Good evening all and welcome to another article on the Pentagon Challenge. I’m loving these days off as I can plough through seasons without having the worry to go to work hence the speedy updates!
A new season dawned with Thanda Royal Zulu, after my 3rd place finish last season I was determined to try and break the dominance of Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs. To do this I really needed to improve my squad without destroying the ever increasing morale and team cohesion I had assembled.
Lucky Nguzana my star striker who I had on loan for 2 seasons wasn’t allowed by Platinum Star to renew his loan deal so I had to go hunting for a new striker, I also needed a back-up LW, a new AM and a back-up Striker, these were basically to replace players I lost due to being out of contract.
Here are my signings:
Signing 1 – My new Striker, Bongi Ntuli was signed for £145k from Bloem Celtic
Signing 2 – Khanylso Mayo, signed on a season long loan from Kaizer Chiefs, he will be my back-up striker for the season
Signing 3 – Yanga Baliso, a highly rated young LW, who will provide good back-up to Nguye, he was signed from Ajax CT on a pre-contract deal
Signing 4 – Thabiso Nkoane, signed from Sundowns for £16.5k, Nkoane will provide good competition in numerous positions
And finally, Signing 5 – Slyabonga Ngubane, I really needed a new CM who could provide some stiff competition and this guy definitely ticked all the boxes, signed from FS Stars for £100k
So signings complete, my squad looks like this:
A decently sized squad, ratings for players are at the end of the season, they seem to drop if players don’t play so ignore them! The team comparison report rates us on average 5th or 6th in the league
So signings complete, squad assembled, we head into pre-season in a good mood, I managed to set myself some decent friendlies, a mix of easy teams to gain morale and big team to gain some income.
One thing to note before pre-season starts, I have just been offered a new job, my first foray into International Management with African Nations Cup holders Algeria, they removed their manager after coming 3rd in Confederations Cup! I immediately accepted, Algeria are 75% through the 2018 World Cup Qualification, and have a 2 leg tie against Gambia to qualify for the finals.
A really busy pre-season, but a good workout for the squad, a couple of defeats but only 1 of those was disappointing. A few high scoring draws made me rethink my attacking approach to games.
So pre-season over, the season starts, The board expectation is to qualify for Continental football, I really think that easy to achieve with our squad, I want to push the top 2 and attempt to win the league. The top 2 qualify for the Champions League so that’s my minimum aim
A fantastic start to the season, 3 league wins and progression in the Super 8s, we take a 2-1 lead into the 2nd leg against Supersport United.
A quiet month and a disappointing one as we are knocked out of the Super 8 on away goals. We did keep our 100% record up in the league
Still unbeaten but a couple of draws, the Orlando one I can deal with but the Ajax CT was disappointing, after this were sat top by 3 points
Another unbeaten month, we progressed to the final of the Knockout Cup, after beating Kaizer Chiefs in extra time in the Semi Final. 1 in and 1 draw in the league keeps us top
We also played our 2nd leg of the World Cup Qualification, we managed to win the first leg against Gambia 4-0, so a 2-0 defeat in the away leg didn’t matter and we had qualified for the World Cup
Then some strange news came through
We had qualified for the African Champions League mid-season? I was confused but then realised that Kaizer Chiefs had won the 2017 Champions League and because of this we had been handed a spot after ending 3rd last season. What a bonus for the season!
A 100% month and another trophy in the bag after beating Vasco CT in the Knockout Cup final.
We also had the World Cup Draw in December, we were handed a pretty decent group
Our first league defeat and an awful one as we lose 4-0 at Home to title challengers Kaizers. We turned it around and kept our lead at the top but its now only on GD to Kaizers. Orlando Pirates are 3rd but 6 points behind
Champions League campaign starts with a comfortable win against Rwandan team APR FC. We also progressed in the FA Cup
Another 2 round of the Champions League down and we now move into the Group Stage where we got a rather difficult draw, 2 Tunisians team and an Algerian team. At least we missed out on Kaizers and Orlando as they are in the other group! Only 1 league game and its a disappointing draw. We are now 2nd behind Kaizers who seem unbeatable at the moment
A shocking defeat to Sundowns literally hands the title to Kaizer Chiefs. By now injuries are really taking their toll, we have 1 fit striker and no fit Attacking Midfielder!
A really poor end to the season, Kaizers win the league with a game to spare which is lucky as we lost 5-1 to them in the final game! We also got knocked out the FA Cup after a stupid 4-5 result against Sundown. Here is how the league table ended:
A really pleasing 2nd place but seeing as we were top for nearly the whole season I was disappointed not to win the league. Its gonna take something magical to topple Kaizer Chiefs but in this challenge its not about winning titles but the Champions League and this will put us in it in 2019.
Back to the 2018 Champions League, 4 points from 3 games sits us 2nd in the group, the 2nd half of the group doesn’t start until next season. Here is how the Champions League Groups look:
So another season down and although we couldn’t win the league a 2nd pace finish is pleasing as we managed to get ourselves ahead of Orlando Pirates and also qualified for the 2019 Champions League, we sit 2nd in the 2018 Champions League which if we can hold that position will put us into the Semi-Finals but its going to be tough.
Just a quick note on who were my star performers for the season, first up there was my loan signing from Kaizer Chiefs Khanyiso Mayo who battled his way to 1st choice striker and banged in 16 goals in 23 league games
And finally, Left Back Phelelani Mpangase, was consistent all season and deserves a mention
All we had now was the 2018 World Cup in Russia, first thing that happened was we lost around 6 1st team players through injury so I was really scraping the barrel with players. In the end we had a very disappointing campaign and were knocked out without winning a game. Somehow Wales qualified with 2 points and although we ended with 2 points as well our GD wasn’t good enough
Really poor but I will stick about as one of my goals in this challenge is to win the 5 continental international competitions so my aim here is to win the African Nations
So there you have it, another season down, if somehow I do manage to win the Champions League I will finish that season. The final happens around December time so I will make sure the season finishes before I leave for a new continent and also to keep up my season by season updates
Thanks for reading x