunity has eluded us. Things only get worse after that as a corner leads to a free-kick, which leads to a corner, which leads to a penalty. I'm a bit gutted with the 5-3 loss, especially as I reckon I could have managed the game better, but the matches against Madagascar and Niger will be key.

 

Before we get to take on Niger however, the next day, we have the last game on the Liga M3 season at home to Bukit Tambun, who are also easily safe. They are miles better in the first half and lead 0-2, although in the second we improve for a 2-2 draw, holding on even with a late red. It means we finish 8th out of 14, when the media prediction was 14th. A Tuesday game in Niger beckons to wrap things up nicely. Like us, Niger missed out on AFCON and they are struggling in their World Cup qualifying group. They drew their first game in this group with Madagascar which means this is a massive game: we must win. I tinker with the team but it's mostly the same. In the first half we get a bit of fortune with our goal and we're not great, but we're brilliant for most of the second and win 4-0.

 

The next international break will be in November, but we're looking good in the group now.

Mkbw50
7 years ago
1 month ago
58
By bigmattb28 27 October 2023 - 09:49 AM UTC 

Great name Willie, playing well too

 

Started the season very rough with seven games (plus one in the cup) without a goal, but improved for fifteen goals from the last eighteen (he missed one because of suspension), and cause he didn't score in the last two which were dead rubbers, his run of fifteen goals in sixteen games really helped us.

Mkbw50
7 years ago
1 month ago
58

There's not really much to do until the next international break but click space, but we get our end of season review. The most common XI was:
GK Abdul Rhaman (who I signed someone to replace but ultimately kept his spot)
RB Wahab (very versatile)
CB Akwensivie (pretty good)
CB Che Kamarudin (Meh)
LB Ramesh Lai (pretty good)
RM Zaidin (Did alright tbf to him)
CM Chuchu (Really really good, also captain)
CM Sulaiman (lost his spot near the end when Wahab was forced to move to CM)
LM Angkun (Amazing)
ST Willie (The main man)
ST Hasnan (Alright)

 

This XI won't survive with Lai retiring and a lot of players leaving... and coming in (I already got a new RB of course). Willie wins Fans POTS, Angkun wins YPOTS, the youngster Romli who came off the bench a few times won signing of the season, Chuchu got GOTS, Willie top scorer, Zaidin most assists, Chuchu most POTMs, Willie highest avg rating (7.2), and Chuchu most passes completed per 90. Willie broke the goal record apparently with 15, and the most league goals, and the most in a match (three), and the most in a league match, with Zaidin breaking the assists record with ten, Chuchu with the most POTM awards in a season, and Che Kamarudin with the worst discipline with seven yellow cards. Angkun got the most league appearances, reaching his 60th, with Lai becoming the oldest player and oldest goalscorer. Seven players enter the all-time Best Eleven. Next season, again, they want me to avoid relegation, work within the wage budget (required), and grow the club's reputation (desired). The five-year plan has us simply staying up the whole time.

 

