2031-32 Open Thread
For those of you who have not been following along, let’s take a quick moment to recap.
Starting at Pacific FC in 2022, our cohort of 11 bloggers has taken turns barnstorming our way from Victoria to Dansoman to Adelaide and countless locations in between, securing the 2025 North American Champions League title and winning the 2030 AFC Champions League title.
The goal? Win the Champions League on 5 continents with our manager, Pierce Bomboclat.
Now, we’re about to come full circle as I’m the 11th (and last) manager in the order, with Wynter set to take over at the top of the order, after I complete my turn.
The save itself is explained at the Joint Save Headquarters.
Taking over for Bomboclat? Sydney FC’s manager, Velibor Mitrovic.
Before the 2031 season begins, this is how things look in Ghana. Keep in mind that, under the rules of the save, we cannot manage a club that has won its respective Champions League — meaning that Hearts of Oak (2000 winners) and Asante Kotoko (1970 and 1983 winners) are unavailable.
Tema Youth, New Edubiase United and Berekum Arsenal promote from the 2nd tier, but Tema Youth already have a manager. While New Edubiase United and Berekum Arsenal are available, their squads are small and — quite frankly — terrible, as compared to other Ghanaian clubs.
Pierce Bomboclat is nothing if not patient and deliberate. Having left Ghana once before, he is not going to leap at the first opportunity that comes along.
With the Ghanaian Premier League kicking off and no immediate job prospects, Bomboclat has no choice but to heckle Niklas Bendtner on Twitter, with hilarious results.
Impressed by Bomboclat’s banter, Australia offers him the national team position. But Bomboclat is holding out for something better. (Also, the save rules preclude national team management.)
As the Ghanaian Premier League season rumbles on in earnest, the first insecure managers are at Tema Youth and Legon Cities.
Tema Youth are overmatched in terms of quality — a poisoned chalice, and not in particularly good financial shape. However, Legon Cities are in decent financial shape, even if the squad is not particularly strong. Neither is particularly appealing.
In lieu of football management, Bomboclat has taken up a new hobby — organizing the Tupperware in his pantry. And collecting his urine in jars.
Two hobbies. Two.
Each day, he begins anew with the Tupperware. One day, he will crack the secrets and achieve organizational perfection. At which point he will move on to the sock and underwear drawer.
Michael Skibbe’s Macarthur claim the A-League Regular Season title, with Adelaide United finishing runners-up. However, Macarthur are beaten in the semifinals by Chris Coyne’s Brisbane Roar, who will face Adelaide United in the playoff final.
While Accra Lions and Liberty Professionals were interesting options (for different reasons), Bomboclat saw a glimmer of hope in the news that the media were predicting another manager would take over those jobs.
In due course, that is exactly what happened.
The manager of the club he wanted to take over, more than any other, left to take the Accra Lions job.
Clearing the path for Bomboclat.
The supporters were clear — Bomobclat or we riot.
The interview was a mere formality. The offer? A delight to receive. We’re going to Cape Coast, to take the reins at Mysterious Dwarfs, a club that won the Ghanaian Premier League in 1965-66, and the Ghanaian FA Cup in 1968, and was threated with expulsion from the league in 2020.
We arrive in Ghana with much work to do. Dwarfs sit 6th in the table, having been predicted to finish 12th but sitting near the top of the table until recently.
With 7 matches to play, we sit 10 points behind Ashanti Gold in 4th (the final continental qualifying spot) and 20 points off Hearts of Oak at the top of the table.
There is much work to be done.
Before we continue on, we need to take a close look at the squad (which appears to have some promising youngsters), determine what tactic we are going to play, and cross all of our fingers and toes regarding the forthcoming youth intake.
We have 2 weeks before our first official match (away to WAFA, who sit 2nd in the table), so we schedule 3 friendlies. We don’t learn much, but gain a little tactical familiarity in the process.
Our most promising players appear to be:
- Clinton Gyamfi (recalled from loan), who will play as a mezzala;
- Isaac Adamu, who will play as a shadow striker;
- Edward Arhin, who will be our libero;
- Frances Ahmed, who will also play as a mezzala; and,
- Osei Lamptey, who is playing as one of our ball-playing defenders.
Life in Cape Coast continues to go well for Bomboclat, who has continued to schedule friendlies to help build up the side’s familiarity with his “unconventional” tactical approach.
Results continue to go Dwarfs’ way, although these first weeks have proven that anything can happen. One of the best things about PM Haaienvuist is that it stacks bodies in front of goal in the defensive phase — and if anything has become clear it is that we need to prevent shots on goal, because anything on target is a danger.
We are in dire need of a centerback, two wingbacks and a goalkeeper. In the absence of any transfer funds, however (in fact, we’ve needed a cash injection to stay afloat), we must make due with free transfers at the end of the season.
Of course, as long as the results keep coming in, we cannot complain — we sneak a 5-4 win over 2nd place Asante Kotoko on matchday 26. 90 minutes that were not for the faint of heart.
We kick off September by sharkfisting Tema Youth, 4-1. A trip to Hearts of Oak followed, and we went ahead early (with a 2nd goal called back for offsides) but had to settle for a draw in the end — a draw we would have gladly taken before kickoff. The month is capped with a hard-fought 3-1 win over Berekum Chelsea.
