Mkbw50
7 years ago
4 weeks ago
67

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

2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: 3rd in Group Stage

2025 CAF Africa Cup of Nations: Group Stage

 

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 2025-20 Dec 2025 at £450 pw (£12,664.29), 11 Oct 2025-6 Sep 2026 at £540 pw: (£25,457.14)

2024 Piala FA Malaysia: Preliminary Round

2024 MBSB Bank Championship: 8th

2025 Piala FA Malaysia: First Round

2025 MBSB Bank Championship: 2nd (Promoted)

2026 Piala FA: Quarter Final

2026 Piala Malaysia: First Round

2026 MFL Challenge Cup: Winners

2026 Liga Super Malaysia: 11th

 

HONOURS

2026 MFL Challenge Cup

 

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
4 weeks ago
67

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
4 weeks ago
67

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
4 weeks ago
67

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
4 weeks ago
67

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
4 weeks ago
67

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
4 weeks ago
67

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
8 hours ago
1,479
Premium

Great name Willie, playing well too

Mkbw50
7 years ago
4 weeks ago
67

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
4 weeks ago
67

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
4 weeks ago
67
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
4 weeks ago
67

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
4 weeks ago
67

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 Azriddin 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
4 weeks ago
67

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
4 weeks ago
67

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
4 weeks ago
67

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).

Mkbw50
7 years ago
4 weeks ago
67

So, for some reason for the World Cup qualifier game against struggling Somalia (who have just also qualified for the CHAN) at home, two days after the PIB game, I don't have to pick my squad again but instead keep the CHAN one. I could go through them and change it, but... fuck it, they earned it. We go 1-0 up in the third minute thanks to a penalty. We make it two five minutes later, and get a third ten minutes after that, and soon made it four. A long-range effort in the last ten minutes wraps up a 5-0 win. Four days later, we visit bottom side Botswana. We go 1-0 up after fifteen minutes. Just before half-time, a shot is deflected in for an own goal and 2-0. They got one back from a free-kick, it goes down as an own goal from my goalie, but we restore the two-goal advantage minutes later. Then we head home a corner to put it beyond a doubt. Another corner gives John Dembe his hat-trick. We make it 6-1 with five minutes to go, although they get one back in the 90th.


It's time for the AFCON draw, and we get Morocco, Cape Verde, and Togo. I'll take that to be honest.

 

It's been a while since I touched this game when I boot it up, but I've got four games left in the season. PIB have already been promoted, and we're two points behind KL Rovers who have a game in hand, with four games to go. Four clubs are also within three points of us. Even bigger: we host KL Rovers in the next game. Sajali returns for Abdul Rahman. We concede about half an hour in from a freekick, but a nice break sees Salim square it to Sajali and it's 1-1. In the second half, a half-cleared corner is responded to with a mazy run from Mohd Hussein who finishes it despite carrying a knock. We hold on to claim a deserved 2-1 victory! We go a point clear of them, but they still have a game in hand. We have a ten day break for our next game. This is a record points tally and victories in a season as well.

Going into our next game, we are two points behind KL Rovers, and four clubs are within just five below us. We host Harini, who are in seventh. Mohd Fadzli has gotten suspended at a bad time, in comes Shahruddin. Sajali scores the opener after a good run following an Angkun ball, before a Salim run on a counter-attack earns a penalty, scored by Sajali. Only the flag presents a hat-trick, and though they get an injury time goal back, we hold on for a deserved 2-1 win! This game leaves us a point ahead of KL Rovers, who have a game in hand, but it's tomorrow, at home to PIB. That game finishes 1-1, and so we're ahead of KL Rovers... on goal difference. Three teams are stil within four points. That result also clinched the title for PIB.

 

We have a week until our next game against Manjung City away who have struggled but should stay up. KL Rovers have a midweek game in the Challenge Cup, a competition for clubs that get knocked out of the Piala Malaysia (a more exclusive competition made up of top-tier teams and teams relegated last season) against a top-tier side, which I'm hoping will hinder them.  Mohd Fadzli is back. Angkun is tripped chasing a loose ball and Sajali scores the penalty. Rosli smashes home from a corner before half-time. In the 90th minute, they head home a corner, but we still win 2-1. It leaves us two points ahead of Armed Forces, and three ahead of KL Rovers who have a game in hand. KL Rovers visit Harini the next day, and get a 1-0 win. This means that we're level on points again, but we're ahead on goal difference.

 

A week until the final game, but before that, it's the return of Uganda. It's unlikely we qualify for the World Cup, but still mathematically possible. Our first game is against Mozambique, just one place behind us, at home. An early daisycutter gives us the lead, while a corner makes it two. Another corner, the second in two minutes headed home by Mugabi, makes it 3-0. Kateregga makes it four after the break, and it takes just five more minutes for a fifth.

The next day is the final day of the season. We host Kelantan United, while KL Rovers are at home to Manjung City, one place below them. Armed Forces host bottom side Bukit Tambun. No changes for us. We get a very generous penalty early on, but Sajali's effort is saved. We get some good news as Manjung City take the lead, but KL Rovers soon equalise. Before half time, Manjung take the lead. It's goalless here though. A nice move is finished by Angkun to give us the lead, and a similar move is smashed home by Salim to make it two. The full time whistle blows, and we are going up as KL Rovers lose 3-2! We immediately turn professional. Salim gets top scorer, and Sajali is second.

 

Two days later, we have our final World Cup qualifier away to Algeria. Algeria have already won the group, and we are second, level with Guinea (who visit Somalia). However, even if we do get second, it's unlikely we are one of the top four sides. It takes them two minutes to go ahead, and they get another from a corner twenty minutes later. It doesn't take long for a third to come in, but we do get one back after half-time. They make it 4-1 on the hour mark, and soon get another. The loss formally confirms we won't make the World Cup, as Guinea win 5-3, we finish third. We actually had more xG than them, despite losing 5-1.

It's next stop Morocco for us, and the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations!

Mkbw50
7 years ago
4 weeks ago
67

Before AFCON, Sarawak Utd give me a vision. They 'favour' attacking football, direct football, making the most of set-pieces, and entertaining football, and 'prefer' counter-attacking football. I have met the requirement to work within the wage budget and the preference to grow the club's reputation. Next season, I must 'attempt' to avoid relegation from the Liga Super Malaysia, and continue to do so for the next five years. I will make signings throughout AFCON etc, but talk more about that in a different post.

