There’s a new country in Europe, and it’s called Aswijan. Created by @chilled_moose, it provides 64 teams in three leagues, three cup competitions, and about 6000 created players. The teams vary widely, from fallen giants Hesef to world-class titans like Aswijan Mailkiy. This will be a guide to playing in Aswijan, in six parts. Each part will examine half of one of the three leagues, starting today with the lowest league, Liga Dukh. This league is comparable in quality to the Keuken Kampioen Divisie in Netherlands, or the Finnish top league. This week I present the top twelve teams, alphabetically, in the Liga Dukh.
Please note that the historical information supplied here is my best guess about these clubs – @chilled_moose is the final authority, and anything I’ve written could be changed if she needs to.
Akmene is a city in the highlands of Sanders state. The team has a long history in the Liga Dukh, having been founded in 1953, and never yet making it out of the division. Financially they’re doing alright, keeping their heads above water without making progress. Their 40-year-old stadium holds a little over 10,000, and they typically have about 3000 season ticket holders. While they have a decent youth setup, it’s not going to be the source of a lot of talent for this side. Below-average youth facilities make it much harder. Their main rivals are Al Khnides, with whom they have a fierce derby.
As to the players, they have a fairly young squad, with only seven players over 27. The best player is probably Ciriaco Vossoughi, a 19-year-old right winger with good pace and crossing. Waiting in the wings behind Vossoughi is He Ruzzo, a 16-year-old with a lot of upside. Ruzzo is also a right winger, though, so there’ll be a challenge finding him playing time to develop. This imbalance is found throughout the squad – there are few central defenders and central midfielders, but many wingers. Picked to finish 6th by the media, Akmene is a decent challenge for a league climb.
Long time rivals of Akmene, the city of Khnidés can be found in the eastern ranges of Sanders, near the east coast. Formed in 1965, Al Khnidés have, unlike their rivals Akmene, once left the Liga Dukh.They were runners-up in 2012, earning promotion to the Liga Principale, but were unable to stay up. The club own their small (5900 seats) stadium, Ard di Granichen, which was built in 2018. 1500 people own season tickets to the club’s matches, and their financial situation is stable, if unspectacular. Youth is not a focus at the club, with only basic recruitment and coaching, and poor facilities.
The playing staff are quite young, with only 6 being over the age of 26 at start. Tolomeo Hyun-Woo is the standout, an experienced winger/forward with great pace and finishing. Their best prospect is Aly Jakobsen, a 16-year-old left wing with plenty of potential. Jakobsen is probably ready to get the occasional start with the big team, as his skills are impressive. With only seven defenders at the club, three of whom are right backs, the defence looks a little thin. The attack is likewise sparse, with no natural strikers to speak of. Their U20 and U18 teams are basically empty. Previewed as 15th place, Al Khnidés are a harder challenge than their rivals Akmene.
At the southern end of Aswijan State lies Anorora, the first of the Kaduqni teams. The Kaduqnis are a uniquely Aswijani institution, being both places of learning and of cultural creation. Several of them have associated football clubs. Founded only nineteen years ago, they play their home matches at the Ard Alrihla, a 6500-capacity stadium just off the Kaduqni campus. 1500 season ticket holders provide a solid fan base. Their youth setup is pretty basic, meaning you probably won’t be able to count on generating many prospects out of it. Being so young, the team has yet to win any honours. Rivalries with the two Ashab clubs (Ashab and Ashab Unidi) provde exciting derby action. .
Almost half the team are on the down side of their career paths, including five over-30s. At 182 cm, top player Bilintx Fotos is small for a centre back, but can handle the non-aerial side of the game very well. A ball-playing defender, he will contribute to starting many an attack. Financially, the team is not very well off, but are in no immediate danger of administration or anything like it. Picked to finish 17th, Anorora Kaduqni will provide a fairly standard third-division challenge for the ambitious manager.
One of the oldest clubs in Aswijan, Ashab Unidi were founded in 1908 by the merging of three different local clubs, hence “Unidi” meaning “United”. They have a relatively new stadium, the Ard di Deabru, which has 2600 seats for the 800 season ticket holders. As is often the case with Liga Dukh sides, the youth academy is unimpressive, and will likely struggle to produce much of quality. Their only competition win was 2006’s championship in the LIga Dukh, which led to a brief period of staying in the Principale before falling back to the Dukh. They have one rival in the same division (Anorora Kaduqni), and one in the division above (Ashab).
