Welcome back to the Aswijan Assignment, a Football Manager 2020 save in the fictional country of Aswijan – using a database created by @Chilled_Moose.
Season one in Aswijan has been a hugely enjoyable, totally unexpected success. Despite being predicted to finish 12th and with odds of around 14/1 to win the league, Zagora Athletik secured promotion from Liga Dukh at the first opportunity! And who can forget the momentous cup victory over Aswijan Siti and lifting the Copa Dukh?
Things went far better than I was expecting when I selected Zagora based on their kit. But now it’s time to have a look back at the season’s top performers and at what else happened around Aswijan. And, we’ll give you a chance to ‘meet’ some of the names I’ve been throwing around all season.
Zagora top performers
The two main men for Zagora this season have been striker Tiberius Olivero and young winger Martin Goronda.
Olivero was by far and away our top goalscorer wth 27 goals in all competitions, including 20 in the league. That included a club record of 4 in one match and he finished the season well with 8 goals in his last 9 matches. The next top scorers were his two backup strikers Fokoinas Caito, who played most of the season as a makeshift right-winger, and Metello Ardito who both got 11 goals.
Left-winger Goronda, who’s just turned 18, was next on 10 goals, but he also led the way with an impressive 17 assists in all competitions – which is 12 more than anyone else at the club. He was also the top rated player with an average rating of 7.25 in 42 matches. Goronda has had an excellent season and still has plenty of potential waiting to be fulfilled.
Other notable performers include central midfielder Frances Cafiero, who loves banging goals in from range and scored 9 and laid on 5 assists as well as a club-high 92% pass completion. He’ll go down in Zagora folklore as the man who scored the winning goal against the mighty Aswijan Siti.
While his midfield partner and club captain Vladimiro Mashashi popped up with 6 goals and 5 assists, which isn’t bad but considering he was playing as a Mezzala maybe we could have expected a little more. The same goes for Belerofonte Kartal, who played most of the season as an attacking central midfielder but only delivered 4 goals and 5 assists from 49 appearances.
Our centre-back pairing of Benjamin Bernardi and Tackin Bourdon also deserve a mention. The pair are just 24 and 21 but performed consistently all season despite only having one backup centre-back, that being the brilliantly named Abdull’ah Dong, who isn’t very good.
In addition to Goronda we had several exciting young players come into the first team. The main one was 18-year-old right-back Arkadios Gram, who racked up 42 appearances without scoring and getting 2 assists with a decent average rating of 6.99.
17-year-old midfielder Michalis Saivaldsson had a few decent games and scored 2 and assisted 5 in 47 appearances, which was more than I realised although 19 were as a sub. While 18-year-old goalkeeper Caelan Mukulu kept 12 clean sheets in 21 games, whch is more than cup hero Daniele Chunso kept in 31 games, before being cruelly ruled out for the season with a broken leg.
There will need to be a bit of a rebuild for next season, but I’m confident most of the players mentioned above have what it takes to make the step up. Plus, given our finances of just over £1 million in the bank – and with around that figure being spent on improving youth facilities – we don’t have much choice about that.
End of season awards
Olivero’s goalscoring exploits won him the Liga Dukh Dorad Bot award, which was secured through his brace on the last day of the season. Goronda won the Iuvento award for young player of the season
Martin Goronda was named as the fans’ player of the season taking home 47% of the vote, followed by Olivero (27%) and Cafiero (15%), and won young player of the season.
Mashashi won goal of the season for the below volleyed wonder strike against Al Khindés in September, which also came third in the league’s goal of the season award.
I won the Trenor di la Temprad (manager of the season) award, which delighted Chairman Arnobio Behired further,
Zagora’s season in stats
The club’s achievements this season go beyond the cup success and promotion. We also posted some impressive numbers through the campaign that I was blindly oblivious of until… well, now.
First of all, we were the top scorers in the league with 69 goals, 2 more than 3rd placed Ben Garrés and 6 more than champions Kasra. We also had the joint best shooting accuracy of 51% and the best passing accuracy with 87%.
But one area I’m really pleased about is that we had the best average possession in the league with 62%, well clear of Awjizirbu and Ouarrik Oskat on 56%. We also won the least headers in the league with 1302, 68 short of the next least and more than 500 behind Zaratiy Oskat, which I guess further proves that we play attractive football?
We scored 8 goals from corners, which was the joint 4th highest in the league, 11 from indirect free-kicks, which was the third highest in the league, and scored a joint league high of 4 direct free-kicks. We also had the most shots on target (334, which is 23 more than Kasra). We also earned 11 penalties, the second mos in the league behind Kasra’s ridiculous 13.
Defensively, we only conceded 3 goals from corners, 6 from indirect free-kick and 2 direct free-kicks, as well as 4 penalties. So 15 of the 37 goals we let in were from set-pieces.
We also used the second lowest number of players all season, with just 26. And we had the 4th lowest average attendance of just 2,520 compared to Hesef’s impressive league-high 15,073. However, we had the second highest attendance by capacity, averaging 80% through the season, and a league-high of 2 sellouts. So it’s fairly clear we need a better stadium at some point!
Elsewhere in Aswijan, the top tier Liga Regale was won by Aswijan Malikiy, who notched up 86 points from 34 games and finished 11 points clear of Aswijan Siti, who we beat in the Copa Azore. Siti were a further 11 clear of Wabani and our parent club Mufala Malikiy were 4th in the final Champions League spot.
Talat and Qashid were relegated from the top tier and we’ll be facing them next season in the Liga Principale. The second tier was won by Wabani Athletik and were joined in promotion by third-placed Uswana Society, who beat ACAT 3-0 in the playoff final. Ouarrik Oskat joined us and Kasra in promotion by winning the Liga Dukh playoffs.
Aswijan Siti lifted the other big cup tournament, the Copa Populare, defeating Fari, who finished 13th in the top league, 2-0 in the Final. And Marrador FC won the Copa Azore, beating Hamjar 4-2 in extra-time in the Final.
Join us next time as we look to strengthen the squad where necessary in order to remain in Liga Principale and meet the board’s fairly lofty expectations of a mid-table finish…