Interview with Christian Spiteri - The BOV ePremier League Champion

With the end of the inaugural season of the BOV ePremier League, being Malta's first-ever official marriage between traditional sports and esports on a local scene, here at GMR Entertainment we're overjoyed with how successful the season was. 

Apart from the general successes, the level of competition the league offered was simply insane - especially with our crowned champion of Christian Spiteri who played out of his mind to secure first place. Taking the season in dominant fashion, I decided to virtually sit down with the champion and conduct the following interview where I picked his brain a little in order to learn more about his personal and professional life. 

1. Hi there Christian and congratulations on your win! Before diving into the competitive side of things, let’s first get to know you on a personal level. Tell us a bit about yourself – your age, your hobbies, what you do for a living and how gaming is a part of your life.

Hi, thank you! Well, I’m 25 years old, I like to walk/jog, play and watch football and read a lot. At the moment my only focus is achieving my ambitions within FIFA.

2. Gaming is one thing, and esports is another. When exactly did you decide to take it all to the next level and start competing? What events, or even who, inspired you to do so? Was it always something you wanted to do?

The moment my dad bought me the PS3 together with FIFA 09 and I connected it to the internet, and could play other people online. From that moment on I always took it seriously, but the first time I watched the FIWC tournament (World Cup) streamed, which is the best honour a player can win, this event really made me dream to one day compete in such competitions.

I always had and continue to have a competitive nature. It wasn’t something I thought I would do or ever planned to do. I always planned to play the real sport, but unfortunately I was never good enough to reach the heights I would be satisfied with, and with this game I felt there was potential.

Also, the fact that the scene kept growing and introducing more international events made it an easy substitute to the real thing, feeding my competitive hunger by competing in the sports I love which is football, just on the virtual pitch instead.

3. Let’s start diving into your recent performance at the inaugural BOV ePremier League: first of all, how did you come to represent Santa Lucia FC? What was your reaction to it all? What did your friends and family have to say? 

Santa Lucia was the first from a few clubs that contacted me, they showed great belief and interest for me, and I knew straightaway it was the club for me and it was a very straightforward discussion.

I was happy to reach an agreement with such a club that is so united together and ambitious, some of my friends were disappointed as I didn’t join the club they support, but they wished me luck nonetheless and my family was also very supportive.

4. You started the league with an absolutely phenomenal run of 22 consecutive wins! How did you manage, game after game, to keep besting every single opponent that came your way? Is there a particular way in which you prepare for each game? Do you prepare differently depending on the opponent?

Obviously with this type of run, you need a little bit of luck to go your way sometimes, which it did for me in particular games, such as against Lawfu and Gianluca in the first legs.

However, luck alone is not enough to pull you through such a run and obviously you need to play consistent, you will have many different scenarios to face and that’s when you need to show your character. One needs to stay concentrated and try and play to the best level despite the challenges and pressure you are facing and feeling.

I prepare the same way for every opponent, I never take for granted any player that I’m facing as they will sit and play against you to beat you, and every single player has earned their spot.

5. Halfway through the league, with you performing dominantly, the pandemic broke out and the championship had to be suspended. How did this affect you as a competitor and what did you do to maintain your form at the top of the standings?

When it was suspended there was a possibility that it would have been cancelled, and so here I want to thank the organizers for giving us the opportunity to finish the league.

I kept practicing regularly and compete in online tournaments too, so I kept my usual routine despite the pandemic, but the difficulty in the last matchday was to play with the excitement and anxiety that was built due to the league being suspended.

Having to wait since the beginning of March to continue the season was a challenge to handle the tension and emotions but I am pleased with the end result.

6. At the end of the season, after 26 games, you finished on top without a single loss. How does it feel to be the inaugural champion? How did you celebrate?

I feel relieved in having my work and sacrifices result in me winning the league, and going undefeated is just a bonus. I’ve celebrated by allowing myself to take a break and not play FIFA for a while.

7. What do you think was the key to your success? What would you say was the most challenging part of competing in the BOV ePremier League together with any thoughts on the level of local competition?

Definitely the key and the most challenging aspect for me was handling the pressure and expectations.

I think. I felt before it even started that the level would be really good and it proved to be, and obviously during the season the competition was getting tougher and better, with the experience players were gaining within the league, in my opinion.

8. As champion of the BOV ePremier League – what are your goals for the future as an individual? Will you be competing in future seasons? As you’ve already participated in multiple international events in the past, do you have any future international plans that you’d like to share with us?

My major goal and ambition is really to continuously aim high and challenging myself to achieve and direct my efforts appropriately towards – specifically, my goal is to win an international honor next season.

9. The BOV ePremier League was the first of its kind in Malta. What are your thoughts on how the season went know that it is finished in terms of professionalism and organization? Do you have any suggestions or ideas for future seasons? How much potential do you see in continual support of the local competitive FIFA scene?

I was pleasantly surprised at how well organized it was and I want to congratulate the organizers for doing as good as a job ,in my opinion, as international events in their infrastructure and set up.

I think the current format is the right one, maybe with time it can be improved by someone with a better idea, but I can’t see it getting better for now.

Seeing this as the start of involving local Maltese clubs is highly encouraging and I think things will only improve from here on out.

10. Finally, this final question goes out to our readers. Christian, as a local champion, what words of advice do you have to offer to those individuals who think they have what it takes but are reluctant or even shy to compete? What tips do you have to offer to the rookies out there looking to make a name for themselves?

My advice is to play the qualifiers and just try, this shyness or pressure of competition won’t affect you so much after some experience - this is the beauty of experience, the more you get use to something, the better you get at it.

So don’t shy away is my advice and look at it as something that will make you an even better player by facing up to these challenging emotions.

With regards to gameplay, my tips would be to watch high level players play, study them a bit, try and learn from them and after some time I would even recommend recording the games you play and analyze your games to see what you can improve upon.

Obviously not everyone’s got the time for this but I think it’s better to play 50% less than what you normally play and use the time you use to spend playing to analyze your gameplay, I think this is way more efficient route to improving.

Christian has definitely earned my respect with the humility present in his responses: having gone undefeated through 26 games, the amount of respect he still shows the competition is highly commendable and a reason as to why he is mutually praised for his performances. He has every right to be cocky, but still, he retains a cool and humble resolve. Apart from the responses to the questions, he also had the following to say: 

I'm very happy to have taken part in the first official Maltese FIFA league, I would like to thank my family for their constant support, my friends, Santa Lucia for the honor they gave me in allowing me to represent them, and I would like to congratulate all the staff that made this happen from MFA and GMR Entertainment and well done to all the players that took part.

Bearing this level-headed attitude in mind, Christian offered some incredible advice to rookies which is definitely worth noting as his emphasis on efficiency couldn't be highlighted further. 

As an individual, GMR Entertainment would like to congratulate him one more time on his success at the BOV ePremier League and we wish him the absolute best for his future as an international competitor too. We also hope to perhaps see Christian back again next season to defend his title!

Let us know what you thought of Christian's responses and his performance at the BOV ePremier League in the comments section below! 

Posted by Gabriel Sciberras on 23rd June 2020, 23:56

I'm Gabriel - 19 year-old dental student attending university working as a part-time esports journalist. I've been doing this for 3 years now. Having worked with GMR Entertainment in the past, I've come on board to write some articles this summer :).

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