Before we kick off the final match of the year, our youth intake arrives:
The final match of the campaign sees us hosting Medeama, a chance to rise to 5th if results go our way. We trounce them, 6-1, but finish 6th with Aduana Stars beating Hearts of Oak.
It is an exceptional run to end the campaign. The foundation for the year to come.
October 2031 – Season Review.
It has been an eventful 3 months in Ghana — a new job and an unbeaten run to ensure a solid foundation to build from, for the 2032 campaign.
While I am hoping to sign a few players to backstop the squad, the reality is that may not be possible given that we have no transfer budget. The $473k in prize money is not going to take us far.
As much as I would like to build this club into one that can challenge on a continental scale, the path of least resistance may be taking an opportunity when one of the bigger (eligible) clubs becomes available — specifically, WAFA or Ashanti Gold.
The only difference being that those clubs appear more stable, financially, with 7-figure balances. But unless and until that day comes, we have to look to the next steps at Cape Coast — meaning, we need to finish in the top 4 next year.
November/December 2031 – January 2032 – Transfers.
My transfer targets are noted above — a centerback, two wingbacks and a goalkeeper.
At least, that’s the ideal. The reality is that I’ll take anyone who will improve the XI.
The Board doubles our wage budget to $23k/week, with $32k for transfers. But the players I want aren’t available for that.
In the end, we sign Simon Owusu (our new goakeeper), Ali Acquah (a new right wingback), Mark Abubakar (mezzala), Ignatius Donkor (retraining as a left wingback), Erik Baah (a centerback prospect) and Gideon Boateng (training as a roaming playmaker) on free transfers.
The biggest signing, however, is Ubong Adeyemo — a Nigerian U23 international, who will join on a free from Enugu Rangers on his 18th birthday in September 2032. Adeyemo will be one of our highest-paid players, but looks to be worth every penny. He could be an absolute beast at this level. (We are allowed to register 4 foreign players.)
The one that got away? Our biggest transfer target was Dominic Mohamed, who signed for Malmo FF on a free. We’ve since tried to bring him back on loan, but Malmo aren’t willing to entertain our offers.
To replace Frances (which is a girl’s name, I’ve reminded him repeatedly) we’ve signed James Asare ($28k; Eleven Wonders). While unambitious, our scouts and coaches are unanimous in seeing massive potential in young Asare. He will compete with Tetteh to start as one of our shadow strikers, and otherwise play from the bench.
After rejecting our offers on multiple occasions, Malmo accepts a loan offer for Dominic Mohamed…only for Dominic to laugh in our faces.
We kick off the campaign against Aduana Stars, who finished 5th last year. We curb-stomp them, 7-nil.
It took us a little while to break through in the 2nd match, away to newly-promoted Heart of Lions, after the woodwork denies us twice in the first 12 minutes. It took even longer to find our second, but we see out the match — a one-sided 2-nil win, which we follow with a narrow 1-nil win over Medeama.
Bigger tests lie ahead. But this is an ideal start to the campaign, especially since we’ve been missing Abubakar for the last 2 matches due to injury.
Remember how good it felt to claim those first 3 wins? That feeling of invincibility, as we lorded it up at the top of the table?
Well, it’s long gone. Karma is a fickle **tch, eh?!
Our unbeaten run — dating back to Bomboclat’s appointment in July 2031 — was cruelly interrupted by Berekum Chelsea, who sat back like cowards and hit us twice on the break to claim a 2-1 win they did not deserve. We were then steamrolled by Asante Kotoko, 3-1, a match which also saw Gyamfi unjustly sent off after the result was all-but determined.
Mindful of the imminent Accra Lions match, Bomboclat rotates the squad for the mid-week FA Cup tie away to Heart of Lions. Extra time is required after our complete dominance fails to turn into goals, but we prevail 2-nil to advance to the Third Round, where we will face Sekondi Hasaacas.
Accra Lions are in poor form, sitting in the relegation zone, and we take the opportunity to get back in the saddle with an emphatic 3-nil win — a kick squarely to the nether-regions of Lions’ manager, who abandoned Dwarfs 9 months ago for Accra. Karma, that.
At the close of the Swedish transfer window, several clubs engage in a feeding frenzy to secure Clinton Gyamfi‘s services. In the end, the Board goes over my head to accept an offer from Trelleborgs. I don’t even have the chance to object. No hard feelings, Clinton. But I hope your **** falls off.
Financially, we’re on somewhat solid ground and relatively on par with the league. But a quick comparison reveals the uphill battle we’re fighting — Ashanti Gold have nearly $1M in the bank, with a $379k transfer budget and a comparable wage budget; Hearts of Oak have a $9.27 bank balance, with a $4.72M transfer budget and more than double our wage budget; Asante Kotoko have even more impressive numbers, with $12.6M in the bank, a $6.25M transfer budget, and triple our wage budget.
Of course, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Right?
