SINGAPORE - In what is a first for Singapore e-sports, Amraan Gani and Muhammad Syakir have qualified for the Fifa eNations 2021 finals, which will be contested in Copenhagen, Denmark from Aug 20 to 22.
Up against China, Hong Kong, Indonesia and South Korea in group B, the Singaporean pair had looked headed for an early exit after finishing third with 4-1 aggregate wins over China and Hong Kong, a 3-3 draw with Indonesia and 6-0 loss to South Korea.
But the second chance finals on Saturday (May 1) gave the duo a lifeline as they defeated Australia 6-0 to book their spot in the finals of the Fifa eNations Cup 2021. They will be joined by 23 other teams in the battle for the title.
Amraan said after the match: "It feels amazing to qualify for the finals. Personally, I have felt quite a bit of pressure to do well for Singapore, but I took it positively and just gave my best efforts in every game that I played.
"We hope to go as far as possible in Denmark and show everyone that Singapore is able to perform at the highest level on the global stage."
Despite his experience, Syakir admitted that the tournament was "probably the most nerve-racking for me".
He added: "Knowing that I was playing the game not just for myself but for my partner, my team and my country was a whole new different experience for me.
"There is no doubt that we will face even tougher opponents in Copenhagen since we would be facing some of the best in the world. However, I have confidence in our team and we will ensure that we do our very best to put Singapore on the global map. Our ultimate goal is to win the tournament, but we will take one step at a time and see how it turns out."
Jonathan Wong, director of commercial and marketing at the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), hopes to encourage local football fans to extend their support to the e-sports players.
He said: "We are extremely proud of our e-Sports players for their achievements over the past few years... We remain committed to helping these players gain the relevant exposure and we will support them to the best of our abilities."