Berna Thomasson leads the playing staff in quality, a highly driven defensive midfielder. At 30, he’s among the oldest at the club, but should still have a couple of years left. Pacey left-back Acunalan Angelis, 26, provides surprisingly good defence alongside his attacking qualities. Finally, Leopardo Hermansson is a highly-skilled centre midfielder, though he is a tiny (160cm) presence in that centre. His work rate and stamina belie his small body, though, and he will be a stalwart in midfield. Financially stable, if unimpressive, they are picked to finish 19th in another disappointing season.
The second of our Kaduqni clubs, Awjizirbu was founded in 1946, at the time of the development of the Kaduqni system. Being a central pillar of local populist sentiment during the civil war, Awjizirbu Kaduqni became famous for its cadre of poets and artists. Playing in the Hadiqat Alfakhr, a 13000-seat stadium built in 2004, 4000 season ticket holders are regular attendees. With an average financial situation, the team is well positioned to finish above their predicted 12th.
A nice balance of ages fills out this team beautifully, with prospects of 16 playing alongside grizzled veterans like winger Cirino Cesena. 21-year-old Akarsu Indelicato leads the team in ability, with great pace to get up and down from his fullback position on either flank. Similar pace makes Ponziano Innamorato a threat at CAM, as the 25-year-old complements his speed with skill in the attack. Continuing the pattern of speedy players, Fathi Gaubert blazes from right back with his fearsome tackling and intelligent play. This team is primed for a tactic that can use their abundant pace, and possibly climb the leagues to face their only rival – Berche Kaduqni 08.
Ard di lo Suenos, or Stadium of Dreams, is home to Azzibira Sport, with 10000 seats and 3000 season tickets sold. Azzibira lies on the west coast of Arishma state, near Hadria. They maintain a friendly but hard-fought rivalriy with Sorrun, who play in the state capital. In 1951, a group of friends and local businessmen came together to build a club to compete in the newly-founded Liga Dukh. For a Liga Dukh team, they have a reasonably good youth program, though the facilities could use an upgrade. Finances probably preclude this happening until promotion is achieved. Fortunately for Azzibira fans, that may well happen this season, as El Saylors are expected to finish first in the Liga Dukh.
About half the team are over 26, and half under. Quality can be found up and down the lineup: Amir Unzalu, 30, is a classic centre back, big, strong, and skilled. Osman Castex, in contrast, is just 16, but definitely ready for prime time with the squad as a striker. Partnered with Ored Beheshti, 28, the two strikers should provide a real cutting edge for Azzibira. It is fair to say that Azzibira Sport have the best lineup in the Liga Dukh, and anyone considering a challenge to the Liga Regale would be well-placed in choosing this side. I could see them doing well in Europe.
Another of the older teams in Aswijan (1907), Bahyid has been playing at Helice Ard since 1983. Its 15000 seats are regularly filled by excited fans, as the Nepole Islands are a hotbed of football in Elisha state. Local rivals Qashid and Mufala Malikiy remain well out of reach at the moment, both playing in the Regale, but that just gives you a goal to fulfill. While their youth coaching is decent, their recruitment efforts leave a lot to be desired, and their facilities are poor. Despite this, the team is a young one, with only eight players over 24, and none over 30.
Abdul Jin-Young is probably the best player at the club, the left winger possessing moderate pace and good technical abilities. Estandiyar Gianelli is an excellent candidate for the captaincy, with high leadership and determination, and decent teamwork in centre midfield. Tryfon Tahani is raw at 19, but looks likely to develop into a top right winger for the team. Overall, this is a team with pretty good quality in the playing ranks. Financially okay, as most teams in the Dukh are, Bahyid would make a decent challenge for someone who wanted to build up a youth setup. It would take time, but it might be very productive. Bahyid are expected to finish third.
In the southern reaches of Kawachi state, Ben Garrés is a club founded in 1903 by local merchants. Always known for their careful money management, Ben Garrés is one of the more secure clubs in the Liga Dukh financially. Owning their own stadium (Stadio Santa Maria, a 3600 all-seater built in 2000) helps keep the costs down. With 1000 season ticket holders, the place is regularly sold out for home games, particularly when Miher (or Fari, from the Regale) come to visit. A fairly robust youth academy is let down by poor recruiting practices, but this would be an easy fix, and might result in some progress.
