Two Lethbridge students set to compete at first-ever CCAA video gaming competition
Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Gaming Challenge to feature head-to-head games of FIFA20
Two Albertans will be duking it out at a soccer tournament on Tuesday, but they won't be leaving the house.
The first-ever Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Gaming Challenge kicks off on Oct. 27, and competitors will go head-to-head — playing FIFA20 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox.
Moataz Bakr and Bello Oluwatobi will be competing for Lethbridge College, and if they win their respective one-on-one match-ups, they will advance to the playoff bracket.
The competition culminates in the Gaming Challenge Finals on Nov. 19, according to the website, and the top prize for the winning player is a customized ring.
Bakr and Oluwatobi told The Homestretch on Monday that for two gamers who are staying close at home during COVID-19, the competition was an exciting find.
"I've always liked to play games, so like when I saw [the competition] on the school website, I was like, 'Wow … this is an opportunity for me to play, to do what I love doing,'" Oluwatobi said.
Pandemic encouraged game-playing
The contest is a change of pace for the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association, which usually provides support for student athletes participating in high-level intercollegiate competitions.
But with widespread sporting cancellations due to the pandemic, the online soccer competition is a physically distanced substitute.
Oluwatobi first started playing FIFA20 in March, and when the pandemic started, he said.
Bakr, meanwhile, is more seasoned at the popular video game; he said that he has been playing for years.
"Since I was a kid, I was playing FIFA with my brothers and competing and stuff. And it's the game I enjoy playing," Bakr said.
"[The competition] was a great idea by whoever made [it]. And it's just something to do while you're at home."
Both Bakr and Oluwatobi agreed that they have been playing more video games with their friends, and in general, since COVID-19 safety regulations put limitations on gatherings and implemented physical distancing.
"Mainly because of COVID, honestly, most of my friends are playing video games as well — even the ones that didn't used to," Bakr said.
Bakr and Oluwatobi met earlier this year, and only realized they were both in the competition when the rosters were announced.
"I didn't really know he was in the tournament until today. I was excited to see how he is," Bakr said.
The two approach the game, and their strategies, differently.
"I don't train for games; like, I don't prepare, I just go with [it]," Oluwatobi said.
"I get to know my opponent's game, and, like, the fundamentals of the game, and that's it. The first twenty minutes of the game decide who will win or lose. That's it for me."
But that's not it for Bakr. Personally, he said, he believes a win is all about defence.
"Sometimes scoring five goals in a game will get you a win, but also, stopping other opponents from scoring on you," Bakr said.
"Me and most of my friends, that's how we usually play … be a good defensive team."
With files from The Homestretch