MCV took the opportunity at last week's qualifiers in Ryde to speak to Mark Azzi, last year's Australian FIWC winner.
Mark came in second in this year's qualifying round, leaving room for Malaysian newcomer Mikko Quilala, who was stunned to find himself in line to compete at the National finals in Sydney next week.
So, tell us how you fared after winning the Australian arm of last year’s FIFA Interactive World Cup?
I went on to take third place in the world in the FIWC for 2011. It was a surprising result, but I think I worked hard for it.
I’ve heard you’ve been practising for five hours a day?
Well, this year, I’ve been working full-time at a pharmacy, nine to five, then going to the gym and practising with whatever time I can make at night. So it’s been sometimes two hours, sometimes four. But the night before, I was into it for at least five hours, practising and getting prepped for today.
And where did your Australian title take you last year?
We were flown to Los Angeles in the US. It was a great experience! We got helicopters, we got private limos, we got escorts, we got everything! Everything a rock star would ever think of – we got.
Because we came in the top four, we got a helicopter ride over the LA beach. So we got a tour on the heli over the beach, and everyone was underneath us (like, thousands of people) who were all waving at the camera. We actually had a second helicopter following us filming the ride. It was pretty good!
Was this the first time you’d ever gone in for an event like this and placed this high?
Yeah, it was the first time I’d ever competed in the FIWC – I hadn’t actually been here before. Before I went [to LA], I got scouted by a company called Team Immunity, who are now my sponsors.
So that was a huge amount of faith from them, and then I went on to place third in the world, so they were ecstatic. They’ve since sent me overseas – I’ve been to Paris, this year I’m going back to America in a month’s time, all for different FIFA events. That result really launched my career.
Are these guys here fierce competition, or are you looking forward to competing in the Sydney finals in a couple of week’s time?
This year’s tough, because the defence is different than in FIFA 11. Players who aren’t great can still defend well now, with this new system. A lot of people who haven’t played the game can still adapt pretty fast. They can control the defenders, without needing the computer to do it for them, making it much harder to score all around.
The competition’s great today, we’ve got people from all around Australia flying down to compete, so fingers crossed.
Thank you for your time and congratulations.
To register for the MCV Pacific News Digest, head to the registration page: http://www.mcvpacific.com/user/index/register/journey/register