 

We have one friendly before the tournament, at home to Sudan. Here is the full squad (all players from UGA 1 unless stated):

 

GK: Giosuè Bellagambi (KCCA), Robert Odongkara (Vipers SC), Jamal Salim Magoola (Vipers SC)

 

DF: Timothy Awany (S.C. Ashdod/ISR 1), Nathaneel Boot (AFC Fylde/ENG 5), Elvis Bwomono (Njarðvík/ISL 2), Allan Enyou (Leganés B/ESP 4), Alex Kakuba (Arronches Benfica/POR 5), Richard Kassaga (US Monastir/TUN 1), Aziz Kyondo (Leganés B), Bevis Mugabi (Dunfermline Athletic/SCO 2), Musa Ramathan (Vyškov/CZE 2)

 

MF: Khalid Aucho (Simba/TAN 1), Bobosi Byaruhanga (Orlando Pirates/RSA 1), Ivan Irinimbabazi (Bright Stars), Ibrahim Kasule (Vipers SC), Faruku Miya (Rizespor/TUR 1), Emmanuel Okwi (Paxtakor/UZB 1), Jayden Onen (Vipers SC), Moses Opondo (AC Horsens/DEN 1), Basil Tuma (Reading/ENG 2)

 

FW: Derrick Kakooza (ENPPI/EGY 1), Edward Kizza (Sacramento/USA 2)

 

Sudan did pretty well in qualifying, easily advancing in second from a group with the Ivory Coast, Gabon and Namibia. Bellagambi is our #1, with Mugabi, Ramathan, Kassaga and Kayondo the back four. Our defensive mdifield of Byaruhanga and Aucho is strong, with Miya and Tuma on the wings. Opondo and Okwi are up front. Aucho and Okwi carry knocks but will get some minutes. Sudan take the lead five minutes in, but Opondo gets the equaliser. Not long after, Miya smashes one in off the post. Miya scores another one before the break, in-off on the counter. However, he is forced off with injury soon after. They get one back in the second half, and then an Okwi own goal from a corner makes it 3-3. A late goal for them serves to round out a hat-trick from their striker, before Kakooza equalises from kick-off. They get an injury time goal from a corner, before Opondo equalises. A 5-5 draw doesn't bode particularly well for us. Luckily, Miya's injury is not serious.

 

There is one more thing to take place: the African Nations Championship draw. We will face Guinea-Bissau, Tanzania, and Tunisia. It seems that it uses the B teams for the finals, even though it doesn't for the qualifiers? How strange. Miya plays up front while Opondo is pushed wide. Top two teams and four best third-placed teams (out of six) go through. Our first game is against hosts Morocco, who have qualified for both this and the World Cup easily. The Atlas Lions go 1-0 up when Bellagambi rashly comes out for a cross, and a free-kick is headed home for two. A trip in the box is rewarded with a penalty and 3-0. A deflected shot makes it four at the break. A straight red for Okwi compounds the misery. We actually play well after shutting up shop, but a straight red for Tuma in injury time adds to our issues. It finishes 4-0. In the other game, Cape Verde and Togo draw 1-1.

 

In the second game, four days later, Kizza and Kakooza are in for the suspended Okwi and Tuma. Miya goes out wide. We face Cape Verde, who had recently won their World Cup qualifying group. Cape Verde are all over us, but we take the lead before half time with Ramathan heading home a corner. A nice through ball from Kakooza finds Kizza for 2-0 at the break. On the hour mark they get one back when a Kayondo block lands perfectly for their left-winger, then Miya picks up an injury and has to come off. With the suspensions I don't have another right-winger, so I go for a defensive 5-3-2. They head home a cross in injury time and it's a 2-2 draw. Miya's injury is not tournament-ending but will take time. Morocco beat Togo 4-0 in the other game.

 

Thus, four days later, we face Togo. Morocco have won the group on six points, Cape Verde have two, and we each have one. Based on how the other groups have gone, only victory will be enough. Togo have also qualified for the World Cup, winning their group. Tuma is back, on the left, as Miya is injured, but Okwi can only return to the bench. After pinball in the box, Aucho scores the opener, and we lead 1-0 at the break. Though we put them under siege in the second half, they find a deflected equaliser. We still look the better team, but let them in in the second half. The loss eliminates us, bottom of the group, but I'm still proud of the team, if disappointed.

Mkbw50
7 years ago
4 weeks ago
67

My wage has jumped to £540 with my 20% wage increase. The game says it's £550 but they can't count. I'm offered a new contract, they want to give me £550. I ask for £575 and they walk away. The wage rise is dated from 20 December, when the new season officially starts. The Ugandan FA say they are disappointed we weren't competitive, but will keep faith in me "for now". Okwi retired after the competition. Aucho becomes the new Uganda captain.

On the club side, I get two job interviews, for Kedah, who came sixth last season, and Penang, who came fifth.

 

The African Nations Championship begins in Mauritius. The games count as 'B' team games, but as we have no B manager I will manage the team. However, I will not count this towards my record in the top post, even though I will count the Qualifiers which count as senior games! This is an obvious oversight by SI. In a group of four, the top two will go through, and we're with Tanzania, Tunisia, and Guinea-Bissau. I go with a 5-2-3 DM Wide, but our pool of talent is very limited: four keepers are on the bench. Our first game is against Guinea-Bissau. We're better in the first half but it's goalless at the break. They start the second half better and take the lead before a long-range equaliser. Despite a large amount of late chances, we draw 1-1.

 

Penang didn't take me, instead choosing Ramli Junit, who hasn't managed a club since 2016 and was SAINS assistant manager. I can't have too much to moan about though, with a CHAN game against Tanzania to come. We win it 1-0 with an early goal. Delightful.

 

Anyway, Sarawak United have their first friendly away to non-league Sarawak. Kedah don't pick me either, going with Kelantan Utd's Mohd Nazrul Erwan Makmor. Seeing as I got former relegation candidates Sarawak Utd promoted and he guided them to mid-table and then bottom half following his appointment after a relegation, I don't know what I did wrong. I think I've messed up the transfers too (I went early and didn't pay enough attention to the budget, signing mostly young players) so I wanted out. But oh well. After two disallowed goals a late penalty gives us a 1-0 win.

 

The next day it's our final CHAN group game against Tunisia. A draw or better would put us through without a doubt. Unfortunately we lose 5-2 and go out, so oh well.

 

A visit to non-league Machan is next, and we take it 5-2, being 4-0 up at half-time, conceding two to former Golden Hornbill Azkaharridhi Farhan bin Hasnan, and then getting a late fifth. The final friendly is a 2-1 defeat away to non-league Maqarize.

