KUALA TERENGGANU: Who would have thought that playing ‘Pro Evolution Soccer’, an Electronic Sport (E-sport) which is often considered a waste of time, could prove otherwise for Muhammad Rafiq Firdaus Junus @ Ramli, 18, who has made money out of it.
Muhammad Rafiq Firdaus, better known as Rafiq, began actively pursuing the E-sport when he joined the PES tournament organised by Kuppy Station for the first time in 2016.
“At first, I used to just play PES with my friends and cousins until one of them recognised my talent in the game and took me to the competition. From there, I started participating in various PES competitions held nationwide,” said the teenager from Kampung Tasik, Setiu, who has won about RM20,000 since he began playing professionally.
Rafiq has participated in more than 50 PES competitions and often finishes among the top four, the most recent being a first place finish at the Selangor Cyber Games on Oct 28.
PES is a football simulation video game developed and released annually by Konami since 2001.
Although he has been playing PES since his schooling days, Rafiq, the youngest of nine siblings has never neglected his studies, and instead divided his time between work and play.
“Every week, I will take the bus to participate in PES competitions held outstation, including in Kelantan, Kuala Lumpur and other places around the Peninsular..for that, I need to be wise in managing my time so that my lessons are not affected, and now that I am done with my studies, I want to fully concentrate on E-Sports,” said the member of Anak Tasik Group Games (ATG Games), adding his dream was to one day represent Malaysia at the international level.
Meanwhile, E-sports Malaysia Terengganu (ESMT) vice-president Syed Afif Hakimi Tengku Abdillah said that PES was not very popular in Terengganu previously, but gained traction in 2016, giving rise to new talents like Rafiq.
“Prior to this, E-Spots was dominated by other state athletes like Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, and Johor while in Terengganu, but since it began picking up steam in Terengganu, we have found 10 outstanding talents in the state, including Rafiq, “he said.