Shayantan Mondal, SC East Bengal, eISL player
eISL is one of the best opportunities for a FIFA player to start their professional playing career. The first season of eISL started in November 2021 and the league stages are currently underway.
SC East Bengal is a team that tops the current league standings. Represented by Shayantan Mondal and Ankit Gupta, the club are ready to fight in the next grand final. In conversation with Sportskeeda Esports’ Debolina Banerjee, Shayantan talks about eISL, SC East Bengal, FIFA Global Series, and more.
Shayantan’s journey in FIFA esports
Q. Tell us about your journey as a professional FIFA player. When did you start playing the game?
Shaitan: The journey started in 2014 when I started participating in college gaming events. I would participate in various local summer tournaments. FIFA was just a way to make money and become more financially independent. I got my big break and national recognition in 2018 when I won 38 out of 40 matches in FUT Champs. At first, for me, it didn’t seem like a big accomplishment, but as word spread and people learned, I had my first “Aha” moment as an esports player. My journey as a professional FIFA player has gone through varying degrees of peaks and troughs, and I want to thank my family and friends for their love and support.
Q. Choosing a professional career in esports is quite difficult. When did you realize you wanted to go from a casual FIFA player to a pro?
Shaitan: After being selected for the eISL recently, I decided to pursue a professional career in video games. It was a difficult decision. In making my decision, I burned the midnight oil thinking about the opportunity costs of suing FIFA professionally. Yet, with all the opportunities in India and around the world, I decided to pursue. I thank my parents, my family and my friends for their immense support and encouragement! It wouldn’t have been possible without them.
Q. What is your opinion on the FIFA esports scenario in India? What steps can be taken to make it even more popular in the country?
Shaitan: The storyline in India is still in development, and it will take some time to mature. Plus, you have to consider the costs associated with playing FIFA, which keeps the new generation from getting into the game.
Mobile games are on the rise and mobile phones worth INR 10-12,000 can easily support games like PUBG Mobile. Comparatively, to play FIFA, you would need a console, a FIFA CD, and then purchase FIFA Coins to compete professionally in multiplayer mode.
To answer your question about popularity, I think more events with attractive prizes and international events in India can help make the game more popular.
Q. Since EA releases a FIFA version every year, which has been your favorite so far?
Shaitan: FIFA 18 was my favorite version of the game because the gameplay suited my style of play. There was no shortcut to scoring and players had to be patient to score a goal. Overall, for me, the game was very smooth and I encountered less glitches in the game.
Q. eISL is one of the best platforms that professional FIFA players in India can use to showcase their talent. How was your experience?
Shaitan: I agree that eISL is a great platform for professional gamers. I learned a lot about the game, how to adapt differently in various situations, how to improve my techniques and skills, and much more. Additionally, I learned to navigate difficult in-game scenarios. However, living in a bio-bubble (hotel away from family) was not easy. Still, I made lots of new friends here and enjoyed lots of light times, like playing cricket, celebrating birthdays, etc. Those days will remain etched in my memory. Whether I win or lose in the final, I will return home with unforgettable memories of a very distinguished network of talented individuals!
Q. SC East Bengal have played 19 matches in total and are currently top of the League table. Can you remember a memorable moment from one of your matches?
Shayantan: My best match in eISL was against Jamshedpur FC (home/away). My tactics against my opponent were perfect and I really enjoyed my performance. I scored 5 goals in this match. Looking back, I gained a lot of confidence and satisfaction in my ability to perform at the highest level. Kudos to my opponent Arvind Mass who played the perfect match with perfect tactics.
Q. Since one of the three eISL matches has to be a cooperative match, how do you ensure you have good synergy with your teammate in such matches?
Shaitan: I think having a streamlined communication style with your partner is essentially more important than practice. Understanding each other’s gameplay, recognizing and improving our shortcomings, and adapting to our strengths is more important than practicing cooperative games.
I have fantastic communications with Ankit, and we talk openly about our areas of improvement and exchange feedback directly. In the grand scheme of things, we spend a lot of time off-screen discussing topics of interest, which helps channel our efforts into cooperative games.
Q. If all goes well, SC East Bengal have a good chance of qualifying for the grand final. Do you have a specific strategy planned for this tournament?
Shaitan: No, we are here to enjoy it and give our best. We’ll see how things go and focus more on finishing our league games on a positive note.
Q. Only one eISL player will have the chance to represent the country in the FIFA Global Series 2022. What do you think of this huge opportunity?
Shaitan: First, it is a huge honor to have the opportunity to represent your country. You don’t have many such moments in your life. From an esports career perspective, this is already massive recognition and a vast learning experience.
Q. On a lighter note, since you are an avid football fan who happens to be from West Bengal, which football team do you actually support – East Bengal or Mohun Bagan?
Shaitan: I am a die-hard East Bengal fan but my family has always supported Mohun Bagan.