Anyway, I finally get to November, and the next international break, with two must-win fixtures, starting with a home match against Madagascar, who have one point from two games, and like us aren't doing great in World Cup qualifiers and missed the last AFCON. Because it's a while since I discussed the Uganda squad, here's my best players: DM Khalid Aucho (31) stars for Tanzanian giants Young Africans, while versatile right-winger Faruku Miya (26) plays for mid-table Rizespor in the Turkish top flight. Midfielder Bobosi Byaruhanga (22) plays for perennial promotion contenders Vyškov in the Czech second flight, while striker Uche Ikpeazu (29) is a free agent being sought by Dutch second-tier Excelsior and Polish top-flight Górnik. RB/CB Bevis Mugabi (29) plays for Motherwell who are looking to get back to the Scottish top flight, while centre-mid Moses Opondo (27), who I play on the iwng, plays for Danish second-tier Horsens. Centre-back Richard Kassaga (31) plays for Tunisian top-flight Olympique de Béja, while goalie Ismail Watenga is a free agent. That's a bit of a worry, with players retiring on a not irregular basis, even those tha thave been in my squad. There are some high potential players in there as well, but that's the core of my team, with all eight starting the match on Friday at home to Madagascar. In two minutes we find ourselves behind, but quickly we get control of possession. However, we then concede again in the sixteenth minute, and its getting worrisome. A goal before half-time is well-needed. But then, soon after the break, a long-range effort finds its way in and we're 3-1 down. I'm sick of Positive, so go to Attacking, but our team then concedes on the counter. Our left-winger cuts in to get a brace to get us back in it. With five minutes to go, Ikpeazu heads home a corner to give us hope, and on Very Attacking we were creating so many chances. But then the highlights dry up, and we fall 3-4. It's not good, but we still have chances to go through, so I can't give up yet. Our final home game of the qualifiers will come on Tuesday against Niger. I go unchanged, but two minutes in am forced into a sub anyway. We're easily controlling the game and soon go 1-0 up through Opondo. Miya doubles (I thought he was offside but I guess not) and things look good. But then we concede twice from the break before half-time, once from a corner, and then giving away a penalty. I don't get it, we've been so dominant. But we should be able to convert this into victory, I naively think. In fact, in the second half, they're the better team and we're lucky to draw 2-2. Again, with 69% possession, it's a complete letdown.

Mkbw50
7 years ago
1 month ago
58

The 2025 season is about to get underway, and I've made some changes, while some players have gone. Once I'm done, I'll update, as I need to trudge through pre-season first. However, as I have put the recommendations on "surrounding divisions", my scouts are being more useful, mostly focusing on good M4 League players. They won't be able to keep it up all season though. We visit Machan, still in the M4 League Borneo, and beat them 3-1: we're 3-0 up at half time but then our right-back gets sent off. That was on the Saturday, and on the following Wednesday we host Kuching City, who won the league last season so are now in Liga Super, and lose 3-1. Seven days later, we visit Maqarize, in the same league as Machan, and fall to an injury-time winner, 2-1. Finally, on the Saturday we visit Liga Bolasepak Rakyat side Sarawak. A red card nearly derails us, but we still win 5-3.

 

My transfer strategy is simple, and it's to bring in as many good free agents and M4 players as possible, as well as some leftovers from promoted Kuching City. As they are all on apperance fees rather than weekly wages, it doesn't hurt to have a bloated squad. In the end, I keep my 4-4-2. Ahmad Uzair Zaidil (26) is signed from Machan on a free, and he goes in goal, with Abdul Rhaman dropping to the bench. Mohd Badrul Hisham Mohd Hussein (25) will have his first full season at right-back after being signed at the end of last season from Kuching City. The centre-back pairing is probably the weakest, with captain Che Mohd Arif Che Kamarudin (30) joining regen and Malaysia U20 international Mohd Ridhwan Shahruddin (17). At left-back is Arham Khussyairi Abdul Wahab (25), signed for free from Kuching City. Shahruddin is not really good enough, ideally I'd have Abdul Wahab partnering Che Kamarudin, but I don't have good alternatives at left-back right now. However, a new centre-back is in the works. On the right of midfield I've brought in Mohd Asrin Kalam (27) on a free from Sarawak, while the erstwhile Norman Angkun (24) moves into central midfield, partnering new free signing from Kuching City Adam Shreen (32). Angkun can move into the middle because we also signed Mohd Hazazi Harsi (23) from the surplus to requirements list at Kuching, and he can play at left mid. It's also a brand new strike partnership, as we've pilfered Mohd Rozaimi Abdul Rahman (32) from Machan, who got capped once in 2012 and scored their only goal in the friendly against us. Also from Machan is Mohd Adif Salim (26). Willie remains on the bench.

