Pride & Industry – Managing Barbados on FM20: Introduction

Introduction

For some considerable time now, I have wanted to attempt to write a blog series based on a Football Manager save. Just a little something different to what I usually write about on The 94th Minute. However I wasn’t sure what kind of FM challenge I wanted to write about, or think of anything that would interest me enough to write a blog series on.

It wasn’t until I read FMOverload’s excellent blog, where they have taken over the national side of the ‘socialist paradise’ of Cuba (check out the blog link found below), which got me wondering whether I could potentially improve the fortunes of a Caribbean nation on Football Manager? In addition, I would love to learn more about Caribbean football as it is an area of the world where my football knowledge could be improved considerably. I had previously read a couple of articles on Outside Write about the history and fortunes of football played in the Dutch Caribbean that also piqued my interest in football being played in the region. The next question would be…which country do I choose to manage?

The decision on the right country was made for me when I looked at the leagues that I had previously downloaded from Steam, and other such places where league mod files can be found. Looking at my list, I noticed that I had already installed a league mod file which had opened up the Barbadian football pyramid, thus making Barbados a playable nation. I was certainly tempted by The Bahamas, as well as Puerto Rico and Saint Lucia also, but Barbados seemed the more interesting choice. Plus their flag is just awesome with the black trident in the middle!

Barbados Flag 1

So it was decided, I would be heading to Bridgetown to take over the Barbados national football team…I’d better pack my swimming trunks and the sunglasses, and prepare for the eight hour flight then…

 

Barbados

  • Capital: Bridgetown
  • Population: 287k
  • Currency: Barbadian Dollar (BBD)
  • Languages: English; Bajan Creole

Barbados is a small island country in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies, within the Caribbean region. The island is just 21 miles / 34km in length and 14 miles / 23km in width. It is positioned the furthest east of all the islands located within the Caribbean island chain, situated to the east of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, southeast of Saint Lucia, and northeast of Grenada. Originally part of the British Empire, and the short lived West Indian Federation, Barbados gained its full independence in November 1966 becoming part of the Commonwealth, of which it is still a member of. Traditionally a wealthy sugar colony, it has developed into a leading tourist destination within the Caribbean, with 40% of visitors coming from the United Kingdom, as well as large percentages of tourists coming from North America and Europe.

West Indies Cricket LogoAs with other Anglophone Caribbean countries, cricket is very popular on the island, with Barbados being part of the famous West Indies cricket team. The island has produced many legendary cricket players for the West Indies team, such as Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Clyde Walcott, Sir Everton Weekes and Sir Garfield Sobers (the first person to score six-sixes from a single over in first-class cricket), amongst many other excellent cricket players throughout the years. Barbados also has the world-famous Kensington Oval, which hosted the 2007 Cricket World Cup final, and is regarded as one of the best cricket venues in the world.

Netball is also very popular on the island with their national team being regular qualifiers for the Netball World Cup, as well as competing in the Commonwealth Games. The Bajan Gems are one of the best teams in the world, and finished 12th position in the 2019 World Cup held in Liverpool. They are currently ranked 12th in the world in the current International Netball Federation rankings.

 

Barbados National Football Team

Barbados_FA

Barbados FA Information

Nickname: Bajan Tridents
Home Colours: All yellow kit with blue trim
Most Caps: Norman Forde (70 caps between 1998 and 2011)
Top Goalscorer: Llewellyn Riley (23 goals between 1995 and 2005)
Highest FIFA Ranking: 92nd (Oct 2009)
Lowest FIFA Ranking: 181st (July 2017)

The Bardados national football team has existed since 1929, and is run by the Barbados Football Association (BFA), which was founded earlier in 1910. The Caribbean island has been a member of CONCACAF since 1967, and admitted into FIFA as a full independent member the year afterwards. They also became one of the founding members of the Caribbean Football Union (a subsection of CONCACAF) when the organisation was created in 1978.

Sadly throughout its long history, the Barbadian national football team has not seen much success on the international stage as it has never qualified for any major international tournament, nor won any regional competition. The best performance from the Bajan Tridents came in the (now defunct) Caribbean Cup in 2005, when they finished in fourth position as hosts. However despite a few shock results here and there, like the 2-1 win over Costa Rica in the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifying, and the 1-1 draw against Northern Ireland in a 2004 friendly, the football side has been incredibly short of success.

CONCACAF Gold Cup LogoTherefore my main aim with this FM save is to give all the Barbadian supporters the success they have craved on the football field by ensuring the side qualifies for, at least, one major tournament. Obviously the easier tournament to first qualify for is the CONCACAF Gold Cup especially as that is the first tournament to qualify for. However further down the line, I would love it for the team to qualify for a World Cup also. That aim should become potentially easier when the number of qualifiers for the World Cup expands to 48 teams from the 2026 edition onwards, when the CONCACAF region gets six qualifiers. However, considering the 2026 World Cup is being held in the USA, Mexico and Canada, it will be interesting to see how the qualifying system works for the three remaining qualification slots.

CONCACAF Nations League LogoPerhaps claiming a CONCACAF Nations League trophy could be on the cards in the future, although that will take some time, especially as Barbados are in Division C (the lowest tier in the Nations League) currently. Plus I would need to overcome the powerhouses of the USA and Mexico to achieve that goal!

Ultimately I would love to get my Barbadian team as high as possible in the FIFA world rankings, and potentially make them one of (if not THE BEST) team in the CONCACAF region. I shall fully embrace the BFA’s vision statement for this team and its football future:

“Better Football for a Better Life”

Making Barbados the most successful Caribbean football nation in FIFA and a regular World Cup qualifier should certainly then knock cricket off its wicket as the ‘number one sport’ of the beautiful island then. Turn them into the ‘Croatia of the Caribbean’ by having high quality players being produced from a small population. Well, I can but try anyway…

So that’s the introduction done to this new Football Manager series, which is something I really looking forward to doing, and writing about. Please follow my friend FMOverload on Twitter @FMOverload_, and check out their blog at https://fmoverload.home.blog/. It is an absolutely brilliant FM blog and I would highly recommend you check it out! The Coaching Cuba series looks fantastic and I am keen to see it develop!!!!

In the next blog, I will talk about the squad and future plans with the team. If you have any questions, comments or whatever, please put them in the comments box below, or tweet me on Twitter @The94thMin or leave a comment on the Facebook page.

Thanks!!

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