Regardless of our respective size, we’re battling and find ourselves in 3rd after a busy month, although Saudi club Abha is sniffing around Isaac Adamu. He is not a player we want to lose at this juncture — he is our best shadow striker, juxtaposed against the potential of James Asare and relative blandness of Eric Tetteh.
The last thing we wanted ahead of a match against Ashanti Gold? Dropped points.
We dominate Tema Youth in the first match of the month but struggle to find the back of the net, snapping a 7-match win streak with a 2-1 loss. Against the Miners, however, we show up. A 4-nil win that was the opposite of our showing against Tema Youth.
Following the match, Adamu informs Bomboclat that he’s no longer unhappy a transfer to Saudi Arabia was rejected. Bomboclat promptly offers him a new contract (to tie him down for an additional year), which Adamu signs shortly before a crucial trip to Hearts of Oak.
That Hearts of Oak match? Yeah, let’s not talk about that…ouch. Where does it hurt, you ask? Just in my everywhere.
We rotate the squad (partially) to face Tamale City, and claim an 8-nil win to send us into the final 16, but we draw Asante Kotoko. ****bastard. One of the two sides we did not want to face. At least we are hosting.
As one could have predicted based on the financials above, it is a two-team battle for supremacy in Ghana. While we sit 3rd in the league table, there is a gulf between ourselves and these two giants.
Bargain-hunting for free contract transfers is a long-loved pastime of mine, and Bomboclat is reaping the benefits. We’ve confirmed the signings of two of the most promising young midfielders in Ghana — Joseph Afriyie and Francis Lamptey. Both appear to have bags of potential, although Lamptey is less ready for the 1st XI. They will arrive at the end of this year, upon expiration of their current contracts, when Wynter takes over the save.
Our youth intake preview also sounds promising, but Bomboclat isn’t going to hold his breath.
A rough month on the pitch, with points dropped all over the place. We’re only 4 points clear of Ashanti Gold, however, with WAFA circling in 5th (7 points back.
All Bomboclat wanted for his birthday? A win over Berekum Chelsea — payback for the loss back in March. And he got it. A narrow 1-nil win. But 3 points are 3 points.
Which proves to be the mantra in a month where we obtain results (including a 1-1 draw with league-leading Asante Kotoko), but really aren’t blowing the doors off.
(It is also confusing, because we did not finish in the top 4 last year and thus should not have qualified…it makes me wonder if FM pulled the clubs sitting 3rd/4th at the time qualifying round was drawn, as opposed to the end of the year. In searching for an explanation, I came across a post which indirectly references this issue (towards the end) on the SI Bugs Forum — if it becomes a problem, we can simply move on to South America.)
August 2032 – CAF Confederations Cup, Preliminary Round.
Much to my surprise, the lads were in tremendous form for the first leg in Algiers, with young James Asare playing like a man possessed, claiming goals in the 25th, 73rd and 80th minutes to lead Dwarfs to a well-earned 3-2 win.
USM Alger showed their mettle in the 2nd leg, however, claiming a 2nd minute goal to kick off a heavyweight prize fight of a match, each side trading blows. We prevailed thanks to an Isaac Adamu hat trick (10th, 50th and 87th minutes), claiming a 3-3 draw on a night where the Algerians simply refused to accept that they had lost, to advance 6-5 on aggregate.
Our reward? A trip to Mogadishu for the First Round, to face Elman FC. Is reward the right word?
Meanwhile, we’ve all but locked down a third-place finish, with a 3-1 win over Ashanti Gold on Matchday 36.
Bomboclat decides to helicopter the players into Mogadishu for kickoff, a decision he regrets greatly after a 1st half in which Dwarfs claim 3 goals, but should be much further ahead. To settle everyone’s nerves at the half, he makes the lads watch the opening scenes of the first Twilight movie. (There was some logic to his thinking, but in trying to explain himself to the media after the match, he can’t remember what it was.)
Regardless, the lads helicopter back to the airport with a 4-nil win in-hand, even if they left something far more precious behind.
Upon returning to Cape Coast, we find that Ubong Adeyemo has officially arrived. He steps directly into the XI for the dead rubber against Tema Youth and the headliner against Hearts of Oak. It may be a new day, but we’re still a step off the pace against the two giants of Ghanaian football.
Another underwhelming display against Elman, but a 3-nil win (7-nil, agg) ensures that we progress to the Second Round.
We finish the domestic campaign with a 6-nil win over Inter Allies, as our unimpressive youth intake arrives and we avoid some of the “big” teams in the draw, and will face Petro Atletico for a spot in the CAF Confederations Cup Group Stage…
…however, my turn has now ended, meaning that Bomboclat and Dwarfs will be guided by the steady hand of Wynter, as he takes up the mantle in The World Is Not Enough. I’d hoped we could challenge for the league title during my turn, but it simply wasn’t to be. Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko are simply on another level, even if we did accomplish my primary goals of building up the squad and getting Wynter into continental competition.
11 Bloggers, 1 Goal. Win everything.
This post is part of a series known as The World Is Not Enough — a joint save where a group of bloggers try to complete a “tiered” Pentagon Challenge, with an Achievement Hunter component. Follow along through the Joint Save Headquarters and hashtag (#TheWorldIsNotEnoughFM).