New Zealand esports team E Blacks announced ahead of Commonwealth Games qualifiers


The young Kiwis donned newly created E Blacks shirts as the team’s Commonwealth Games campaign kicks off.

For the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, starting in July, a pilot is proposed where three different esports are vying for a medal – Dota 2, Rocket League and eFootball.

The four captains, Sam Johnson (Dota 2), Lucy Tam (Dota 2 Women), Tyler Williams (Rocket League) and Joshua King (eFootball), received their blazers during an announcement at Auckland’s Sky Tower on Wednesday morning .

Captains received their E Black blazers during an announcement in Auckland on Wednesday


Captains received their E Black blazers during an announcement in Auckland on Wednesday

NZ Esports Federation CEO Jonathan Jenson said it was really exciting to be able to put together a team to compete on the international stage.

* Kiwi esports athletes set for first-ever Commonwealth Games qualifiers
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* Popular esports games PUBG and VALORANT streamed live on Stuff

The selections went well – with local tournaments allowing the “cream to rise to the top”.

Teams will work with High Performance Sport NZ where they will have training sessions with sports psychologists, nutritionists and sleep scientists – much like Olympic athletes.

Outside of sessions with HPSNZ, campaign funding is entirely grassroots, Jenson said, with no money coming from New Zealand sports bodies.

“Rugby is the biggest secondary school sport in the country…we are not at rugby level, but we will be there in a few years.

“If you look at the difference in funding between the two, there’s a pretty huge difference.”

Esports was probably one of the most participatory sports in the country, Jenson said.

Sam Johnson (Fury) signed as Dota2 Open team captain


Sam Johnson (Fury) signed as Dota2 Open team captain

Dota2 Open captain Sam Johnson (known in-game as Fury) said it was amazing to represent the country as E Black for someone who has been working in the competitive scene for a while .

“It’s like that last step.”

Dota 2 is a 5v5 game where players compete in three lanes and in the jungle (the space between lanes). The goal is to repel the enemy and destroy the “old” enemy in its base.

The team practiced (practiced) against Australian and South East Asian opponents, watched replays and reviewed strategies to prepare for the qualifier against Australia.

“We trained together for 10 to 15 hours a week and then we worked solo, so we didn’t burn out,” Johnson said.

Head coach Patrick Gleeson (WarTurtle) said that although many players have played in big tournaments before, wearing the New Zealand name on their back made this one particularly special.

Gleeson said his role is to keep players happy, make sure they sleep and eat properly, and help with communication, which allows players to focus on their game without distraction.

The esports teams, except eFootball who have already qualified, will face Australia next month in the first-ever test match to decide who gets the chance to compete on the international stage.

Full team list:

Open Dota2:

  • Sam Johnson – Fury
  • Tobias Sveaas – Tobz
  • Ning Yu–Ningy
  • Jordan Baker–Zavier
  • Thomas Argueso-Sareczky – TheLast

Dota2 Women:

  • Rangsey Mou – Magic
  • Lucy Tam – yculstranger
  • Kassie Pratt – Lunerial
  • Jane Zhu – The Fallen
  • Janie Tieu – Bubbles

Rocket League:

  • Joshua Macdonald-Gay – Dx7
  • Dean Bargie – Scarth
  • Tyler Williams – Kenny Salmon

Electronic football:

The Head Coach:

  • Patrick Gleeson – War Turtle

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