Mkbw50
7 years ago
4 weeks ago
67

Our Liga Super Malaysia season starts with a Sunday night game at home to Penang, who came fifth last season. I'm not too happy with my transfers, but I pick my team. Aquila Abdul Rhaman (25), who was second choice last season, gets the nod in goal for me. Right back is my weakest position, but Muhd Zharfan Mokhtar (21), who I signed for the U21s from Penang, is my strongest player. Mohd Badrul Affendy Mohd Fadzli (32) continues to start at centre-back alongside club captain Che Mohd Arif Che Kamarudin (31). At left-back is Arham Khussyairi Abdul Wahab (26). Danial Aiman Azmi (24), who we got on a free from Kelantan United, is at right mid, with José Eduardo (23) from Brazilian non-league side Mogi Mirim as the sole foreign player, joined by Norman Angkun (25). R. Thinusean Pillai (Ravindran), who we got on a free from Kelantan United (23), is on the left. Up front, Mohd Firdaus Sajali (25) is joined by Aqil Idham Bahari (24), who we got on a free from KL Rovers. Only Eduardo is really good enough for the division, and in signing these young players I had to forgo some good talent.

 

The bottom two go down, with fourteen teams, and my main aim is to keep us up. We play everyone twice. We take an early lead from Abdul Wahab after a corner isn't cleared. Then, a nice move from the back is finished off by Sajali in the eleventh minute! What am I watching? They get one back in the second half, but an Abdul Wahab cross is headed home by Azmi straight after for 3-1. Sajali gets a second in the 87th minute on the break, and it's a dream start to the season.

 

On the Saturday, we have another home game against Selangor, who came third last season and also won their opener. Completely randomly, I get asked who should win NXGN, which is for the best young player (below 20 I think) in the world. I wonder why that is relevant to a manager of a Malaysian club. We make no changes. A tedious first half ends goalless, but a long range effort gives them the lead, and then another similar effort makes it 0-2. It's a creditable, if uninspiring, 2-0 loss.

 

Of course, as a Liga Super team, we start the Piala FA Malaysia at the First Round this time, and the draw is after this game. We will face non-league opposition in KT Rovers (Kuala Terengganu Rovers) away, from the Liga Bolasepak Rakyat. Anyway, on the Saturday we travel to Perak, who came eighth last season and have started with a win and a draw. Abdul Wahab is carrying a groin strain but can play, and I rejig the team. Abdul Wahab goes to centre-back for Che Kamarudin, with R. Thinusean Pillai at left back and Mohd Hazazi Harsi (24) at left mid. Bahari scores a disallowed goal in the first minute. The game is progressing much like the Selangor one, ebbing away before Harsi is forced off with injury. It's goalless at the break with an aggregate xG of 0.33. It's deflating that when we concede, it's to a pure route one goal, Abdul Wahab losing his man. Azmi then puts in an own goal from a free-kick, but it's disallowed. Mohd Fadzli then needs to come off with a knock. We fall 1-0, but it's another performance that shows we can hang with the rest of the league even if we will take a few defeats on the way. Harsi's pulled calf will rule him out, but Mohd Fadzli is fine.

 

Next is a Friday night encounter at home to Terengganu. The Turtles were second last season but have won one and lost two to open the campaign. Mohd Afiq Yunus (31) comes in for Azmi, while Muhd Haziq Mohd Subri (26), a signing from Kelantan United, comes in for Harsi. Terengganu take the lead, and get a second at the half hour stage. Straight from kick-off they go down our end and win a penalty, with Mohd Fadzli the culprit. It's scored for a first-half hat-trick for their striker. Before half-time, Bahari gets one back after Mohd Subri steals possession in their half. We're making chances but riding our luck at the back, and in the 65th they make it 1-4. Their striker then gets his fourth from a free-kick. We soon get one back as José Eduardo pounces in a messy box. Another goal from distance makes it 2-6, before Bahari scores immediately from a nice Sajali assist. Bahari finishes off a hat-trick in injury time, and it finishes 4-6.

 

On Saturday we have our Piala FA First Round match away to fourth-tier KT Rovers. Azmi and Harsi come back in for Yunus. We take the lead in the third minute when a corner isn't punched away cleanly and Mokhtar puts it in an empty net. A nice passing move is finished off by Bahari for two, and the same player's finish is ruled offside preventing a third. It comes in injury time from a José Eduardo freekick. After the break, a direct move leads to Sajali squaring it to Bahari for 0-4. They sneak one back, and then get another from a brilliant long-range effort. With ten minutes to go, Abdul Wahab picks up a second yellow for a professional foul, giving a bit of jeopardy, but we shut up shop to win 2-4.

 

The next game, away to Sri Pahang, has been moved to Wednesday because of the cup game. They've claimed five points from their opening four games. Youngster Zulkifly Abdullah (16) comes in for R. Thinusean Pilai. It's a perfect start as José Eduardo shows his star quality, bringing down the ball and firing it past their keeper. A lovely finish by Harsi makes it two before the break. They get one back in the second half from a slack Mohd Fadzli pass, but we hold on for a massive three points.

 

We don't have a game the next weekend, and have a rest until a Friday encounter at home to KL City (Kuala Lumpur City), who have ten points from their opening five. Some changes as Adam Iskandar Mohd Isyak (23) comes in for Abdullah, being a new signing from Penang. In the middle, Abang Azri Fikri Abang Saufee, who we got from Harini, comes in for Angkun. R. Thinusean Pillai comes in for Harsi. Early in, a low Mokhtar cross is tapped in by Bahari. They equalise from a corner. We do well to withold an onslaught until finally succumbing to a late goal and a corner in injury time. Azmi gets one back later in injury time, but it's a 2-3 loss for our efforts.

 

The next game is a week later away to local rivals Kuching City, who are in the early drop zone. Abdul Wahab moves to the left and Che Kamarudin comes in. Angkun is back in for Abang Saufee. They score within thirty seconds from long range. We nearly respond instantly, but Sajali is offside. We're the better team but Mokhtar concedes a penalty on the stroke of half time, and it's converted. Abdul Rhaman rescues us with a save. In the second half, a cross is put in, and Azmi is shoved for a penalty. Sajali converts. We look to be grabbing control of the game again, until Mohd Fadzli stupidly gets a second yellow. We hold on for a valuable point, but not what we wanted.

 

The next game is at home to Johor DT (Johor Darul Ta'zim), the biggest team in the country and league leaders. Both Mohd Fadzli and Che Kamarudin are suspended, the latter for yellow cards. Both full backs move in to centre-back, with Muhd Fawwaz Muqrish Rosli (22), who we poached from Negeri Sembilan, and Abdullah coming in. Bahari is injured, so Mohd Adif Salim (27), a key man from last season, comes in. It takes them minutes to score, but it's offside. Then, Salim scores one on the break. They equalise straight away, but Azmi restores our advantage. We look to be holding on, but with fifteen minutes to go, Abdul Wahab picks up a second yellow. Two minutes later, they equalise, and they get another, but it's disallowed. The onslaught is relentless, and they finally score in the 90th minute from a corner. A Red card has cost me for the second game in a row.