 

The huge amount of players I bought in is also seen on the bench and in the youth squads and reserves. However, with all that, it's time to play our first game of the season, moved from Saturday to Friday, rescheduled due to Piala FA games coming up. It's at home to Bukit Tambun, who came 10th last season. We have no injuries, but Mohd Hussein has a late fitness test and is limited to 75 minutes. The match goes pretty much perfectly, with Salim getting an early debut goal from a low Kalam cross. They equalise heading home a corner, but from kick-off our cross isn't fully cleared and Kalam heads in to Salim who heads home for 2-1. Then, straight from kick-off again Kalam dinked it over the top to Salim who fired home but it was disallowed. On the half hour mark, a Harsi free-kick was headed home off the post by Abdul Wahab, and not long after there was a handball in the box and Abdul Rahman scored the penalty for 4-1. Some great play from Abdul Rahman after the break allowed Salim to get his hat-trick, with Harsi firing home the goal to make it 6-1 with fifteen to go. That's how it finished, with only a late twisted ankle that forced Abdul Rahman off being a dampener. He will be out until the Ramadan break. The fact was we could have had even more with Salim and Harsi in particular having some great chances. Our next game will be on the Thursday against M4 League Central/South JAKIM (Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia) in the Piala FA Preliminary Round. The day before, we get some news, as Willie will be moving to Machan at the start of the next transfer window. I guess he saw what way the wind was blowing, although we'll still have him while Abdul Rahman is out.

 

However, we get a transfer boost as we sign centre-back Mohd Badrul Affendy Mohd Fadzli (31) on a free, and get him on trial until then. Another player from the Kuching City bargain bin. He replaces Shahrudin against JAKIM, while Willie comes in for Abdul Rahman. Midfielder Ahmad Azridding Rosli, another free signing from Kuching, replaces Adam Shreen. It takes until the second minute for Willie to fire us ahead. Twenty minutes later, an ingenious Salim low cross finds Willie for 2-0 and his brace. A lovely counter-attack sees a hat-trick goal denied by the offside flag. In injury time a Willie header found Salim who made it 3-0 at the break. An ingenious Harsi assist gave Salim his brace on the hour-mark, and soon after he has his second hat-trick in two games. Rosli then put Salim through for 6-0, the full-time score.

 

On the Sunday we host promoted MPPD (Majlis Perbandaran Port Dickson), who lost their opener, and go unchanged. Abdul Wahab gives away a penalty but Zaidil saves it, and then Angkun scores a goal five minutes later on the break. However, they soon equalise, and then in injury time they head home a free-kick to lead 2-1. However, before half-time an Abdul Wahab screamer means it will be level at the break. A Mohd Hussen strike deflected in off of Rosli on the hour mark, but in the same play Harsi had to come off injured. Even worse, they soon equalise from a route one counter-attack. Things are made better when Rosli scores straight from kick-off. Then, with ten minutes to go, Salim finishes a smart move to double the lead. They have a goal chalked off... but we hold on to win 5-3. Harsi will only be out for the next two games. Angkun is Player of the Week.

 

Three days later we visit Malaysian University, and Harsi's injury means than Angkun moves out wide and Mohd Afiq Yunus (30), a free signing from Machan comes in to the middle. They were promoted last season and have lost both their league games, although they did win in the Piala FA against an M4 team. We show that counter-attacking football is working when Angkun wins the ball in the middle of the park, boots it up field for Salim to run on to and score. Angkun then scores a free-kick from about 25 metres out and it looks very comfortable at half time. While the second period is more even as my players tire a bit, we had already done the job and a 2-0 win away from home is just what the doctor ordered.

