St Lucia is proving to be a very fun beginning to our challenging Football Manager 2018 save. In the last post, I discussed our aim of the save in detail. In short, we want to get from St Lucia to Real Madrid! It certainly won’t be easy. To read part one of this story, do go back and read it through the link below.
The first competitive fixtures for Saint Lucia were to be played in the Caribbean Championship. But before that, we had arranged several friendly fixtures to get to know our squad and find our best eleven. The following post will be a review of these friendlies and the Caribbean Championship – can St Lucia upset the apple cart?
Caribbean Championship | St Lucia to Real Madrid #2
When I joined St Lucia mid-2017, the next competitive fixture wasn’t until the Caribbean Championships in 2018. So the main aim of the first few months in charge of St Lucia was to use international friendlies to find our best XI.
As it transpired, it wasn’t actually that difficult to find our best XI. There was a clear gulf between our best 14/15 players and the rest of eligible St Lucian footballers. You can see from our friendly results that we are capable of beating some decent national teams on our day. But should we suffer any injuries to our best players I’m worried about the men who will come in to replace them. Let’s take a look at our best eleven.
Our Best XI
Rather than show all eleven players in this post, I’ll instead just speak about each individual and link their name to a screenshot of their attributes.
First up we have our goalkeeper Randy Poleon. Our first choice keeper currently plays for Northern United All Stars, a Saint Lucian Gold Division outfit. He stands out as the best keeper we have and he’ll be between the sticks for us for the foreseeable future.
In defence, our full-backs are probably the best area for us on the pitch. At right-back, we have Accrington Stanley centre-back (but well capable of playing as a full-back) Janoi Donacien. On the opposite flank, Kurt Frederick will look to push forward and use his pace to support in attack. Our centre-backs, Otev Lawrence and Jamil Joseph, are by no means outstanding, but they have been solid in our friendlies and will keep their place for the Caribbean Championship.
As you can see from the graphic above, we have been playing a 4-1-4-1 formation with a DM. Zaine Pierre is our defensive midfielder and he is incredibly well-rounded for this level. In the past, Pierre has had trials with several high-profile English clubs, including Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal, and has signed for Spanish side Genoa (though he never made a first-team appearance).
In the middle of the pitch we are playing Zaccheus Polius. He is one of the players we would be looking to move on in the next few years, but the lack of talent behind him keeps him in our best XI. To his left out on the left-wing is arguably our best player. Caniggia Elva was mentioned in our introduction as being both Canadian and Saint Lucian. We managed to get him declared for Saint Lucia which has been crucial to our success so far!
Out on the right-wing we have our captain, Lester Joseph. He plays for Morvant Caledonia United in the Trinidad & Tobago league and has been ever present for his nation since becoming captain. In the central attacking midfield slot we have the player who has banged in goals on a consistent basis for us, Shirvone St Prix. Though he’s best as a striker, he is now our 1st choice AM due to our lack in depth in that position.
Lastly is our youngest player, Noah Nicholas. The teenager is the hottest prospect in the Saint Lucia ranks and because of this I’ve given him as much national team football as possible.
The Caribbean Championship
We managed to progress through to the next stage of the championships after finishing second in our 1st round group. Drawn alongside Barbados and Dominica, it was always going to be between us and Dominica as to who would secure 2nd place. We lost the opener to Barbados (and we gave them a really good fight!) before beating Dominica 3-1.
Haiti were the highest ranked team we would have played against and we duly lost to them in the first round of the group. However, thanks to a thrashing of the US Virgin Islands we again progressed through the round by finishing in second place. We managed to reach the third round, therefore achieving our board’s expectation.
The third round of the competition works slightly differently to the previous two rounds. This time, from the four groups the top four progress through to the semi-finals and three of the best 2nd-place finishers progress through to a 5th-place playoff.
After losing to Haiti 3-0, we needed a win and a comfortable one to safely reach the 5th-place playoff. We beat St Vincent 2-0 and thankfully this was enough to claim 2nd place.
5th place playoff
Drawn alongside Trinidad & Tobago and Puerto Rico, I didn’t expect to pick up any points. Of the two sides, I envisaged Puerto Rico to be the team we could possibly shock. And we did come close in the first game of the group, but we couldn’t finish our chances and we fell 1-0 to Puerto Rico.
We bounced back incredibly well in our next game against T&T, winning the game 3-2. Saint Lucian hero Shirvone St Prix scored twice to secure our victory after Caniggia Elva’s opener. This was a fantastic win for our nation as T&T were ranked 87th at the time of our meeting and as high as 60th just four months earlier.
Summary – a good start with St Lucia?
It’s fair to say that I have really enjoyed my time with Saint Lucia so far. To have beaten Trinidad & Tobago, one of the Caribbean’s top teams, is a massive achievement for us and bodes well for the next competitive action we partake in: the World Cup qualifiers.
As you can see from the image above, since joining St Lucia we have risen from 179th to 150th in the World Rankings.
The World Cup will be the focus of the next post in this series. Can we astound fans across the world and qualify for the 2022 World Cup?
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I hope you have enjoyed this second instalment of our new series here on vivalavidafm. Thanks for reading! Be sure to follow me on Twitter as I will be posting many save updates there!
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