 

Before the next game, the Piala FA Second Round draw is to come. We get a tricky draw, at home to Penang. It's a Friday match for us at Kedah Darul Aman, who are struggling. Abdul Rhaman has a twisted ankle, leading to the return of Ahmad Uzair Zaidil (27), our number one from last year, in goal. Abdul Wahab is suspended and Mokhtar moves back out wide, Mohd Fadzli and Che Kamarudin return. Sajali gets a tap-in from a great R. Thinusean Pilai low cross, and that's pretty much the only thing that happens in the first half. Azmi comes off with a knock, before an apparent Mohd Fadzli foul leads to a penalty, which is converted. However, from kick-off Sajali finds Salim to restore our lead. With ten minutes to go, a corner leads to a José Eduardo foul and another penalty. Zaidil gets a touch, but it's 2-2. We finish with a point.

 

It's another Friday when we host mid-table Kelantan. Abdul Wahab is back, in for Abdullah. Azmi pulled his hamstring, so Yunus comes in. Bahari is back in for Salim, but can only play 75 minutes. In a tedious first half, Angkun gives us the lead with a great finish. We hold on with brilliant defensive and goalkeeping performances earning us a pretty fortuitous three points. It was an act of xG terrorism, losing the game on that stat 1.41-0.25.

 

The Piala FA Second Round match at home to Penang, who are struggling in our league, is next on Saturday. Abdul Rhaman is back, while Abdul Rahman is suspended and replaced by Abdullah. Azmi can play again, if only for an hour. Mohd Fadzli heads home the opener from a corner. A long-range effort from Angkun makes it two, and then from kick-off, R. Thinusean Pillai wins the ball back for 3-0. A header gives them one back in the second half. They're the better team in the second half, and we win 3-1 in front of the Malaysia manager. We will be away to SAINS, who have had a bad start to the second-tier season, in the quarters.

 

Our next game is on Friday away to high-flying Negeri Sembilan. Abdul Wahab comes in for Abdullah. Azmi gets an opening goal, and Sajali makes it two early on to put a shock on the cards. They get one back from a half-cleared corner, and a daisycutter from a similar scenario makes it level before the break. And then straight after, a third corner isn't dealt with and converted. In the second half, a deflected effort doubles their lead, and an own goal from substitute central midfielder Muhd Aiman Danish Azli Abdul Azim (23), who we got from Kelantan United but has been injured most of the season, from another corner (!) settles it. Sajali gets one back in injury time, but we lose 5-3.

 

Next up is the Piala FA quarter-final away to SAINS, who are now mid-table in the tier below. With a home tie against KL Rovers for the winner, this is a huge opportunity for us. Abdul Wahab moves centrally and Abdullah comes in. It's a good first half, but a goalless one. In the second half, SAINS start to take control, and get the lead. And then they get a second. Of course. Bollocks. I really wanted to win this one too.

 

The last game before the June break, which I'm again very loosely calling a Ramadan break, is our rivals Sabah away on the Friday. A gashed leg means Abdul Wahab misses out, Che Kamarudin comes in. They are one place ahead of us. They're all over us and get the lead in the first half. However, a lovely Angkun effort levels things before the break. Not long into the second half a great free-kick puts Sabah back in front, but we get back level when substitute Rosli finds Sajali in a crowded box. However, a long-range effort from the kick-off gives them the lead again when Abdullah gives it away. They then head home a free-kick to seal the win.

 

In a 26-game league, after twelve games we're currently eleventh with eleven points out of fourteen teams. We are five points ahead of Penang in thirteenth. It's looking good.

Mkbw50
7 years ago
4 weeks ago
67

I've been inverting R. Thinusean Pillai this whole time, despite promising I would use him as a plain old winger. He's also filled in at full back, and he's not happy about it. After a long break, our first game is at home to bottom side PIB. Mokhtar moves centrally to replace Che Kamarudin, with Rosli filling in. Meanwhile, Abdul Wahab is back and in for Abdullah. They take an early lead, but in the second half some route one play finishes off with a Sajali goal. Late on Bahari heads home a Rosli cross, and a shove on substitute Abang Saufee from a corner leads to a penalty. Sajali converts, and we get the 3-1 win. The same day, we have a tough draw against Negeri Sembilan in the Piala Malaysia First Round. The board only wants me to be 'competitive', and even that is only preferred.

A week later we face Selangor, chasing Asian football, and Mokhtar is suspended so Che Kamarduin replaces him. Mohd Subri comes in for R. Thinusean Pillai. Azmi can only play one half after recovering from food poisoning, even though he could play the whole PIB game when he had it! Mohd Subri seems to justify his selection with a great assist for Bahari, but it's ruled out for offside. Late in the first half Mohd Fadzli gives away the ball cheaply and we concede. They get a second just after half time, and we lose 2-0.

 

On Friday we host mid-table rivals Sabah, and Mokhtar is back in for Rosli. Azmi still only has 75 minutes in him. If he is ill, he doesn't show it, heading home an Abdul Wahab cross for the lead, before Sajali teps home his tenth of the season from a José Eduardo ball. They get one back from heading home a free-kick, and level before the break. In the second half, Abdul Rhaman can't prevent them going in front, and a corner seals their win.

Next, on another Friday we host mid-table Perak. Mokhtar comes centrally for Mohd Fadzli and Rosli comes in. R. Thinusean Pillai is back for Mohd Subri. In the third minute they head home a corner, and in the sixth Abdul Rhaman fails to claim it and it's two nil. Sajali gets one back, and gets another after the break, but it's offside. Then, a bad ball by Che Kamarduin is seized upon and it's 3-1. A corner isn't cleared and Angkun gets one back, but more calamitous defending is 4-2.

Next Friday we visit continental football-chasing Terengganu and Mohd Fadzli replaces the suspended Che Kamarudin. They score early on but it's offside, and then Sajali heads home an R. Thinusean Pillai header, then a lovely Azmi ball is finished by the same. Azmi then made it three, and gets another after the break. A cross by the sub Yunus is then put in for an own goal and we win 0-5.