 

It's another three days until another game on the road to Imigresen, who came 11th last season but started with two wins and a loss in the league, plus a 6-0 thrashing of MPPD in the Piala FA. Although I have to be careful as he still carries his knock, Harsi comes back in and Angkun returns to the middle for Yunus. Imigresen take the lead when a shot from a low corner is deflected straight into the man waiting on the far post. Five minutes later we fail to clear our lines and it's 2-0. Even worse, they then break and get a penalty... 3-0. We respond with a nice break and Salim heads home his tenth of the season to make it 3-1... let's just ignore the fact he was miles offside. That's the score at the break. While we have a fast start to the sceond half, we lose it and are hit on the counter for 4-1. However, straight after we score on the break from a corner for 4-2. After that, the game dies out however, apart from them having a goal ruled out with about ten minutes to go. We're finally caught on the break and after their effort hits the post the rebound is scored and we fall 5-2. I'm not too annoyed, probably paying the price for not rotating against weaker opposition.

 

The Piala FA first round game will coincide with the international break, seven days later. The Uganda game will happen first, so we'll cover that first. It's a World Cup qualifier at home to Algeria, the top seeds who lead the group with three wins and a draw. A result here would really help us, but I'm not expecting anything. We're the better team in the first half though, and only a mixture of wasteful finishing and good goalkeeping has kept it goalless. Algeria are better in the second half, and a lovely goal is worked from the back but the flag denies them. It looks like we'll hold on, until they head home a corner in injury time. Gutting.

Despite the fact that when time zone is taken into account, there's only one hour difference between kick-off times, I am able to make the Piala FA First Round match against Liga Bolasepak Rakyat side Respect FC. Also, I updated my license pack so that our league now has the correct name (MBSB Bank Championship). Our only change is that in for Willie comes in new signing Mohd Firdaus Sajali (24), who became a free agent after barely getting a sniff for Kuching City last season. I was expecting a similar performance to the JAKIM game, but Respect are resilient until we finally hit them on the break in the 35th minute with a delightful finish from Angkun. In injury time, a brilliant assist from Sajali finds Salim and it's 2-0. In the second half, a lovely move was finished off by Sajali for a debut goal. They get one back as we fail to clear our lines from a corner, and they actually have another one disallowed for offside. With five minutes to go they score again, and I go back down to Attacking... then they score again. 3-3. However, Angkun heads home a corner in the 90th minute and we're 4-3 up! We try to close out the game but they hit us on the break! 4-4! My sub right-back Shahruddin made a meal of that. It goes to extra time. Five minutes in they score from the edge of the box to make it 5-4 and give their player a hat-trick. Great. We pile men forward... and the same guy hits me on the break. 6-4 is the score at half-time, and nothing happens in the second half. We're out in embarrassing fashion. Luckily, the board gives me a pass for being 'competitive'. Rosli also picks up a minor injury, but this is the last game before the Ramadan break anyway, so it doesn't matter. It's coded as the same time (in the Gregorian calendar) each season, so it doesn't really line up with Ramadan any more. In other news, Adam Shreen, who I had high hopes for but didn't really play, is heading off to Machan at the end of the window (along with Willie).

 

Three days later we have one more Uganda game as we visit Guinea. With Algeria six points clear, we are now level on points with Mozambique (2nd) and Guinea (4th), but we are not troubling the better second placed teams. I go unchanged but tweak some of the positioning up top. We're having more position but they are creating chances and score after ten minutes. However, ten minutes later, a brilliant move is finished off with a great strike from Khalid Aucho. However, with five minutes to go to half-time they find a breakthrough and we're 2-1 down at the break. Then, a cheap goal is allowed by Isaac Watenga about five minutes in to the second half. We aren't even failing to create chances, but soon after they make it 4-1. We get a goal back from kick-off, but in injury time they make it 5-2. Our chances in the group were already pretty slim, but now they're dead.

 

There will now be a month until we return for the M3 League and try to put some good performances together.

