Yalla eSports is widely considered to be one of the top esports organizations in the region, thanks to great management, top talent players, and an aggressive approach of making their name known all around the global competitive community.
We had the chance to interview Mr. Wadih Sayah, manager of the CS: GO squad that is now participating in United Masters League with its 2nd Season. Here’s what he had to tell us about challenges, hardships, advice and more on how to make it in the eSports scene.
Mr. Wadih I would like to welcome you with us here today! A little introduction of yourself to our MENA audience would be a great start!
Thank you for having me, Im known in the gaming community as Devilgamingtv as I started as a youtuber/Streamer, however i like competition and hence i moved to esports as a caster and host. After slowly getting better and working with international and local tournament organizers I felt the thirst to explore more, so I created with the help of Rami Frem our first team Next Generation. From there I went to win WCA organized by esports middle east. After NG I coached multiple teams until I moved to UAE for a full time job as esports expert.
Once I arrived to Dubai I had the opportunity to hang out with a long time friend Klasu CEO of Yalla esports that had the same passion and drive to build great Arab teams to represent the region to the fullest.
So i joined Yalla esports.
Yalla eSports have been killing it lately with local tournament wins, honourable performances at world level and some impressive signings. How does it feel to be part of an organization that is working hard to levitate the Middle Eastern scene?
Simply, I feel at home here as I’m working with like minded people and our skills complement each other. I feel like what we are capable of with Yalla esports is huge, on a competitive level and as a brand we will set the bar higher in the MENA region, as yalla esports isn’t your average bunch of friends trying to take advantage of the newborn community, yalla is the opposite and that is being demonstrated with the move to acquire me altho I was working with an international company Webedia.
Hopefully this will drive others to keep up and we will finally have a big competitive scene with multiple successful orgs that have proper business models.
There are definitely many challenges in such a young and uncharted business in the region, what are some of those from your own experience? And how do you think they could be overcome?
There are a lot of challenges on many levels:
Endemic brands are not paying a lot in sponsorships and some are restraining that sponsorship to equipment only which is helpful for the players but you need cash to build a company
Non endemic brands have the money but drop it on whats trendy and are more into that 1 time big hit and leave the community hunting clients somewhere else.
Players need proper support and mentoring almost all the players in the region are not experienced enough to understand how things work on a corporate level so they dont have the patients and the will to learn.
esports organizations are always competing with each other instead of working together to build a better ecosystem.
In summary we all can work together and help each other to build a better ecosystem but that will take lots of effort and trust. Cause once we have that tournaments and activity all year long ecosystem, endemics will spend more marketing budget and non endemics will be interested in year long activations.
Your CS: GO squad is one of the best in the Arab world, and has recently made it into United Masters League Season 2 alongside some top squads from around the globe like Virtus.Pro and BIG. What were the most important factors in getting where you are today? How would you describe the environment over at your organization that makes it stand out from the rest?
By far the most important factor is everyone, because we all had a part in getting this far, the players practice, yalla esports staff content, the management connections.And most importantly our new coach Toh1o who is putting his best into the project to make it a success and replicate the work he has done for windigo. At the end of the day the team and org actually feels like a family without sounding cheesy.
Speaking of CS: GO, it’s definitely one of the most unforgiving competitive titles out there, and it can be hard to form a good squad that understands and compliment each player’s abilities. What was the process like in getting those players together and what were some of the hardships you faced?
Well when it comes to CSGO, I’m really at home there I know almost all the top players in the MENA region and some of them are close friends.So it wasn’t easy identifying the top names fit for such a project.I started by sorting players out based on roles and that’s when I got into my first issue which is the lack of experienced IGLs in the region however i learned that Senpai was actually changing his role its been 4 5 month from rifler to IGL so i gave him a chance which he is using to the fullest working hard day and night.
The rest of the lineup was kind of a no brainer for me i worked with Kheops and Remind before with limitless and in my opinion they are insanely skilled players specially at doing their roles. After that we have 3arkooz who is by far the most mechanically skilled player in the region but everyone considered him to have a big ego, however 3arkooz is like a little brother to me, altho he is twice my size and he puts his trust into me and i make sure i keep him checked as a player and a person. Last but not least our last pick was Dead which is one of the most skilled players in lebanon still missing lots of experience but the others can help him get better in no time plus he is one of the nicest guys I ever met and he is always listening and willing to learn.
There’s a lot of undiscovered talent in the region. Amer “Miracle-” Albarqawi, one of Dota 2’s best players, started out as a young boy playing in an internet cafe in Jordan before making it big. A lot of good players do go unnoticed because of the uncertainty of the local pro scene, so what advice do you have for them in order to use their talents to the fullest?
There is three ways to reach the top and get discovered in all three ways you have to put your ego aside and work your a** off.
1st way is climbing solo ladders and being recognized internationally as one of the top players (ie: Issa murad, GH, Miracle,….)
2nd way is climbing the teams ladders by building a team and sticking to it and achieving your dreams as a team.
3rd way is Social media and livestreaming getting a big following and reputation can and will help you get noticed quicker.
What are some of your future plans at Yalla Esports that you can share with us? Any new expansions into other games in the near future that we can know about?
Well what i can say is, we want to be the pride of arabs internationally and not just regionally so we are planning to get our current teams out there and represent. And we are always looking for the talents that deserve more!
So we will expand to couple new titles yes but i can’t disclose what yet as we are still looking for people that fit our long term goals.
We wish you the best of luck at United Masters League! A final word from you and where can our followers go to stay updated on the latest news and achievements from Yalla
Im super happy you had the time to write and prepare this interview. I would love to say one final thing which we are doing this because of our passion to the game especially the CSGO project is mainly driven by passion and look where we reached already, with your support and the support of the community we can easily put our ARABIC touch to the international scene from here on its all an upwards journey and we need you to be part of the grind.
So follow us on Yalla esports social media (@Yallaesports)and follow me personally @Devilgamingtv as we will be streaming the games and I will be casting everything in arabic and we will put regular content so you know about every step and I hope you share your opinions with us on a regular basis to build one of the best arab orgs in the coming years.