 

It's a Wednesday game in the Piala Malaysia First Round First Leg, away to Negeri Sembilan who are second in the league. The Piala Malayasia is more closed than the Piala FA, and can be referred to as the league cup as in other countries. It contains the top sixteen teams in the country: the fourteen Liga Super teams and the two relegated from the Liga Super last season. Mohd Isyak comes in for Rosli. Interestingly, Mohd Isyak, who didn't play, is the only person inspired by the team-talk which asks to carry the last performance into this match. Sajali gives us the lead, and then after a corner isn't dealt with it's José Eduardo for the second. They get an offside goal, before a cross is headed home and Abdul Rahman is too indecisive for me. In the second half, a free-kick isn't dealt with and they equalise, but from kick-off Bahari scores off of a brilliant Sajali pass. However, they score straight from kick-off themselves. Angkun is forced off with injury, and then they finally take the lead from a break. They then head home a corner in injury time to win 5-3.

 

It's a quick turnabout for a Liga Super game at home to struggling Sri Pahang on Tuesday. Rosli comes in for Mohd Isyak, while Yunus replaces the suspended Azmi. In for Angkun is Abang Saufee. We take the lead through R. Thinusean Pillai who scores a rebound from a free-kick. However, after a free-kick from them, Abang Saufee handballs it and it's a penalty. Abdul Rahman saves! A missed header allows Bahari to get on the end of a Mokhtar long ball and make it 2-0, but a quick break puts them back in it. A great goal in off the post levels it up before half an hour played, and straight after half-time their keeper boots it upfield and my defence falls asleep allowing them to score. On the break, Sajali is through and is fouled, and we get a pen. However, Sajali basically passes it to the keeper. We conspire to lose 2-3 and give relegation rivals a big three points.

 

No time to mope as on Wednesday we have our Piala FA First Round Second Leg match at home to Negeri Sembilan, who are high-flying in the league. Azmi is back but Ahmad Azriddin Rosli is required for the suspended José Eduardo. It takes them a minute to score from a brilliant passing move. A Bahari goal is disallowed for offside, and his day is made worse when he is forced off with injury. Sajali heads one back in the second half, but they lead again after some post-corner pinball. A foul on Mohd Fadzli after a corner gives us a penalty, and R. Thinusean Pillai scores it. A draw isn't enough to prevent a 7-5 aggregate loss.

 

We have the weekend off and then a Friday game away to Asia-chasing KL City. I make a few changes, with Mohd Isyak in for Muhd Fawwaz Muqrish Rosli, Che Kamadurin in for Mohd Fadzli, and José Eduardo and Angkun in for Ahmad Azriddin bin Rosli and Abang Saufee. Finally, Bahari is replaced by Mohd Khuaziri Abdullah, who we signed for last season but barely got a sniff. José Eduardo gives us the lead after their keeper couldn't keep out a deflected effort, but the lead doesn't last long as a corner is headed in-off. Another corner gives them the lead, and a dink doubles it. Route one play puts them 4-1 up, and a strong low cross makes it five before the break. Sajali gets one back in injury time after the keeper can only parry a long-range effort. After the break usual service resumes as a nice free-kick routine leads to a goal, but we win a penalty when Abdullah is fouled in the box. SSajali's effort is saved. A stubbed toe takes off José Eduardo, but not after he gets his second of the game from a long-range effort that probably should have been stopped. On the break, Abdullah finds substitute Abang Saufee to get another one back, and with five minutes left Azmi finds Sajali who heads home to make it 6-5. However, all that happens in injury time is a disaalowed goal for them for offside.

 

A switch to a new laptop means I redownload the logopack, complete with a new badge for United! We draw PIB away in the Challenge Cup. I get a job interview with Sri Pahang, who are behind us on goal difference in the table. Sajali comes second in the POTM behind a Johor DT striker on three grand a week who plays for Paraguay U20s. José Eduardo and R. Thinusean Pillai make the team of the month. Anyway, on the Friday we host rivals Kuching City, another team we're better than only on goal difference. With seven games to go, PIB look out of it, eleven points behind us, Sri Pahang, and Kuching, but for the other spot there's only four points separating us and Penang. Salim replaces Abdullah, while José Eduardo will only be allowed 75 minutes. A nice route one ball from Che Kamarudin finds Sajali in the second minute for the opener, and it finishes 1-0! They're probably better, but I'm not sure. The new laptop makes the graphics look terrible, but I restart it and fix it. The attendance record was smashed, although most of them were Kuching fans. It's a nice payday.

 

Next Sunday it's a visit to bottom side PIB in the MFL Challenge Cup Quarter Final First Leg (MFL is Malaysian Football League). It consists of the eight teams knocked out in the first round of the Piala Malaysia. The board want me to be competitive but it's not important. I get offered a new contract at United, and my wage is increased to £575 p/w, although with a big wage drop if we go down. It's good to get a new contract as Sri Pahang reject me, with them instead picking Bunga Raya Assistant Manager K. Ravindran. Why they trust someone who was Assistant Manager of a second-tier team over me is interesting. No changes for the game, and a nice ball from Azmi finds Sajali for the opener before the break. After a Sajali header hits the post, substitute Yunus gets his first goal of the season from a rebound. A long-range effort by fellow sub Ahmed Azriddin Rosli ends the rout.

 

On Wednesday we host mid-table Kedah Darul Aman. Bahari is in for Salim, but can still only play an hour. We go behind thanks to a really nice lobbed through ball, and minutes later a cross not cleared makes it two. A push on Sajali in the second half gives us a pen, but the same man's penalty is saved. His record from the spot really isn't great. Things get worse when we concede a header after all that pressure. Our players are flagging and maybe I should have rotated against PIB, but given the state of the table I think we're okay and I'd like to win a trophy. To lose 0-3 given a better xG is very disappointing. Their goalie got a 9.00. We are still seven points ahead of Penang and eleven clear of PIB with a game in hand, both of them have just four games to go.

It's also a two week break until we play bottom side PIB again at home in the second leg of the Challenge Cup quarterfinal. Meanwhile, Uganda (remember them) have a tricky AFCON Qualifiers group with Niger, Senegal, and South Africa. The draw is revealed two days before it starts! For the PIB game, Mohd Fadzli replaces Che Kamarudin. Bahari can still only play 75 minutes. He heads home an Azmi cross to make it ten for the season early on, although they equalise from a rebound after Abdul Rhaman saves from a corner. We retake the lead straight away when a freekick finds Azmi, who squares it to Mokhtar who puts it through the goalie's legs. A push from Abdul Wahab in injury time leads to a penalty and parity. They go down to ten men late on due to injury and they have to put an outfielder in goal! Not long after, Angkun goes through and scores. A win on the night and in the tie sets up a semi against Perak. That's it before the international break and some big AFCON Qualifiers.

