The San Marino challenge is one for resilient FM22 managers. A challenge I have never attempted, as committing to a save that would likely take more than 30 in-game seasons to achieve success is borderline impossible for me. Maybe one of these days I will get the motivation needed to follow in the footsteps of such managers.
The aim of the San Marino challenge is to win the World Cup with San Marino, a small state with a population of just 34,000 people. A Herculean task to say the least.
Managers in the previous FM versions would approach this challenge by playing as San Marino Calcio, a Sammarinese club that was plying its trade in the Serie D(4th Tier) of the Italian league system.
Playing in the Italian league system meant that Sammarinese players coming through the youth system would develop much better as compared to the Sammarinese players playing in the San Marino League.
These better players would then be used to push San Marino further into international cup competitions, with the aim of winning the World Cup at the end of it all.
However, San Marino Calcio ceased to exist after the 2018/19 season, with a new club, Cattolica Calcio San Marino, formed to replace it. The main downside to this is that the newly formed club is hardcoded to produce Italian youth regens. This makes it impossible to use the club to produce quality Sammarinese players that would hopefully improve the national standing of San Marino in the long term.
Still, all is not lost, as there are some good people in the Steam Community and Official Sports Interactive Forums who have made changes to bring back San Marino Calcio through the editor.
Look around in the forums, and you are bound to find quite a few of these files which have achieved the same result through a few different means.
As already touched upon, the San Marino challenge can also be attempted by using a club in the Sammarinese league. You will need a custom database for this, also found in the SI forums. However, you will still have to contend with the players not developing well as you are playing them in a league that does not have a good reputation as compared to Serie A.
This is basically the hard mode for the San Marino challenge, which can still get a lot harder if you decide to also make it a Youth Academy challenge.
At the end of it all, all that is required from you is simple. Develop quality Sammarinese players by improving the quality of regens coming through the youth system of San Marino Calcio, then use them to propel San Marino to World Cup glory.
San Marino FM Challenge Rules and Instructions
The rules governing this challenge are not as restricting as some other challenges like the Youth Academy Challenge.
For instance, getting sacked does not void the challenge, however it will greatly hinder your progress, especially if you have already spent quite a while improving the facilities at the club you are managing.
There is also the factor of getting sacked from San Marino Calcio means you have to take charge of a club in the San Marino League if you are to keep the challenge alive.
The use of the in game editor and the genie scout is not allowed. Only make changes that will bring back San Marino Calcio and stop there. Making further changes that make the game easier will only make your victory feel hollow and not satisfying.
Creating the manager profile is up to you, you can decide to start as a Sunday League footballer with no coaching badges or a renowned footballing star with all the badges. Create a manager profile that will suit your save game lore. For instance, you can have a young manager with all the necessary badges but with the past playing experience of a Sunday League Footballer coming to San Marino to build his legacy.
You can sign whoever you want. There is nothing to prevent this. Keep in mind though that at the end of it all, you still need to develop Sammarinese players if you want to stand a chance of even getting close to winning a World Cup.
San Marino Challenge Tips
To help you get started on the right path, here are a few pointers to guide you along the way.
- Ignore the youth at the start. Ignore developing the structure of the youth system at the club for a few years. Instead, focus on getting promoted quickly through the leagues and into Serie A as soon as possible. The money you will receive in the first division of Italy is huge, and you will then be able to quickly upgrade your facilities and to also hire better staff.
- Do not take charge of the National team at the start of the save. This might be controversial, but at the start of the save, the Sammarinese players are of poor quality so to speak. Wait for several in game years to pass as you develop them in your youth academy, before applying for the National team job when they are ready.
- Focus on youth/junior coaching before youth recruitment. When you find yourself short of funds, focus on improving your youth coaching before spending money on youth recruitment. This is because you only need local players with Sammarinese nationality, therefore increasing your youth recruitment is not as beneficial as it would have been in a different save.
- Have good tutors in the squad. The nature of the challenge will make it that you largely have a squad of young players. Having a few tutors of an older age with good personalities, to act as role models for the youngsters who have poor personalities, is crucial. Check out this guide here on how to approach the player mentoring process.
The San Marino challenge is one of the hardest FM challenges, and very few players have managed to complete it. If you do not want to fiddle with the editor and database changes to make San Marino Calcio playable in the newer FM versions, consider doing the Andorra challenge, which is very similar to this one.