South African National First Division
THE REAL PROCESS (see below for FM08 differences)
The National First Division (NFD) is the second-highest league of South African club association football after the Premier Soccer League. From 2004 until 2007 it was sponsored by business magnate Tokyo Sexwale’s Mvelaphanda Group and known as Mvela Golden League.
The restructured NFD is divided into two streams, one inland and another coastal – each of which consists of 8 teams. The winners of the two streams will play against each other in a ‘final’ at the end of the season – the victor of which will be promoted to the PSL.
The loser of the ‘final’ will play in a mini-tournament/play-offs against the two second-placed teams in each stream and the 15th-placed team on the PSL log. The winner of this tournament will also be automatically promoted to the top flight.
FOOTBALL MANAGER 2008 PROCESS
FM2008 however simplifies the whole process. In the game the 16 teams just play each other twice. The top team gets automatically promoted. Teams who finish 2nd to 4th qualify for the promotion play-offs. The team that finished 15th in the Premier league will also be involved in these play-offs. The bottom two teams are automatically relegated from the First Division.
There are two cups for NFD teams. The First Division Cup is a knock-out competition for first division teams only. It has a first round, quarter final, semi final, and final. It is all over by early October. There is also the South African Football Association (SAFA) cup. This is a knock-out cup for all clubs in South Africa. It begins in mid February.
The season runs from late August until late May. Teams receive 3 points for a win and 1 point for a draw. Teams can name a maximum of 7 substitutes but only 3 can be used. Players who receive 5 yellow cards get a 1 match ban. Players who receive a red card get a 3 match ban. There are 2 transfer windows. The first runs from 1st of July to 31st of August. The second runs from 1st of February to 1st of March.