Mkbw50
7 years ago
4 weeks ago
67

To recap, we drew Niger, Senegal, and South Africa, and we play each team twice, with the top two teams qualifying. We start with a match at home to Senegal, the holders, winning the 2025 tournament with a 4-1 dismantling of the ten-man Ivory Coast. However, they were narrowly pipped by Togo in their World Cup qualifying group. The FA want me to be "competitive". A foul on Simba's defensive midfielder Khalid Aucho gives us a penalty, and the captain panenkas it to give us the lead. However, they equalise when a corner is not fully dealt with. A corner gives them the winner as well, after a shot from the edge of the area sneaks in. They get a disallowed goal in injury time, and we're disappointed to lose 1-2 in a game we deserved to get something out of against the African champions.

 

Four days later and we visit South Africa, and make no changes. They were knocked out of AFCON in the quarters by the Ivory Coast, but unlike Senegal they made the World Cup, where they lost all three group games. They won their opener away to Niger. We take the lead early when a ball is squared to Rizespor striker Faruku Miya. However, Miya is forced off after fifteen minutes. A nice break from South Africa levels it, and a second one goes in when KCCA's Giosuè Bellagambi fails to reach a low cross. They double their lead in the second half, but a brilliant free-kick in-off the bar from Horsens right-winger Moses Opondo puts us back in it. We push but can't get a winner, and it's another gutting one-goal loss in a game we should have at least drew.

 

Two weeks after that, it's back to club action with a Tuesday match in the Challenge Cup. We host Perak in the first leg of the semifinal. The Gaurs are just outside the AFC Cup places at the moment. A smart Mohd Isyak ball finds Sajali who gives us the lead early on with his twentieth goal of the season. A Sajali effort hits their centre-back, who diverts it on-off the post for an own goal. In injury time, R. Thinusean Pillai is brought down in the box, and Sajali scores straight down the middle. In the second half, a Sajali effort is disallowed for offside, and then they get one back from a cross. Azmi is then brought down in the box, but R. Thinusean Pillai's effort was saved. It's still a big 3-1 win.

 

On Saturday it's back to the league and a visit to Kelantan, who are just ahead of us. A deflection off the bar gives them an early lead, but Mohd Isyak's header from a corner crashed off the bar to Sajali who tapped home. In the second half, a nice through ball is capitalised in-off to give them a lead, and it's an unfortunate 2-1 loss for us.

 

A Wednesday visit to Perak, who have probably missed out on Asian football, in the second leg of the Challenge Cup semifinal is next. We have the same lineup, but Angkun is limited to 75 minutes after getting some bruised ribs in training. Sajali gets the opener when they're down to ten men due to injury, and the same player makes it two with a great finish from outside the box. Their 'keeper would probably be disappointed with that one. They head one back before half time, and Abdul Wahab misses a header for them to equalise on the night after the break. They lead with fifteen minutes to go, but we equalise straight from kick-off when José Eduardo finds Bahari. It finishes 3-3, we win 6-4 on aggregate, and we're in the final! We should have won on the night with poor defending turning 1.35 xG into three goals, but we move. We'll face Sri Pahang, who rejected me after an interview, in the final!

 

On Tuesday it's a Liga Super match at home to Negeri Sembilan, who will be officially out of the title race if they don't beat us. We are close to safety with four games left and can all but guarantee it with a win. It is very difficult to envisage a scenario we go down, but this is a tough game. We lead as Sajali knocks home an R. Thinusean Pillai cross, and we continue to look good for our lead. Late on, Sajali is pushed in the box, and sends the keeper the wrong way with the spot-kick. Then, a Mohd Subri through ball gives him his hat-trick. It's a brilliant 3-0 win against the second best team in Malaysia. Johor DT are champions, and with PIB already down, we're six points clear of Penang with a game in hand, the Black Panthers having just two games to play. We're also four clear of Kuching City, so we just need one more point to guarantee survival.

 

However, it's the hardest game of the season on Saturday as we visit champions Johor DT. We give them a guard of honour. A nice low cross catches us out early on for the opener, and they get their second ten minutes later. A free-kick is then deflected in, and another one is headed home for four. In the second half, a corner sneaks in for five, but Azmi wins a penalty. Sajali scores it. Considering the stature of the club, losing 5-1 is still a disappointment but they weren't too bad. Johor DT then lift the trophy. There's another international break next, and then the Challenge Cup Final and end of the league season.

Mkbw50
7 years ago
4 weeks ago
67

We host Niger on a Friday in a crucial game. Les Mena have lost both their games, and of course were pipped by us to qualification last time. They came fifth in their World Cup qualifying group, won by Morocco. We take the lead when Dunfermline right-back Bevis Mugabi finds Horsens right-winger Moses Opondo who fires home, but they equalise. Before the break, a smart free-kick routine sees Vyškov centre-back Musa Ramathan head it down to Simba DM Khalid Aucho who puts it in-off the bar. Route one play makes it go straight from their goalie to their striker and it's 2-2 at half time. In the second half, a nice finish by AIK striker Calvin Kabuye gets him his first goal, from outside the box. After some chaos in the box, Rizespor right-winger Faruku Miya fires home to wrap up a 4-2 win.

 

Four days later we host South Africa, who have won two games and lost one. Really we need to find a win in this one. Basil Tuma is suspended, that's the only change. Kabuye plays through Sacavenense's Rogers Mato, who replaced Tuma, and Mato just needs to square it... but instead fires it in-off the bar. Then a brilliant strike from Aucho thunders off the same crossbar. A corner sneaks in past our goalie, Giosuè Bellagambi of KCCA, from outside the box. Then, a powerful effort bounces off Bellagambi in to level. On the break, Kabuye finds Opondo to give us the lead back. They level soon after, and nothing happens in the second half. Given the position we were in and that we needed to win, a 3-3 draw, a creditable result in a vacuum, is disappointing.

 

Anyway, Sarawak United have a trophy to win. We host Sri Pahang in the first leg of the Challenge Cup Final. They have just stayed up, a few points ahead of us. We score after thirteen seconds when José Eduardo puts through Angkun. Sajali is then tripped up for a penalty. His spotkick is saved. Then, he earns another pen... and R. Thinusean Pillai scores. A Bahari goal is then disallowed for offside, and they get one back in injury time, with Mokhtar not covering himself in glory. A cross is handballed by their left-back, giving us a penalty and him a second yellow. Mokhtar scores the pen. Then, a smart effort from twenty metres from José Eduardo goes in.

