Valorant, since its release last year, has amassed a massive number of players along with a stable Esports scene worldwide.
While the comparatively bigger regions are the ones that get most of the limelight, there are still regions that need support from others as well. One such region is Bangladesh, which despite having such a huge local Valorant Esports scene, has zero to no presence in the international scene.
Since the Valorant Conquerors Championship (VCC) was announced for the South Asia region, Sportskeeda Esports’ Subhradeep Mukherjee has reached out to Ariful Haque, Exceeli Esports head, Ariful Haque, for an exclusive conversation. He spoke about his experiences in Bangladesh's Valorant Esports in the past year and shed light on VCC and where the country stands.
The following is an excerpt of the interview.
Q: As an Esports org, every team has its own backstory behind the formation. How did Exceeli Esports come to be?
Ariful: Around the origination of Valorant, one of my friends and I had a vision. It was to form one of the best Valorant roster and gaming organizations in the entirety of South Asia. Slowly but surely, many ex-CSGO professionals started switching to Valorant, and that was when my friend decided to contact the best Valorant team of Bangladesh, who was then known as "G5".
We got into a meeting with them, and that is how Exceeli's Valorant roster came to be. Since then, we have started to recruit the best players from other games such as Fortnite. Exceeli was created with only one vision in mind - to recruit the most skilled players from South Asia and Bangladesh and become the best gaming organization in the region.
Q: Every Esports org has its own set of training programs. Apart from practicing Valorant every day, are there any other extra-curricular activities that the roster goes through regularly?
Ariful: Like every other organization, other than playing and grinding Valorant, our players hang out together to create the bond and trust they need between themselves as a team. This, in return, improves their team spirit and gameplay overall.
Q: What are the set goals or expectations you have for your team?
Ariful: As the organization’s owner and CEO, my only goal is to make this organization one of the best in South Asia and slowly go international from then on. We might have a long way to go. But I believe that with proper guidance and practice, our players have the capability to become the very best.
Q: Since the formation of the Valorant roster, has there ever been a low point in the career that the team went to the point that they could not carry on? If they did, what finally lifted their spirits and kept them going?
Ariful: There have been many ups and downs since the formation of Exceeli's Valorant roster. What kept the management team at Exceeli and the players going was our willingness to grow the Bangladesh Esports scene.
The player's limitless dedication and hard work led to what is now known as the best Valorant team of Bangladesh.
Q: When it comes to decision-making, how much freedom do you give to the players regarding professional matches and real life?
Ariful: As a gamer myself, I understand that there are instances where a player might not be able to be present for a professional match due to activities that are going on in real life. In cases like these, we give them freedom and space to figure out their hassle in real life and return as active players as soon as they can.
Q: Exceeli Esports has competed in many cross-nation tournaments since last year. What has been your experience going up against some of the big names in the Indian Valorant Esports scene?
Ariful: Exceeli's Valorant roster has been going up against the finest South Asian teams since the beginning of Valorant Esports. While our roster went up against them, they learned a lot about team-play and strategies from the better South Asian teams. We realize that there is a lot of space to grow, and our team is definitely improving daily.
Q: In your eyes, which one of the Indian Valorant rosters do you think is the best?
Q: It has been quite a while since VCC was announced. What were your players’ reactions to the announcement?
Ariful: Our players became excited after they saw Nodwin Gaming announcing the qualifiers of VCC. Exceeli's Valorant team has always been waiting for an opportunity like this. They are looking forward to it and are practicing harder than ever.
Q: The South Asia Valorant scene has been neglected for quite a while now. How do you feel now that the teams here are getting the much-needed attention from Riot?
Ariful: I personally think that it’s a great opportunity for the South Asian Valorant players and scene since they can finally showcase what they are capable of and prove that South Asian teams are worthy contenders for the Valorant Champions Tour.
Q: Seeing how big an opportunity this is, how well is your roster prepared to compete for the VCT slot?
Ariful: Our roster has been scrimmaging and practicing forever for this opportunity. I believe that our roster has what it takes to compete for the VCT Slot and very well qualify for the VCT qualifiers as well.