Sports fans around the world have been reeling after major events and tournaments have been postponed in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
But some local fans were given a bit of relief as Netsix and Chill hosted the first-ever Social Distancing Cup. The fete match team, which comprises several former national team and intercol stars put together the event to fill the void caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The inspiration behind he social distancing cup was basically the fact that many fans, many sports fan are suffering from not being able to get out into the open, into the field and enjoy a football sweat. So what we decided to do is create a virtual sweat,” said NSAC board member Kern Gardiner.
The online football tournament which saw 16 competitors attempting to best each other in FIFA 20 on PlayStation.
But the group found a way to get all the ingredients for participants and fans alike, while adhering to social distancing.
“Staying true to the concept of social distancing, all registration fees were paid via wire transfer or Pay Pal,” Gardiner said, “and what would a football tournament be without an audience, all games were streamed live and thus all our social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were able to view the games live, add comments and of course be a part of the banter.”
The 16 slots were open, first come, first serve although registration required a $200 buy-in for competitors. The $2,000 prize, however, attracted a few of the country’s top professional FIFA players to the party.
Javon “Cityslicker” Charles and Bevon “Lao” Julien, both of whom had represented this country in international Esports competition tested the mettle of the those who dared compete, including myself.
Slicker and Lao imposed themselves with a couple of huge victories, including a 7-0 dismantling of my Manchester City by Slicker in my second group game which virtually ended my chances of advancing.
But it was not all smooth sailing for the pros.
After being so dominant in his two-legged quarterfinal tie against Mafioso, that according to Netsix’s page explained, “Trailing 10-0 on aggregate, The Mafioso_Gods squad refused to leave the locker room at halftime.”
But Lao’s Barcelona would be outmatched in the semifinals by Avinash Mohammed’s France who stunned him in the first leg of the semifinal 4-0 before staving off any comeback in the second with a 2-2 draw.
The final was tighter, but Charles, switching from France to Liverpool, would win both legs 1-0 and 2-1 respectively to win the $2000 prize.
“For me the tournament was a good idea, seeing as we can’t really go out and socialise in public during this time. The concept was brilliant,” said Charles who also dedicated the win to his late mother.
The pro player also praised the level of the competition and said he was looking forward to more competitions from Netsix.
“In terms of the level of the competition it was pretty high, I was really surprised more-so with the casual guys, they gave me a good run,” said Charles.