The FIFA competitive segment took some time to make its way to India. Football video games were always going to be popular in a country with plenty of young football fans. However, the challenge was to turn casual gaming into something one can do for a living.
Charanjot Singh is one of the Indian FIFA pros striving hard to make a name for the country on a global stage. The youngster has already made headlines in the FIFA industry, having won the AIFF eFootball Challenge in 2021. At the time of writing, "CJ" is ranked number 1 in South Asia in the FIFA Global Series.
In conversation with Sportskeeda Esports' Yasho Amonkar, Charanjot expressed his feelings about the AIFF eFootball Challenge, the best formation in the game, and gave his two cents on the team's results in the FIFAe Nations Series Play-Ins.
"My most memorable moment has to be when I beat world champion Msdossary during the FIFAe Nations qualifiers": Charanjot
Q) The AIFF eFootball Challenge provides a fair route into the competitive scene for all FIFA enthusiasts. You were the inaugural winner of the AIFF eFootball Challenge. What do you think about the format of the tournament?
Charanjot: The format we had when I qualified was very different and challenging from the one we have now. Now it's much better and fairer for the players, as there's a proper qualifier system and a double-elimination tournament. When I qualified, it was just one single-elimination tournament.
Q) 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1 narrow have been the go-to formations in competitive FIFA. Has the meta changed this year, or are formations like 4-1-2-1-2 narrow and 4-3-2-1 gaining prominence in this iteration?
Charanjot: 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1 will always be among the top formations in every edition of FIFA. 4-1-2-1-2 narrow and 4-3-2-1 have recently joined the meta curve as we have seen them used by pros across various tournaments.
In my opinion, formation does make a difference in your gameplay. However, it doesn't make that much of a difference where it'll be a major factor deciding if you win or lose a tournament.
The skill of the player is what matters the most always.
Q) Do you enjoy playing alone or co-op? What are the key differences between when you play Weekend League alone and when you play co-op with another pro?
Charanjot: I have no such preferences as I enjoy both the modes a lot. Solo has its perks, like relying on your own ability. Everything is in your control while playing alone.
While co-op has its advantages as well, if one of the two is struggling, the other player can help his teammate. Trusting each other is a massive element of co-op, and without that trust, the team wouldn't be able to reach the top.
Q) India did brilliantly at the Play-Ins that took place in December and January and are currently 2nd in the Asia and Oceania standings, only behind Australia. What were your key learnings from your defeats?
Charanjot: India currently sits first in the Consistency Ranking in our region after finishing first and second in the two matchweeks of Division 1. We have been playing really well recently, but there is always room for improvement.
The last match week wasn't our best performance, but we still somehow managed to finish second. We just need to practice more and trust each other in the upcoming match weeks.
Q) After a win each for Hong Kong and India in the recently contested friendlies, the Singapore server brought about two goalless draws. Was it due to the high ping, or did the teams prioritise defence?
Charanjot: As this was a friendly, we tried different tactics and players. Lokmanyu and I played in these friendlies. Before this, we hadn't played a single co-op game together, so it wasn't easy to get that chemistry going instantly.
But as the matches went on, we eventually found our rhythm and got on the same page, but it was still a tough battle.
Q) You have been at the top of the competitive scene in India for quite some time now. What is the most memorable moment in your career while representing the eTigers?
Charanjot: My most memorable moment while representing the eTigers has to be when I beat world champion Msdossary during the FIFAe Nations qualifiers.