Setting yourself a challenge is a massive appeal in Football Manager. This often leads us to explore different countries and to manage in a vast range of leagues to forge a career throughout the game. Depending on what you prefer, this can extend to the international management scene too.
Managing international teams is a completely different experience as long parts of the game are spent keeping tabs on in-form players and deciding your team’s strengths and tactics.
In one save, I began as Ireland under-21 manager and I was eventually approached by the Ivory Coast to manage the national team. Not a save I would have chosen from the start of the game but one I wanted to try.
Taking on an African international team had plenty of challenges, most notably on the international and continental stage. But there were plenty of achievements to experience with a top African national team in Football Manager.
1. World Cup History
No African based team has ever won the World Cup. The South American and European domination of the competition is clear and no African team has ever progressed past the quarter-final stages of the competition. Cameroon was the first team to reach this stage in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010. No team from outside Europe or South America have ever finished in the top three of the competition either so, again, there is scope here to make history.
Of course, winning the World Cup in the game is not an easy feat, but with a team with exciting potential (Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Egypt, Cameroon and Algeria) then your chances do increase.
2. AFCON History
One of the greatest aspects of the Africa Cup of Nations is how so many different teams have won the competition. There is no dominance in the competition and 13 different countries have won the competition since its inception in 1957 with Egypt lifting the title the most amount of times (7).
This is a good opportunity to take a team who hasn’t won the AFCON before and lead them to glory. Although your options are limited for African national teams, you can only manage 17 African teams in Football Manager, there are still some nations you can lead to their maiden AFCON title: Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali and The Gambia. Again, not easy, but an amazing feat if it can be achieved.
3. Excellent Potential
If you choose one of the bigger African footballing nations to manage, then there is potential to lead a few teams into their golden age with a mix of potential and existing ability.
Ivory Coast boasts one of the best squads with the most potential, particularly in central midfield and attack with the likes of Christian Kouame, Hamad Traore and Issouf Bayo the most threatening players in the squad.
While Egypt and Nigeria also have a good existing roster of players to choose from and Nigeria, in particular, are probably the best option along with Ivory Coast to develop into an African or International winning side.
An outside chance maybe Cameroon or Algeria. Although they are not world-beating squads, they could represent a work in progress.
One of the only issues of managing any national team in the game is not being solely responsible for a player’s development and progress. However, you can track players who are performing well and who develop good potential as the game moves forward.
4. Football Manager Confidenc Boost
If you struggle to break into the latter stages of the World Cup or the AFCON with your African national team, there is still ample opportunity to build your confidence in the game. In qualifiers for the major tournaments, you face lots of minnows in order to qualify which is an excellent confidence boost if you are just starting out playing Football Manager, you want to try different tactics or simply just for fun.
There’s potential to rack up some big scores and dominant performances along the way too!