 

On Wednesday, a chance for my first trophy as we visit Sri Pahang in the second leg of the Challenge Cup Final. They're four points ahead of me in the league, but all I need to do is not throw away a three goal lead, with no changes. From a throw-in, R. Thinusean Pillai makes a trip, and it's just inside the box. 1-0. But then, a bit of luck as a long José Eduardo effort deflects in. Our defence falls asleep as they go back ahead, and to be honest they are all over us. I'm happy to go in one down. In the second half, a cross from Abdul Wahab is headed in by Azmi via the bar and goalie (yes it counted as Azmi's goal). R. Thinusean Pillai gets a penalty, and Sajali scores it to lead. After a shot is deflected off the post, it falls to one of their players who scores in-off the other post to equalise. From kick-off, they get another when a low cross is put off the bar onto the post and in. We hold on to win the cup 7-5 on aggregate! The winning XI (all Malaysian unless stated)
GK: Aquila Abdul Rhaman (26), RB: Adam Iksandar Mohd Isyak (23) (sub Muhd Fawwaz Muqrish Rosli (23) 90'), CBs: Mohd Badrul Affendy Mohd Fadzli (33) and Muhd Zharfan Mokhtar (21) (sub Che Mohd Arif Che Kamarudin (31) 83'), LB: Arham Khussyairi Abdul Wahab (26) (Assist 55'), RM: Daniel Aiman Azmi (24) (Goal 55', sub Mohd Afiq Yunus (32) 85'), CMs: José Eduardo (Brazil, 23) (Goal 20', sub Abang Azri Fikri Abang Saufee (26) 90') and Norman Angkun (26), LM: R. Thinusean Pillai (24) (sub Muhd Haziq Mohd Subri (27) 83'), STs: Mohd Firdaus Sajali (26) (Goal 66' (pen)) and Aqil Idham Bahari (25). Unused subs: Ahmad Uzair Zaidil (28), Zulkifly Abdullah (17), Ahmad Azriddin Rosli (31), Mohd Adif Salim (28).

 

We still have two more league games though, and we still need a point to stay up. On Wednesday, we visit Penang, who are looking pretty doomed but with a win might have a chance. PIB are down, with Penang two points behind Kuching City (who have a game in hand) and six behind us, with two games to go. With Abdul Wahab suspended, R. Thinusean Pillai moves back and Mohd Subri comes in. Mohd Subri gives away a pen, and they score. It's a pretty dull game and we're lucky to only lose 1-0 and keep our goal difference six better than theirs.

 

It's a two week gap until we host bottom side PIB on the final day. They're already relegated, Penang are three points behind us, with a goal differential of six. Rumour has it Johor DT want to activate José Eduardo's release clause. Che Kamarudin comes in for the injured Mokhtar (who has a cold), while Abdul Wahab replaces the suspended R. Thinusean Pillai. Penang visit mid-table Sabah. Azmi finds Mohd Subri with a low cross and we score, surely giving us victory. Then, Sajali gets his thirtieth of the season heading home a Mohd Subri cross. From kick-off an attempt deflects and despite Abdul Rhaman getting a touch it squirms in. A José Eduardo free-kick in probably his last game is a great parting shot to keep us up. Mohd Fadzli heads home a corner, and then Sajali heads home a long cross by substitute Abdullah. A nice cross from José Eduardo is headed in by Azmi to wrap up a 6-1 win and Liga Super status next year. Penang go down, and Kuching's draw means we finish eleventh.

Mkbw50
7 years ago
4 weeks ago
67

Sajali's 23 goals won him the Golden Boot, and he was named in the Team of the Year. He also wins Striker of the Year. He wins Fans' Player of the Season, Top Scorer, most Player of the Match Awards, and Highest Rating, while José Eduardo picks up Young Player, Signing, and Goal of the Season, and Most Passes Completed per 90. The 2027 club vision has us working within the wage budget, which I passed at the last second last season because they raised the wage budget for this season before the handover was made official. Growing the club's reputation is a preference, and I've done that. We need to avoid relegation (not just 'battle') as a requirement, and reach the Piala FA proper as a preference. Luckily, being in the Liga Super means I automatically go to the proper, so I've cleared that one already. All I must do is stay up!

 

This time, instead of lots of small signings that I had the luxury to make due to the legacy of being semi-pro, I've made four big ones. Or three big ones and one kind of big one. All are foreign, but we're still below the foreign limit (nine foreigners, eight non-SEA foreigners and seven non-Asian foreigners). I'll go through them now. Zaur Datiev (22) is a Russian right-back who I signed from Alania (Russian second tier) on loan. He will challenge Mohd Isyak for a place in the first team. Diego (19) is my José Eduardo provisional replacement, although noone has actually come in for the latter yet. A central midfielder I managed to nick from Brazilian non-league side Ibrachina. I also took South Korean goalkeeper Park Min-Suk, who is my #1 at eighteen. Finally, Liberian Moses Meah came from LPRC Oilers, one of his country's biggest clubs, to play up front. On the outs, the only sort of significant departure is Ahmad Azriddin Rosli to Naga UKS.

 

The first friendly is away to M4 League side Machan. These friendlies are always weird as they're always against the same teams with players I've gotten rid of. The team I'm playing, with Abdul Wahab and Angkun injured, is Park Min-Suk in goal, Mohd Isyak, Mohd Fadzli, Mokhtar and Abdullah in defence, Azmi, José Eduardo, Diego and Mohd Subri on the wing, and Meah and Sajali up top. We're behind at the break thanks to an early goal (guess which ex-Golden Hornbill scored), but Meah latches on to a Diego ball from kick-off in the second half. They go back in front but Azmi scores from the kick-off. Diego gets the winner after a smart pass from Azmi following pinball, and Datiev gets another off the bench. After the game, a Uganda update: we have Ethiopia in the CHAN Qualifiers, and the winner of that will face Kenya or Somalia.

 

The second friendly is away to Liga Bolasepak Rakyat side Sarawak. We make no changes, trying to gel the side and use more subs. Mohd Subri gives us the lead, but we concede soon after. The story of the season is probably a strong core going forward (José Eduardo, Diego, Meah, Sajali) but a weak defence. Every season our financial position improves, allowing us to improve more areas. Going into last season, José Eduardo was the only player even considered Liga Super level by our analysts, now Diego, Park Min-Suk, José Eduardo, Sajali and Meah all are. Diego is forced off with injury, and with Angkun already out, that's not good. A nice goal is finished off by Meah to put us back in front, but they level from a corner. Substitute centre mid Mohd Asyraf Yusoff, who is 18 and hasn't really played for us much apart from a bit off the bench in our promotion season gets a goal. Bahari also grabs a goal off the bench. Another 4-2 win. Diego will probably miss the first couple of games, but no more, with sprained ankle ligaments taking up four to five weeks. Angkun should be back by the opener to fill in.

