This is a new four-part FM17 Project series in which Sam Tighe writes about his attempt to complete the Pentagon Challenge – winning the Champions League in five different continents on the same save.
Read Part One, on Sam’s adventures in Asia, here. In Part Two he heads to Africa…
With a continental title in Asia under my belt I started applying for jobs in Europe, thinking I’d skip up the queue. How wrong I was. Even Dijon wouldn’t give me an interview: “Our shortlist is packed with quality so you didn’t make the cut.” Yeah, yeah, whatever.
I wasted a year chasing jobs I was never going to land, then reluctantly accepted where I would have to head next: Africa. I settled for South African second division side Moroka Swallows – a club with significantly less quality than what I’d worked with in Beijing.
Again promotion came easily, but the top division was tough. Very tough. I spent three seasons battling away, mucking about in mid-table. Some managers may have been satisfied with the odd cup victory, but they were genuinely useless to me in the Pentagon Challenge.
I overhauled my squad heavily over and over to no avail, switching tactics and spending my entire budget of £725,000 on one player: Siyabonga Shai. Playing as a striker he finally led me to the domestic summit and into the latter stages of the African Champions League – but then disaster struck.
Because the South African season schedule doesn’t align with the African federation’s, the African Champions League spans the back end of one Premier League season and the front end of the next one. With a summer transfer window slap bang in the middle, I lost Shai halfway through our continental campaign. We were heading to the quarter-finals when Standard Liege activated his £2.5million release clause.
It was time to change things up again. I used the Shai money to sign a quality Senegalese goalkeeper on a healthy wage, and I ground through to victory in the African Champions League that season. We beat Al-Ahly 3-2 on aggregate to secure the second Pentagon title in 2024. My time with the Swallows was done, so I resigned.
It wasn’t difficult to work out where to head next. The wasted hours applying for fancy European jobs had taught me I was still a bottom-feeder and that a CONCACAF club was the next destination. My heart quickly became set on the Queretaro job in Mexico, but they hired the Dorados De Sinaloa manager instead. I then applied for that job and took up the vacant slot.
Dorados were in good shape upon arrival. They hadn’t sacked their manager due to poor performance – he’d been poached – and they were in a healthy position in Mexico’s top tier. I found a star waiting for me in Luis Lopez, who excelled as a shadow striker in a slightly tweaked 4-3-1-2 formation.
The Liga MX season is split into two parts – the Apertura (first half) and the Clausura (second half) – and if you win either you qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League. The table resets completely moving from one part to the other. We won the Apertura in the 2025-26 season, then the team slacked off massively during the Clausura and finished sixth.
Thankfully that didn’t matter, as Champions League football had already been secured for 2026-27. Given Mexico boasts the strongest domestic league eligible for the competition, I felt pretty good about my chances of winning it first time, and did so by beating Pachuca 5-1 on aggregate in the final in 2027. It was sweet revenge after they had smashed me 6-0 in the Mexican Cup final in 2025 – I still have no idea what happened there.
In Part Three: Sam heads to South America…