If you look to make an impact on the transfer market, you need to know the products available. Gaining this insight into the available options is where your scouting network comes in, constantly scouring various leagues and nations for talent that you can bring into your side. An ideal scenario would consist of young talent that you can bring in for a reasonable price with a high potential re-sale profit. 

My scouting strategy looks to maximise the intake of such players by spotting the best talent as it emerges. So far, it is hardly rocket science or groundbreaking strategies I have employed. Every once and then you stumble across an intriguing opportunity, one that has the potential to make the impact of Mentos in a bottle of coke.

In an ideal situation, most of the players you bring in offer you value for money. Value for Money (VfM) is an economic term used to assess whether or not an organisation has obtained the maximum benefit from the goods and services it acquires and/or provides, within the resources available to it. Roughly translated to football terms, have you obtained the best players available to you for the least money?

In this brief article, I want to look at a small South African club that appears bugged but which offers some intriguing opportunities for the less scrupulous managers among us.

In a nutshell…

In one of the South African lower tiers, there exists a club called Somhlolo United. There is nothing odd about that. When you look at their squad, however, you will quickly spot what makes this minnow club so unique and intriguing in Football Manager.

The entire squad of their newgen intake consists of Dutch players. Every single one of these players primarily holds a Dutch passport and secondarily a South African passport. Some players even have a third nationality, ranging from Indonesian to Turkish, Moroccan or Curaçaon, which is the usual spread for Dutch newgens.

So what makes this minnow South African club so special? They spawn Dutch newgens but so do all the Dutch clubs. What makes this club such an intriguing option in the Football Manager universe?

Analysing the possibilities

Now in order to examine the effectiveness of the exploit, let’s have a look a number of factors and see how this one holds up. I intend to look at the following factors:

  • Ability of the newgens available;
  • Potential ability of the newgens available;
  • Transfer-sums for the players available;
  • Wages for the players available;
  • Availability of players;
  • Commercial value of players available.

Before I actually zoom in on the various factors, I want to show you some of the players hailing from Somhlolo United I have signed over the past seasons in both my own save-game as well as the Ajax Cape Town save I am playing with Mark.

Now that we have some case studies we can begin our examination and analysis. We will start with the ability, and potential ability of the players spawned at Somhlolo. Because these players generate in the South African lower leagues, their starting ability is generally low. They will not be instant impact players except for tiny clubs. Their potential ability, however, is influenced significantly by their Dutch heritage as opposed to the South African league standard. This Dutch influence means Somhlolo generates the odd diamond-in-the-rough now and then with a slim chance of some genuine, classy talents. Still, Somhlolo is not the only club in the world that spawns Dutch players.

The financial aspect is one of the factors that makes Somhlolo stand out from all the other clubs that spawn Dutch players. With most Dutch clubs, you will pay hefty fees to lure away their most prized assets, even if they are still on Youth Contracts. These youngsters usually demand quite sturdy wages to move abroad as well since the Dutch Eredivisie has a decent enough reputation and the country ranks as a developed and rich one in the Football Manager universe. The Somhlolo players are cheap-as-chips, available for under 20k most of the time. Their wage demands are low as well as they are quite willing to leave South Africa.

I briefly touched upon the next factor in the previous paragraph; availability. The Somhlolo graduates are very willing to join you, even when you manage a tiny club. Their eagerness to join has to do with the low reputation of South Africa as a country, the even-lower reputation of Somhlolo United and the absolutely dire reputation of the league the club is active in. A move abroad, even to a minnow side, will look appealing. The players generally do not require Work Permits because of their Dutch passports, which makes them interesting targets.

The final factor to consider is a neglible one. Dutch players have no added commercial values like say Japanese, Korean, Chinese or even American players do unless they gain a world class reputation. They are unlikely to reach one of those while under contract with Somhlolo United though.

Now all these reasons I have described also apply to Dutch lower league clubs. For the life of me, I do not know why Somhlolo regularly seems to generate decent talents compared to barely any if any at all for clubs outside the Dutch professional divisions.

How can you use Somhlolo?

If you are managing one of the major clubs of this world, feel free to ignore Somhlolo United and the Dutch players it generates. The players generated at Somhlolo are just not good enough to play for the absolute top sides in the world, barring maybe the odd exception.

If you are looking for a cheap and sustainable source of EU-born newgens, willing to move to pretty much any corner of the world and with the potential to develop into a valuable asset to your team, Somhlolo might have something to offer you. LLM managers can and should add the South African league for a peek at what Somhlolo has to offer.

Guido is the founding father of Strikerless and main nutjob running the show.


Guido is the founding father of Strikerless and main nutjob running the show.


Mark Rennolds · March 11, 2019 at 9:57 pm

I’m not complaining about the signings. As long as you make a good profit on them after I’ve played them for a few seasons!!

    Guido · March 12, 2019 at 9:50 am

    So far, so good in that save, eh?

Leo Alcén · May 9, 2022 at 8:08 pm

My favorite ever FM regen comes from the Somhlolo United academy. His name is Dylan Versluis and has three citizenships to his name; dutch, south african and moroccan. I signed him when he was 17 in my first season in the swedish top flight with my local club, and he turned out to develop into something quite outstanding. He has been a starter for me for 11 season straight and is now my captain. He has played 46 caps for the dutch national team, and even won the world cup with them in 2034. I just love how you can find these world class talents in these low tier teams in FM.

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