Mkbw50
7 years ago
1 month ago
58

After the Ramadan (kind of) break, Abdul Rahman is back but finds himself on the bench because of Sajali. In fact we have no injuries or suspensions, and I go with the same team that played Respect for our match at home to SAINS. They came fourth last season and have started with two wins, a draw and a loss. Salim sets up Sajali ten minutes in to go 1-0 up and it looks like the two are the next Kane and Son. Then, a corner routine is finished off by Kalam. We win the ball back from their throw-in and Salim's cross is headed home by Harsi off the bar for 3-0. A bit later on, an Angkun cross aimed at Sajali is turned in by one of their defenders. At the break it's 4-0, but a nice move gets a goal back for them five minutes after half-time. Then, two minutes later, the ball is booted by their goalie, route one, 4-2. I'm suddenly worried about deja vu from the Respect match, especially when they get a free-kick highlight ten minutes later. It hits the wall, corner kick... but we go on the break and Sajali tucks it home for 5-2. Then, our own corner is eventually tucked home by Mohd Fadzli for his first goal in a Sarawak United shirt and 6-2. A counter-attack leads to a brilliant finish by Abdul Wahab, who thinks his 20-metre strike is so good he doesn't know how to celebrate and throws himself on the floor! They do get a goal back as we fail to clear our lines from a corner, and it does seem that we are incapable of keeping the score down: it finishes 7-3. In seven games this season, it's the seventh time we've scored at least two, fifth time we've scored at least four, fourth time we've scored at least five, and third time we've scored at least six. However, it's also the fourth time we've conceded at least three.

 

We have a week and a half until our next game away to Perlis United, who are fourth with three wins, a draw and a loss. We have some early chances and have hit the woodwork twice by the time that we're hit by some route one football after just five minutes to go down 1-0. The rest of the first half is spent with us comedically missing chance after chance and racking up 1.65 xG without scoring. Finally a cross leads to a penalty after about an hour... and Sajali's effort is saved. Of course it is. A minute later they hit us on the break and it's 2-0. Mohd Hussein was caught napping for both goals. However, we then get them on the break, Salim the scorer. Then, from their corner we go up the other end and Rosli scores the equaliser. It finishes 2-2, and while I'm happy we went toe-to-toe with one of the l eague's better teams, with 4.87 xG we should be winning. However, I'll accept this was an off-day for our attacking players.

 

Three days later we host mid-table Armed Forces, and they take the lead early on. However, a nice quick move in transition leads to a rebound tapped-in by Sajali. While we're the better team for much of the game, near the end we start to flag and Zaidil is chipped with five minutes to go. It's a disappointing loss after playing pretty well. And then some bad news comes in: Machan are signing Kalam, and the window opens on the day of the next game. It's a week and a half since we played Armed Forces when we finally visit struggling Melaka United, and Yunus takes Kalam's spot. They are all over us and after twenty minutes strike from miles out. They make it two fifteen minutes later. Rosli gets one back in injury time but we trail 2-1 at the break, and are lucky it's only one. We work and then get a penalty... Sajali scores to get us level! It was a poor performance but we take a point away.

 

Three days later we visit league leaders KL Rovers. They get a soft penalty early on to lead. However, a horrific error comes fifteen minutes later from their keeper and it's 1-1, Sajali tapping in. Then ten minutes later it hits the post and Salim taps in the rebound. They equalise just before half-time, but a long-range effort from Rosli goes in to make it 3-2 at the break. However, it takes them barely a minute into the second period to be level. With ten minutes to go a corner leads to a penalty... and Sajali scores! Then an effort is blocked but falls to Harsi in injury time to wrap up a 5-3 win away to the league leaders! Salim wins Player of the Week.

That's the last game in a while for United, as we turn attention to a MASSIVE international break...

Mkbw50
7 years ago
1 month ago
58

So, the state of play for AFCON Qualifying Group B. Two teams qualify out of four, and each have played four of six games. Tunisia have already qualified with twelve points, Madagascar and ourselves have four, and Niger have two. On the Friday, we visit Tunisia while Niger host Madagascar, and on Tuesday we travel to Madagascar while Niger entertain the Tunisians.

 

Before that, I renew my contract at United immediately, and get a pay bump: it's now £450p/w, with a 20% promotion wage rise, 35% relegation drop and 80% percentage of club compensation required, it's now extended to 2026.

