The first season of eISL was one of the best FIFA tournaments in India, and the Grand Finals concluded with Chennaiyin FC as the champions.
One of the teams competing in this tournament was Bengaluru FC. Despite trying their best, Aman Warsi and his teammate Sagnik Banerjee of BFC finished in the fifth position and failed to qualify for the Grand Finals by a whisker.
In conversation with Sportskeeda Esports’ Debolina Banerjee, the former talked about his love for FIFA, experience in the eISL, his dreams of competing at the 2022 Asian Games, and more.
Aman Warsi on his journey in competitive world of FIFA
Q. Can you tell us more about the life of a professional FIFA player? When did you decide to switch from being a casual player to a professional one?
Aman: FIFA is no longer just a game; it is a livelihood for some. For our fans and the people who support us, we are Messi and Ronaldo with controllers for them.
The life of a professional FIFA player is full of ups and downs, just like any other sport/esport. There is obviously a massive amount of pressure at times to do well in a tournament. A professional player has to study their game style and adapt to the opponent’s game style.
When I was 16, I decided to switch from being a casual player to a professional FIFA gamer. It was my friends who told me about this tournament in Chandigarh, and my journey started from there.
Q. What is your take on the competitive scene of FIFA in India? How can it be more popularized?
Aman: The FIFA esports scene was in a stale place for a long time, but I feel it has been moving at the right pace since 2020. With FIFA being included in the 2022 Asian Games, I guess that is one of the biggest platforms for any professional player to showcase their talent. In the end, players will be fighting for a medal for their country.
I think FIFA can be more popularized when football stars or Bollywood stars start coming onto the scene for promotions and advertisements. In eISL, we saw some great numbers in terms of viewership, considering it was the first season.
I think that was possible because every club and the ISL page was promoting on their social media handles.
Q. Esports is still frowned upon as a profession by the majority of the people in the country. Were your parents supportive of your decision? Did you have to face any criticism when you first wanted to choose it as your career?
Aman: My parents have always believed in me, and they have supported me throughout my life. I am blessed and proud to have such parents, from whom I did not face any criticism.
I did get some taunts from my relatives when I just started competing. This was because people did not see esports as a profession back then.
However, it has changed drastically over the last two years. People are now aware that their kids can make a living out of it.
Earlier, we used to travel for LAN events using our own money, and my parents helped me a lot.
Q. FIFA players are usually huge fans of football. Do you think playing the game in real-life affects how you play it virtually? Which team do you support when it comes to international football?
Aman: Yes, I think playing the game in real life or even just having basic knowledge about the game has an effect on how you play it virtually. You need to have that basic football knowledge to get that perfect build-up.
You have to know how and when you have to press your opponents, when you have to go all-in, when you have to do zone pressing, and most importantly, time management. So yes, I guess having basic football knowledge is very important.
I support Argentina and have supported them ever since I started watching football. They have the best player in the world as well!
Q. Since EA comes up with a new game every year, what was the first FIFA game you have played? Which version is your favorite?
Aman: My journey started with FIFA 18, so it is a bit close to my heart.
I have played this title the most. For me, there was no better game than this version. The build-up, the tiki-taka play, the driven finishes, everything was so good about FIFA 18.
Q. You recently participated in the eISL and represented Bengaluru FC in the tournament. What was the overall experience like? Who has been your most formidable competitor in the entire event?
Aman: I mean, talking about experience, who doesn’t want to represent a club with Sunil Chhetri, one of the finest Indian players, playing for them? Bengaluru FC is one of the best clubs with two I-League titles, two Federation Cup titles, one Indian Super League title, and a Super Cup championship.
The overall experience was great, and I got to meet some people after a long time as there were no LAN events due to Covid. I made some new friends and learned to handle the pressure when having cameras facing me from five different angles. It has been a great experience, and I will cherish these moments forever.
I feel for us the toughest competitor was FC Goa. We only managed to get 1 point against the young guns in two fixtures.
Q. Bengaluru FC finished in fifth position, missing out on the Grand Finals of the eISL Season 1 by a whisker. What are your key takeaways when it comes to gameplay? How do you feel you can improve your strategy to perform better in the upcoming matches?
Aman: My key takeaway was that one does not have to take a lot of pressure to make it to the top 4 because that spoils the gameplay. All one has to do is go out there and play their natural gameplay.
We missed out on the top 4 by two points. It hurts, but it is always part and parcel for us. No one is to blame but us for not staying consistent.
I will have that experience and knowledge of how the tournament and the league work, so I guess that will be an advantage for me.
Q. Now that the eISL is over, what is next on the cards? Which tournaments are you looking forward to?
Aman: Next on the cards is a good vacation! It has been a tough four months in the bio bubble, so I guess I need a break. We also have the ESL Flash Cup and the 2022 Asian Games round the corner, so that is what is next on the cards for me.
Q. Speaking of major tournaments, esports is one of the medal events in the 2022 Asian Games, and FIFA is one of the games. Do you have any plans on taking part in it?
Aman: Yes, I plan to take part in the 2022 Asian Games Qualifiers as it’s one of the biggest stages for any athlete. There is nothing better than representing your country on such a big stage, and getting a medal at the 2022 Asian Games will be a cherry on top.
Q. What is your message to the aspiring FIFA professionals out there?
Aman: I would like to say that the journey will not be easy, and there will be days when you will not feel like competing or even touching the controller. Remember that is part of life and the game. You are not going to win every time you head into the game, and always remember that every loss is a lesson.
Keep grinding, and you will be where you always wanted to be.