Lets head to South America – Venezuela

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I’m the boss now.

Some players don’t like meeting new faces whether it be players, manager or coaches. That was the welcome I received when I strolled up to training the day after being officially appointed to take charge. The players didn’t take too me, they had a very positive relationship with the previous Head Coach so naturally, when I was appointed things looked very different. I’m unproven, untested and untried, but somehow I’m the new Head Coach.

I’d been tasked with the challenge of taking the team through the playoff system to win the Copa Tracki, not just that competition though, we also had the Copa Venezuela Final to deal with on top of that. The players, although unhappy, gave it everything in the final stretch of training sessions. They knew how important it was to win the league for the first time since 1985 & so did I.

Player stats.

  • Top Goalscorer – Over Garcia (47)
  • Highest Average Rating – Yeferson Velazco (7.72)
  • Most Assists – Yeferson Velazco (23)
  • Best Pass Completion – Richard Ruiz (94%)
  • Most player of the match awards – Over Garcia (15)
  • Most Yellows – Juan Paez (19)
  • Most Reds – Danilo Ferreria (2)
  • Fans player of the season – Yeferson Velazco (42%)
  • Goal of the season – Jose Yeguez
  • Signing of the season – Over Garcia (Free Transfer)
  • Young player of the season – Andris Herrera

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Over Garcia

Over Garcia signed for us at the beginning of the year & he has been simply fantastic, his contract expires at the end of the month & we’re yet to offer him a new deal although his agent has signalled that he isn’t prepared to start negotiations as he chases a big move to Brazil. Yeferson Velazco has been another good signing, his influence off the ball was superb and to top it off with 23 assists is fantastic, Yeferson is a key player for my plan next year as we enter the 2018 Copa Libertadores & test ourselves against some of the biggest clubs in south america.

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Yeferson Velazco

We have 23 players off contract from next month & not many of them are prepared to sign a new deal which worries me. I’ve had some reports from our Under 20’s coach who’s gave me some advice and options to add to the squad by dipping into our youth academy. Several players are ready to make the jump to the first team, but I’ll be making sure they fit into my plans during pre-season.

Pre Season Planning

While we work had during our training session, our Scouting Network are working hard to add quality to our already talented side. Lots of quality is available without a fee, however need atleast 12 new signings to compete in the Copa Libertadores, the biggest competition in South America. The board are expecting us to reach the Group Stage so we have to work incredibly hard to make it through the qualifiers, I believe we can cause some big upsets during this competition.

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Copa Libertadores Group!

The draw for the Libertadores was slightly unkind on us. We’ve been drawn against Millionarios of Colombia, Nacional of Uruguay & lastly, Palmeiras of Brazil so it’s a tough task but I believe in my squad to get the job done. I honestly believe we can beat all of the teams we’ve been drawn against, I know it won’t be easy but we’re assembling quite the squad.

Transfers

In

  • Salomao – Sao Raimundo (RR) – £14.5K
  • Renatinho Silva – America (MG) – £1.7K
  • Ganso – Cliper – £6.75K
  • Andres Arboleda – Jaguares FC – £7K

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Andres Arboleda

  • Francisco Vega – Juan Aurich – £41.5K
  • Claudio Pombo – Free Transfer
  • Samuel Cacares – Free Transfer

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Samuel Cacares

  • Isael – Free Transfer
  • Emanuel Bilbao – Free Transfer

The clubs ambition

  • Copa Tracki – Finish in the top 3
  • Copa Venezuela – Win the Cup
  • Copa Libertadores – Don’t get outclassed in the group

We open our Copa Tracki Open Stage campaign against Atletico El Vigia FC who’re expected to finish 15th, the newly promoted side are currently 1000-1 to finish top & they look more likely to struggle. We’ve been listed as an expected 8th placed finish, although we’ll be looking for a much higher placed finish than that.

We open our campaign in three days time, the squad are ready & they’ve been working very, very hard during pre-season. Over Garcia came to me during pre-season and asked for a move away, I’ve told him to use this Libertadores campaign to put himself in the window & if a suitable offer comes in, then we’ll consider it. The problem with that is in Venezuela, no one scores goals like he does, he’s a player that would be incredibly hard to replace.

As for the Libertadores, the board have asked for us not to be out classed, I’ve told the lads to go on and win in, we’re a small team in comparison to most others in the competition but we have the passion and pride, our fans deserve it more than anything else.

Opening day

Atletico El Vigia – Estudiantes De Merida

Ramon “Gato” Hernandez Stadium

Our stating XI

  1. GK – Emanuel Bilbao
  2. RB – Ismael Paez
  3. CB – Samuel Caceres
  4. CB – Andres Arboleda
  5.  LB – Jose Yeguez
  6.  CM – Yeferson Velazco
  7.  CM – Juan Paez
  8.  AMR – Rodrigo Castro
  9.  AMC – Francisco Vega
  10.  AML – Jesus Vargas
  11.  ST – Over Garcia

Pre Match Build Up

“Merida are looking like favourites to everyone in the stadium, newly promoted Atletico will struggle to keep pace with Over Garcia. We see 5 debutants for Merida & it’ll be interesting to see how they fare. Looking over to Atletico, they struggled for signings during the off season so manager Dario Martinez uses the same line up from the last game that secured them promotion to the top flight. We’ve got hold of Merida manager in the tunnel, lets see what he has to say.”

“Dario, you are looking to carry on where you left off last season, how do you think you’ll do?”

“Obviously I’m confident that we will win, we are using a similar system to last year and you saw how effective that was under the previous manager.”

“What have you said to the guys in the changing rooms?”

“I’ve told them to go out and play our game. We’ve got to start on the front foot, make ourselves known & show Atletico that they are in for a real game here today.”

“Thanks, Dario. Good luck today.”

Before the game, you would never have thought that Atletico would’ve had 70% possession would you? But they did & they still came away with no points. It was a rather strange day game with the 70% of the game being played in the Merida half, however both of Meridas goals came from classic counter attacks, new signing Francisco Vega scoring a classy shot from the edge of the box, looking up and putting it right into the top corner. His second came from a shot from 7 yards which curled past the Atletico keeper.

Final Score

Atletico 1 – 2 Merida

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