 

So, the Tunisia game. I know it's going to be tough, but I expect us to last a bit more than fifty seconds when they score an absolute piledriver. We're actually creating some good chances, but they are clinicaland on the half-hour mark make it two with one great pass. They then soon make it three with one in-off the post, and I wasn't happy with my defenders' effort there at all. It doesn't help that their keeper is having a blinder. Their striker then fires home another brilliant long-range goal to complete his hat-trick, and it's 4-0 at half time. We're much better in the second half but it finishes 4-0. Remarkably, we had more xG (1.37-1.72) but them's the breaks. Niger beat Madagascar, so we need to beat the latter while hoping Tunisia at least hold Niger to qualify.

 

I don't make changes, as the team didn't play badly on Friday. Madagascar look the better team, but half an hour in a brilliant through ball from Miya finds Okwi who slots home. Our sub striker, who got his first cap on Friday for a brief cameo, then puts in a brilliant assist for Miya in the second half. It finishes 2-0! The telegram comes in from Niamey: Niger 0-1 Tunisia! We've done it, and we will be heading to Nigeria!

 

Back to Sarawak United then, and we host PIB (Persada Integriti Bersatu), who were relegated last season and looking good to reverse that. We go 1-0 up about fifteen minutes in thanks to Rosli, but five minutes later they quickly turn a big chance for us into a goal for them. 1-1. They then win the ball back in our half to make it 1-2, a heavy touch from Harsi to blame. Though we're the better team, Sajali and Salim (and the rest of us) don't take chances and we lose 2-1.

 

A visit to mid-table Harini comes six days later, and with Che Kamarudding suspended for yellow cards, in comes Shahruddin. A brilliant counter-attack ten minutes in puts us 1-0 up: Yunus to Sajali to Salim. Not long after, Sajali fires in a second. A long-range effort puts them back into it ten minutes later, but soon before half time, Shahrudding sets up a low Angkun cross which finds Sajali and it's 3-1. A cheap goal puts them back into it after half time, but we score an absolute fluke as a clearance from a corner cannons off a Harini player and straight to Sajali, who tucks home his tenth of the season (which also completes a hat-trick). With minutes to go they had home a cross in-off the post, and though we're looking a bit ropey at the end, we hold on to win it 4-3.

 

There's a full three weeks until the next game at home to mid-table Manjung City, and nothing happens until half an hour in when a Mohd Hussein cross is somehow headed in by Sajali. However, our lead doesn't last long, not that it matters, as a brilliant Salim run puts us ahead just before the break. A minute in to the second half, Sajli puts through Salim and it's 3-1. A very harsh offside call against Salim robs him of his hat-trick, but in injury time Rosli fires home from outside the box to wrap up a big win. Or so I thought, but there was time for a Sajali through ball to find Salim and for him to get his hat-trick after all: 5-1. Sajali wins Player of the Week and has the highest average rating.

 

Four days later it's a trip to struggling Kelantan United, and they're all over us in the first half. However, a free-kick hit the post and Harsi scored the rebound in injury time to give us a lead. After half-time, a half-cleared cross eventually comes to Harsi who puts home a lovely finish for a brace. Harsi picks up a knock so comes off, but Sajali heads home a Yunus cross for 3-0, and with a couple minutes left, the same man gets on the end of a low cross for four. That's how it finishes, and Harsi is fine.

 

There's little time to rest as three days later we host Malaysian University,  who are bottom at this stage, and again I go unchanged. We don't really dominate the game as I would have liked in the first half, although a Salim goal is disallowed for offside. However, from the free-kick, we win the ball back, break, and Angkun does score. Then, a Harsi long ball is fired home on the volley by Salim to put us 2-0 up at the break. After this we're much more dominant. A low cross finds Salim to make it 3-0. A corner is only parried by Zaidil and they get one back, but we win it 3-1.

