FIFA frenzy comes to Windhoek
Most football fans often dream of jogging out of the dugout for the European football clubs they support.
Unfortunately, that dream does not happen for everyone.
For many, they get to live out those dreams virtually through the FIFA video game, which simulates a real life football atmosphere.
This month, the FIFA16 undisputed Knock- Out Tournament will provide fans with the chance to test their skills against some of the best players in the country.
“The number of FIFA game lovers in Namibia is amazing. The FIFA culture in Namibia is thriving, and I would argue that it is the most popular video game in the country,” beamed Freeman Paul Ipumbu, founder and organiser of the tournament.
He said that unlike many other video games which gamers can play on their own at home and without much interaction, FIFA is a highly social game.
“It creates the atmosphere of a real football match. Most people don’t want to play against the CPU all the time, because soon you learn how to beat it.
So, FIFA lets you test yourself against other people, who have their unique playing styles and techniques,” Ipumbu noted.
“FIFA is a very difficult game to predict. There might be one person who beats you all the time at the game, but then you’ll find that they lose to someone who you easily beat,” he explained.
Part of what led him to plan the launch of the FIFA Undisputed Knock-Out Tournament was the poor organisation of similar, earlier tournaments.
Time management and a lack of clarity, he feels, is what led to the poor quality of previous tournaments. As the knock-out process was not clear, there were players who knocked out several others without defeat, but who did not qualify for the final.
The FIFA Undisputed Knock-Out Tournament, which will be contested on the Playstation 4 platform, will feature 128 players who will be separated into eight pools (A-H) of 16 players each.
Matches will be 10 minutes long, with the loser being immediately knocked out, and the winner moving on. This means that whoever wins the ultimate prize would not have lost a single match that day.
The winning participant will receive a prize of N$5000 in cash, while N$2000 goes to the losing finalist and N$500 to the third-place finisher.
During matches, players will be allowed a maximum of three pauses per game, of which none may be longer than 35 seconds.
This allows players to make substitutions, and all other tactical changes they need to make.
“We want to encourage an atmosphere of friendly competition. Anyone can enter, and they can play with any team,” says Ipumbu.
One of the players who will be taking part in the tournament, Eric Nakathingo, says what he enjoys about the FIFA game is its realism.
“Most of us watch soccer regularly, we feel like we’re part of the sport and the team.
But with FIFA games, you don’t have to follow the management styles that are used in real life. You can set up your team any way you please, even though that is not how they play in real life.
So, in a way, you become a manager yourself,” he enthused.
Fellow FIFA games’ player, Tangeni Nehova, says preparation for such a competition is rather important.
“We play FIFA at home with our friends all the time. But when it is a competition, you have to plan ahead. The team you pick is also crucial. If you are poor at defence, then a team like Real Madrid will serve you well because then you can just attack.
However, if you like controlling the game from the midfield, teams like Barcelona, Juventus and Chelsea are good for that,” he noted.
Registration for the competition is N$200, and the tournament will be played at the Supporters’ Sports Bar in the Southern Industry on 26 September, a mere day before the FIFA16 game gets its African release. Ipumbu says this is to create an even ground for all the participants.
“No one will have had months to practice and become a pro. Those who are wealthier and can easily afford it will be just as new to the game as everyone else,” he stated.
Ipumbu added that, “If the tournament is successful, we would like to host more of them, and hopefully be able to send a Namibian team to the worldwide FIFA tournaments held annually.”
FIFA is a multi-award winning video game, with a worldwide fan following.
by Andreas Kathindi