 

The next and final friendly is away to M4 side Maqarize three days later. Apart from Abang Saufee in for Diego, we keep the team the same. Mohd Subri scores the opener, and Sajali scores a penalty not long after. The B team is out for the second half, and they soon concede twice and nothing else happens, so it's a 2-2 draw. 

Mkbw50
7 years ago
4 weeks ago
67

The season starts with a Saturday match at home to last season's runners-up Negeri Sembilan. Remember, the bottom two go down, and there are fourteen teams who play each other twice. Meah picked up a pulled ankle ligaments injury and will miss this one, but probably not much more. Our opening day team has South Korean Park Min-Suk (18) in goal, new for this season from Ibrachina. The back four has Adam Iskandar Mohd Isyak (24) on the right, who we signed from Penang last season and was a rotation player. In the middle is Arham Khussyairi Abdul Wahab (27), who has been an important player for us in both our promotion season and last season since signing from Kuching City, but can only play sixty minutes this time. Joining him is Muhd Zharfan Mokhtar (22), who was an important player after we nabbed him from Penang last season. On the left is Zulkifly Abdullah (17), who has been a fringe player since coming through the academy. Danial Aiman Azmi (25) plays at right midfield, having been important since joining from Kelantan Utd last season. In the middle is Brazilian José Eduardo, who had a great season last campaign since joining from Mogi Mirim, and his compatriot Diego, who joined from Ibrachina and can only play 45 minutes. Muhd Haziq Mohd Subri (27), who was a fringe player since joining from Kelantan Utd this season gets the nod on the left, while it's a strike partnership of Aqil Idham Bahari (25) and Mohd Firdaus Sajali (26), who were key for us last season. A stinger from Mohd Subri early on gives us the lead despite the goalie's touch, but a smart through ball catches us out and levels it. Soon after, a smart cross by Azmi is tapped home by Sajali. Diego is forced off earlier than expected with an injury, and soon after, a free-kick gets past Park Min-Suk. However, in injury time a José Eduardo free-kick deflects in to give us the lead. A brilliant ball from substitute Norman Angkun (26), a key player when I took over who came on for Diego, is put in by Bahari in the second half. In injury time, Azmi finds Bahari on the break and he wraps up a big big 5-2 win. Diego will miss two months with a broken toe. Somehow the guy that scored two goals from them is the league's Player of the Week.

 

On Saturday, we host Kelantan. They came ninth last term and started their campaign with a win over Kuching City. With Diego out, he's replaced by Abang Azri Fikri Abang Saufee (26), a fringe player since signing from Harini last season. Liberian Moses Meah (22), a new signing from LPRC Oilers, comes in for Bahari. Abdul Wahab starts but will only get a half. After a very dour first half, Abang Saufee is fouled (it looked fine to me) and we get a pen. Sajali hits the post. However, on the break José Eduardo finds Meah who scores in-off the post in front of his international manager. After a poor first half, we hold on in a nice second to win 1-0.

 

On Sunday we visit KL City, who came third last season and have started with a win and a loss. I'm third for manager of the month and José Eduardo makes the team of the month. We draw Liga M3 side Bunga Raya away in the Piala FA First Round. No changes for this one, though Meah is only allowed 75 minutes. A brilliant Sajali cross is headed home by José Eduardo. We dominate the first half, but the main story is an injury to Mohd Subri. In the second half, a Meah goal is disallowed for offside (by a mile), before Abang Saufee wins a penalty, before Sajali fires home for his 50th goal in red and black. The bench then showed their ability, with academy graduate Mohd Asyraf Yusoff (18), a central midfielder, finding Bahari who put it in off the bar, and left midfielder R. Thinusean Pillai (24), a key part of last season getting a long range goal straight from kick-off. Sajali wins Player of the Week.

 

On Friday we host PDRM (Polis Di Raja Malaysia), who got promoted but lost all three games so far this season. R. Thinusean Pillai comes in for Abdullah, while Angkun replaces the injured Mohd Subri, who has pulled ankle ligaments. Angkun smashes home an Azmi ball to give us the lead, but a cross is headed home to level things. A knock forces off Angkun, before Mokhtar is pushed during a free-kick and Sajali scores the penalty. We should have battered them, although with subs we're holding on at the end, it's a useful 2-1 win! Angkun's injury isn't serious, and Liberia's manager watches Meah (although I can't imagine he was impressed today).

 

Next is the Piala FA First Round Match away to Bunga Raya, from the league below. They came tenth in the M3 League last season but are up to fifth this season with two wins and two draws. The news that Abdul Wahab is out for three months with broken ribs doesn't help our preperation. He is replaced by longtime servant Che Mohd Arif Che Kamarudin (32), who I signed on a free in 2024 and has been an important piece at the back ever since, although his powers are fading. An early Meah goal is ruled out for offside, and they take the lead from a header. That's their only shot on target in the first half and we don't deserve to be losing, but I'm worried at our lack of creativity. This competition is a chance to get Asian football but instead we're floundering. The second half isn't much better, but Sajali heads home a José Eduardo cross to equalise despite a big touch from their 'keeper. It finishes 1-1, and extra time will hurt us with a league game to come in midweek. Even worse, Park Min-Suk rashly comes for a free-kick allowing an easy goal early in. A two-footed challenge on Harsi by their right midfielder gives us a chance, but we do nothing, and then concede a sloppy goal before half-time. Russian substitute right-back Zaur Datiev (22), signed on loan from Alania-2 heads home a corner to put us back in it, but we lose 3-2. It's the third year in a row lower-league opposition has knocked us out of the Piala FA, and it's pretty gutting. The style must have weaknesses against opposition like this, but when Park Min-Suk makes a mistake like that and Meah finds himself offside seven times, who knows.

 

On Wednesday, we have our league game, rearranged due to that last match, at home to Kedah Darul Aman, who are fifth with seven points. This is the last game before an international break. Mohd Subri is back for Angkun, but can only play sixty minutes. A break gives them the lead, with Park Min-Suk getting a touch. Meah shows his quality with a nice run and finish to equalise for the fiftieth league goal of his career, with their goalie not keeping it out. We're the better team for much of the second half, but the momentum shifts as we tire late on and a powerful effort is pushed by Park Min-Suk... in-off the bar, and we concede another soon after. A brilliant long-range effort seals it, but Meah does win a penalty back. Sajali's penalty is too hot to handle, but we still lose 2-4. That's it before an international break, but it's an exciting start to the season.

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