 

Four days later it's another game, away to lowly Bukit Tambun. We are dominant throughout the first half, although they head home a corner and we're 1-0 down at the break despite having 1.96 xG. Then they get another from a corner again. And another from a freekick. Hmm. Then it feels like they're taking liberties when a fourth goes in to give their left wing-back a hattrick. Salim does get his twentieth goal of the season late on, heading home a Zaidin cross, and then Angkun fires home a nice finish on the stroke of injury time. However, it's still a disappointing 4-2 loss in a game that we had 1.82 more xG in.

 

Three days later we visit another struggling team in MPPD. Abdul Wahab is suspended so in comes Muhd Arif Ridzuan Mohd Bahkeri (21), who I signed on loan from Kuching City and has come on a few times. He gets an assist early on, a cross headed home by Yunus for his first United goal. However, it doesn't last long, five minutes later they're level... and then Mohd Bahkeri gives away a penalty. 2-1. However, five minutes later, it's our turn to hit back, with a Sajali cross headed home by Salim. A missed challenge by Mohd Hussein gives them the chance to make it 3-2... and then they get another from a genius ball to make it 4-2 at the break. A great cross is headed home by Sajali for 4-3, but a fantastic run makes it 5-3, which is how it ends. Another disappointment.

 

Three days later we host a very decent Imigresen side, and Abdul Wahab is back in for Mohd Bahkeri. They open up the scoring with a brilliant long-range effort. It's 0-1 at the break but our tired players are creating decent chances and having a lot of the ball. In the second half we're all over them, but their goalie is in brilliant form, and they end our hopes in injury time with two goals. A third game in a row we've dominated xG and lost.

 

There's no time to mope about Sarawak United though... because coming up is something completely different...

Mkbw50
7 years ago
1 month ago
58

So in African football, there is a competition exclusively for players playing in their domestic league: the African Nations Championship. I always thought this was the reason the 'B Team' tab existed, but it turns out no, I am in charge of this too. In a weird bug, when I announce the squad, all the players in the regular squad seek a chat about their international future. Luckily, it turns out free agents are eligible too. The FA do not care about this competition. In the "Second Round" of qualifiers (which is actually the first round) for the Central-East Zone, it's a simple two-legged affair against South Sudan to qualify for the next round of qualifying. In real life the last edition was in 2022, and South Sudan got eliminated in the first round of qualifying (losing 5-0 to Ethiopia). Their main team had to play a preliminary round (in-game) to reach AFCON Qualifiers proper, which they got through against Seychelles, but apart from that they have lost every competitive game since the save began. While I still have a couple good players, such as Allan Kateregga and John Dembe, the latter carrying a knock, the first leg at home will be an interesting experience with three goalies of eleven players on the bench and one player completely out of position at DM. We're all over them, but at the break it's level. We're tailing off a bit so with twenty minutes left, I switch to Attacking, but if anything this simply lets them into it... with 2.10 xG (and 0.5 for them), it finishes 0-0.

 

The next day (five days after the Imigresen game), it's back to Malaysia for a visit to mid-table SAINS. They take the lead early on with a shot in-off the bar, but Angkun at the near post levels ten minutes before the break. Then, just before half time, a masterstroke: a corner not cleared, and Rosli with a trivela from outside the box to give us the lead. It doesn't last long, as they equalise straight from kick-off. We're much the better team in the second half, but it takes to the seventieth minute to get back in front: a Yunus effort snicking Salim as it went in. We can't hold it though, as a delightful backheeled assist is our downfall. We have to play the last couple of minutes with ten men as Sajali pulls up, and in the seventh minute of ('a minimum of') four added on they score... but it's disallowed. It finishes 3-3, Sajali will be out for at least a month.

