The 2018 CSL has yet to begin but its e-sports equivalent is already over. R&F E-sports won the Chinese E-Sports Football League trophy last weekend and took a 200,000RMB prize back to Guangzhou with them.
The Chinese E-Sports Football League (CEFL) was launched in mid-2017, with 10 of the CSL sides creating video game teams to participate. Involving at least three human players per side, CEFL matches are played on a best of five games basis. Four are 1v1 games (involving one video gamer from each team), with teammates joining forces for a 3v3 game in the middle. To win the match, a team must win three games (in the same way that you need to win three sets out of a potential five to win a tennis match).
Jiangsu Sunning’s video gamers were crowned inaugural CEFL champions in September last year after beating Shandong in the final. The competition was considered a success and season two started in January this year with nine teams. Both Tianjin clubs dropped their e-sports teams but Changchun created one. Despite being relegated from the CSL, Yanbian’s video game side retained their CEFL place.
The initial stages of this year’s CEFL were held in Shanghai in front of a live audience and streamed live online to many more. The action then moved to Beijing. More specifically, to a shopping mall in between the third and fourth ring roads. The online viewers and those actually present in Beijing were treated to performances from some Chinese popstars as a warm up act. Former national team player and CCTV pundit Xu Yang was also brought along for those who prefer to use boots rather than joysticks to play football.
Guangzhou R&F beat Shanghai SIPG, and Henan Jianye beat Yanbian to advance to the final. Guangzhou R&F’s e-sports team won the first three games to take the final ‘in straight sets’ and become CEFL champions. Dong Wenbin, Li Sijun, Wan Yong and Xue Zexi may not get to play at Yuexiushan any time soon but expect them to parade the CEFL trophy there at Guangzhou R&F’s first CSL home game this year.
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