SINGAPORE - A Singapore team will be flying the Asian flag high at Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s The World Championships, one of the first-person shooter’s largest annual tournaments.
This year, a record 94 countries took part the online qualifiers, with the top eight teams making it to the finals of the US$100,000 (S$137,000) tournament. The finals will take place from October 12 to 16 in Serbia.
Of the top eight teams, three are from Europe, one is from Africa, one is from North America and one is from South America. Singapore is the only Asian country to qualify.
Twenty-four countries took part in the Asian qualifiers, with China topping the group and Singapore coming in second. However, the local squad was allotted the spot when China’s team had difficulty obtaining visas.
The five-man Singapore team comprise Benedict “Benkai” Tan, 20; Benjamin “moxie” Kou, 24; Nevin “splashske” Aw, 17; Kumaresan “Tommy” Ramani, 22 and Muhammad “dejavux” Faiz Ismam, 22.
They are managed by Benny “General” Ng, 26. Mr Ng told The Straits Times: “This year’s line-up is stronger than last year’s on paper, so we hope to do some damage in the tournament.”
In the lead-up to the tournament, the team has been practising for four to five hours a night. One of their goals for the tournament is to beat one of the European teams - France, Sweden or Turkey - as that region has long been known for their top-tier squads.
Mr Kou said: “I think that we can win a game against a European team, and that we have a good chance to surprise them.”
The team also pointed to one of their newest members, Mr Faiz, as their pocket ace.
Mr Faiz said: “If the opponent team studies us, they may think that I am one of the weaker players in the lineup. But I think that when it comes to the tournament itself, they will be surprised when we play.”