Ralphy Holmbertsson leads the midfield for Ben Garrés, using his pace and determination to drive the team forward. Conrao Ekström would make an excellent deep lying playmaker, the defensive midfielder at 21 already a top player. Bairam Jacquemoud brings pace to his work as a right back, along with some stellar defending, but his attacking abilities are somewhat more limited. The team has a pretty dire shortage of centre back candidates. Only one natural CB is in the squad: he’s 32, and can’t jump. This will be an urgent matter to fix, if the team is to achieve their predicted finish of second.
Now, if you’re looking for a real, hard-mode kind of challenge, this is the club you want. Hailing from Hesef, a port on the south coast of Sanders, the club is a former giant. Hesef’s only silverware came in a 2000 run in the Copa Populare, which they followed up with a 2001 spot as runner-up. Established in 1965, their late start as a football team is not matched by their age as a Kaduqni, being the first one established in the early 1940s. Hesef is known as a Bohemian town, with a thriving art and music scene. They rent the 45000-seat Ard Dulgo Lodka for over a million euro a year, and their – well, everything – is falling apart. Facilities are generally poor or basic, there is little in the way of an academy, and the team is massively in debt.
The poverty of the club currently extends to its playing staff. Only Simone Agha is valued at more than 1 million euro, the 21-year-old CM providing decent technical abilities with below-average pace. There are basically no other players worth talking about. With a solid fan base, including 10000 season ticket holders, Hesef has little else going for it right now. A plethora of rivalries await you at higher levels. If you want to take on the hardest challenge in Aswijan, this is your club.
Kasra is a port city on the north side of the Aswijan State peninsula. The club was founded in 1937 through a merging of two Kasran local sides. They’ve enjoyed some recent success in Liga Dukh, finishing 3rd in 2011, 2014, and 2016. No trophies in the cabinet yet, though. The Ard di Kasra, their rented stadium, provides 11800 seats, of which 3500 are held by season tickets. The youth setup is abysmal, despite relatively secure financial status for a Liga Dukh club.
While the team is fairly young overall, two of their best players are among the oldest at the club. Fedro Roppolo, 30-year-old goalkeeper, is capable, but not really more than that. Sigewine Sa’id, CAM/ST of 29, is again not a standout in this league. This is currently a team of fairly mediocre players, though they do have a number of young prospects coming through. Picked to finish 13th, I can’t see them finishing higher without an impressive manager handling affairs.
Another of the Kaduqni clubs, Lakhra are perhaps the most modern of the lot, having started their team only in 1996. Financially stable, if not quite secure, their 6000 seat stadium (Ard Eclipse) boasts 1000 season ticket holders. While they may be technically capable of gaining promotion this season, it might not be the best thing to happen to the club. Their squad needs building with their own players, not so many loanees, and they might struggle to make enough money with a small stadium and fan base.
Lakhra Kaduqni are a very young squad, with a number of 20-and-under players ready to start with the big team. Quite a number of loanees have been brought in, and they bring most of the top quality with them. Of their owned players, Artano Bagnasco, a right winger, brings pace and guile to the role. At 29, he’s one of the oldest players at the club. Behind him, though, is a fairly mid-table sort of squad, with a lot of okay players, and few really good ones. With their loanees, though, their predicted 5th place finish seems more doable.
El Miher is a city in the northern part of Kawachi. A small city, the team was founded in 1946 by a group of friends from a small seminary. Financially, the team is alright, but there’s definitely room for improvement. Facilities are something of an issue, and the Ard di Saint Josef only has 3200 seats. About a quarter of these are taken up by season ticket holders. Despite their small stature, Miher have shown some real quality in recent years, winning the Liga Dukh in 2010 and 2014. This suggests they’re a team that could make a move up the divisions soon. Eight place is their predicted finish this year.
Pancario Goyoaga leads the team in all but the most formal sense, the 31-year-old striker still showing amazing mental and technical abilities. Yosun Carrell, 24 year old CM, is a hghly aggressive, sharp-passing player. Some of his mental attributes are a little weak. And Nestore Bocuse is a senior statesman with the team, at 33 the oldest player, but still a surprisingly quick and effective fullback on the right. The squad is well equipped with young players and a small cadre of experienced ones.
More to Come!
There will be more to come from this series- I plan to provide thiskind of look at all of Aswijan. One of the great things about Aswijan is that it’s so new – there’s not a lot of history been written, and @chilled_moose has shown an admirable willingness to allow others to create in her sandbox. If you take over one of these teams, you could get to be the one who writes the history of the side, creating legendary players and managers and a backstory for the club. I’ve deliberately provided only the most basic suggestions for club origins, to leave this door open for you.
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