When I booted up Football Manager 2011 and loaded up my leagues, I included exotic worlds of Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. Each with significant differences from the usual European leagues that many of us would be very familiar with. Football Manager 2011 I have decided will be a game of manging in countries I have far and wide, globetrotting within one saved game.
Brazil as you maybe have already figured is my first destination and I thought it might be a good idea to offer a guide to help you get to grups with these leagues. I know when I loaded up my Santos game I didn’t know what was happening discovering as I played.
The State Championships
The seasons start in January where you will start in a league consisting of teams of all different levels. With 7 State Championships included in Football Manager 2011 each are setup differently depending on the amount of clubs available. Sao Paulo for example where I led Santos to victory was a league structure, in which you qualify for a play-off that decides the winner over two ties each of two legs.
But Rio is more complex split into three phases. The Opening stages having two groups, the big sides seeded so to split them evenly between the two groups of 8. They play each other once to qualify for a semi-finals. Winner of one group playing 2nd place of the other. Then the Closing Stages the groups stay the same and the teams play against those in the other group to compete for another semi finals. The winner of both finals of the Opening and Closing stages will play each other in a final game. If the same team wins both opening and closing stages they automatically claim the championship? Get that?
Terribly complicated at times. But these competitions are good fun with very varying levels of quality. Many of which are older then the national competitions so tradition and prestige is put on these competitions making them important to win.
Then between the months of May and early December the National Championships start. Football Manager 2011 includes the leagues down to Serie C. The National Championship is of a more common format that we are used to with the major European leagues. 20 teams each playing each other twice.
But in a league that spans only 7 months it can make for some congested fixtures you could be playing regular games sometimes with only 2 days gap. This has made for huge squads in the typical Brazilian sides, rotation policies and good substitution strategies are essential for a successful season as many of your stars will get tired quickly.
Their are many places up for continental competitions the top 5 teams will play in the Copa Libertadores while 6-13th (depending on Brazilian cup winner) will play in the Copa Sudamericana. This as well as the packed schedule has really devalued the South American equivalent of the Europa League.
The Brazilian Cup (Copa Do Brasil)
The only national cup competition, each round played over two legs. Simple knock out competition, qualification for which is gained through state championship place as well as the national competitions. But with a big prize of the Copa Libertadores for the winner awaits.
But all in all Brazil doesn’t have a lot of money and much of the talent is quickly sold to European sides to cash in on their talents. But squads of full of raw young talent or older has-beens. But developing those young players and balancing the books will become an essential part of your management. Making Brazil a challenge of your full managerial skills.
Brazil has been an exciting challenge for me so far. Much is unexpected and one week I can be beating league leaders, the next struggling against bottom of the table. It’s an unpredictable, sometimes complicated competition. Now I have got to grips with my first season I hope better place my Santos then mid table.