How Omicron robbed Zlatan of his dream tournament

Kami Zlatan would have been one of Nigeria’s representatives at the forthcoming Global Esports Games billed for Singapore in a few days, but Omicron struck.

Little did Zlatan know that the ban on his country would prevent him from participating in his dream tournament.

“I am still trying to recover from the shock,” Kami Zlatan, whose real name is Trust Ehiguese, said.

“It is just unbelievable that all the effort I’ve put into preparing for this tournament is now in vain.”

The 23-year-old computer science undergraduate at the University of Benin, Nigeria, is worried, and he is thinking about quitting the esport.

“I feel like I am stuck right now, and I don’t know what next step to take. Two major tournaments have been cancelled due to circumstances beyond my control, and it is becoming too many.”

“To think that I am playing a game that is not very popular in Nigeria, so nobody cares.  Everyone is focusing on FIFA,” he says.

Building up to Singapore

Zlatan recently returned from an outing in Ivory Coast, where he competed in the Festival of electronics and video games of Abidjan (FEJA). Despite the failure in Ivory Coast, he had high hopes about what would have been his first global tournament.

Earlier in the month, the Singaporean government disclosed in a statement on Bloomberg that it had activated a ban on travellers who have been in Nigeria within the last 14 days from entering the country to prevent the spread of Omicron.

The Singapore Ministry of Health reports that the total number of Omicron cases detected in Singapore was 16, with 14 imported cases and two local cases involving airport passenger service staff.

All are fully vaccinated, with no or mild symptoms. Thirteen cases are recovering in isolation wards at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID), and three cases have been discharged.

Responding to the situation, the Lagos Esport Forum communicated the withdrawal of the team on Twitter a few days ago.

Zlatan had emerged champion from the Lagos Esports Forum qualifying series held in Lagos earlier this year. He won the Efootball PES category while his supposed compatriot for the tournament, Chukwudi Okoli came tops in the Street Fighter V to book their place in Singapore.

Forward-looking

His trust in his prowess and confidence made him adopt the name of Swedish football star Zlatan Ibrahimovic while he also added ‘Kami’, which means god in the Japanese Language.

For Kami Zlatan, Singapore would have been a dream come true, but Omicron has stolen his joy.

“It feels like I’ve been stuck in the same position for the last 4-5 years now. The pandemic is even making things worst.

“Maybe if we can have some more big tournaments in Esports at home, one can have some hope. But the truth is I am losing interest already,” he said.

Kami Zlatan would have been in attendance, along with colleagues from South Africa, Ghana, Morocco, and four other African countries.

Around 100 gamers from 80 member federations and territories are expected to compete at the flagship Esports event (GEG2021) backed by Global Esports Federation (GEF). The gamers will be battling for glory in 3 game titles – Valve’s Dota 2, Capcom’s Street Fighter V, and Konami’s eFootball PES 2021.

By Amos Joseph

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