 

Six days later, both Uganda and United play. Firstly, Uganda's CHAN qualifer second leg in South Sudan (I guess that country is much more stable in the FM universe). I don't change the team. The first half is dull, despite us being the better team. In the second half we turn it on though, and after spurning a big chance, finally a deflected effort finds its way in. They immediately equalise from a corner, but its disallowed as an offside player obstructed the goalie's view. Not long after, a brilliant mazy run makes it 2-0 and I can relax. In injury time we score another on the break, the goalscorer for our first two goals, Rogers Mato (21) of Kampala City Council FC now assisting Dembe for his first Uganda goal. This ragtag team is through to an all-or-nothing Third Round: a two-legged tie against Ethiopia, the winners qualifying.

 

On the same day, United host Perlis United, a team near us in the table. Sajali will be replaced by Mohd Rozaimi Abdul Rahman (33), who you may remember started the season and scored in the first game, then got injured and replaced. A lovely move is finished off by Angkun in the fifth minute, and then ten minutes later the ball bounces to Abdul Rahman who scores. A free-kick is then passed to Abdul Rahman who smashes home from twenty metres. Mohd Fadzli picks up a knock in this one. They score after half time but it's disallowed. While Perlis are probably the better team, an Abdul Rahman effort is deflected for an own goal with twenty minutes to go. They head home a cross in the closing stages, and a nice move in injury time, but we still win 4-2. Mohd Fadzli's injury is not serious.

We get a full week off before we visit Armed Forces, who we are in direct competition with. The game is pretty mediocre until a cross comes in and Mohd Hussein heads home for his first goal of the season with five minutes until half time. Straight after, a free-kick is booted up the field by Che Kamarudin and Salim plays it to Abdul Rahman for 2-0. However, in injury time a lovely through ball cuts our lead in half. The second half is all-out defence, but we hold on for the 1-2 win, cutting our gap to KL Rovers in second to just three points.

 

The next day it's back to the CHAN Qualifiers, as we host Ethiopia. Ethiopia got here with a 6-0 aggregate drubbing of Burundi but their main team has been pretty crap, missing out on AFCON and they will be nowhere near the World Cup either. That said, my team is hardly brilliant. We're the better team and a brilliant run from Mato gives us the lead. Dembe taps home a second after a botched clearance just before the break. A lovely move right after the interval makes it 3-0... until the flag disallows it. We're the dominant team and the only annoyance is that it finished 2-0 and we're not completely into the finals with a second leg to play.

 

Six days later United host strugglers Melaka, and we need to take advantage. The game doesn't really start as I'd hoped, but I get some fortune as Harsi tries to square the ball, it hits the post and Angkun taps in. Just before half-time we have a free-kick but give it away and they go up the other end and score. In the second half they score from a corner. Then with fifteen minutes in an awful pass by Mohd Hussein gives them a free goal. Before that I felt a loss was harsh, but after that we deserve it. 1-3. A nice pass from Rosli means we get one back in injury time as Salim fires home, but we still lose another game to a struggling team.

 

The next day it's the second leg against Ethiopia, with a place in Mauritius on the line. We're the better team early on but they score on the break and it's suddenly nervy. However, a Mato header redoubles our aggregate advantage. Soon after the break, Dembe heads home a corner off the post which ends any hope for Ethiopia, or so it seems. They do get a goal back with twenty minutes to go. However, we score a rebound in-off the bar straight from kick-off... which is disallowed. Then went they score another corner it's looking nervy, then in injury time they go through on goal... and blast it over. We get the job done with a 3-2 loss (and 3-4 win on aggregate). The first time Uganda have ever qualified for this competition!

 

Three days later United visit leaders PIB, in a game brought forward because of how well they are doing in the Piala FA. Both teams attack, but a nice freekick routine gives us the lead, Harsi with the finishing touch. Then, Che Kamarudin heads home a corner. The second half is uneventful but they get one back on the break, and then they score a corner. In the end it looks like they might score again but we come away with the point.

That's it before the international break then. United have four games to go, and will probaly fall just short of promotion, being two behind KL Rovers (who have a game in hand).

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