ZIMBABWEAN footballers have always loved the Fifa video game, using the game to relax while in camp or ahead of big ties.
They would ordinarily use players from everywhere else in the world EXCEPT local players. National team and club camps have been synonymous with players using their down time to compete against each other on Play Station. And in all that time, they have used the Messis and Ronaldos and the Sanchos of world football.
Their own never seemed good enough or worse – they were not even in the game!
But now, they can.
The latest installation of the FIFA game which can be played on PlayStation and X-Box, FIFA21 has 13 Zimbabwean players with various rankings and skill sets.
The latest FIFA21 rankings are led by Aston Villa enforcer, Marvelous Nakamba and Kaizer Chiefs forward, Khama Billiat ,who both have an overall rating of 75.
However, Nakamba beat his Warriors teammate in the potential rankings where he has 78 compared to Billiat’s 75.
Lyon striker, Tino Kadewere is third with an overall ranking of 74 ,but a potential ranking of 80 followed by Willard Katsande whose overall rating is 71 and a potential of 71.
The other Zimbabwean players on the Fifa21 rankings are: Tendayi Darikwa (71, and 71), Knowledge Musona (70 and 70), Marshall Munetsi (69 and 75), Teenage Hadebe (66 and 77), Macaulley Bonne (65 and 71), Terrence Dzukamanja (65 and 71), Mathew Rusike (64 and 64), David Moyo (60 and 63) and Admiral Muskwe (59 and 69).
“It’s always pleasing to get such recognition as players. I’m proud of myself and other Warriors players. My pledge is to continue flying the country’s flag higher and higher,” said Hadebe.
Former Zimbabwe youth international Guide Goddard said: “This development shows that our game keeps developing and I’m really proud of the current Warriors players who are undoubtedly dedicated to play for the Zimbabwe badge.”
Each year, with the launch of every new FIFA game, EA Sports releases the top 100 ratings for the best players in the game, as well as the complete database of ratings for every single player from all the licensed leagues.
The top 100 list always provides plenty of debate from fans, with FIFA20 rating Lionel Messi as 94 overall and Cristiano Ronaldo at 93, leading to a lot of arguments between fans of both players on social media.
Everyone has an opinion on the best players in the game and whether certain stars are under, or overrated, but how do EA Sports decide the ratings for all the lesser-known players in their database? How do they decide who is better?
EA Sports employs a team of 25 EA producers and 400 outside data contributors, who are led by Head of Data Collection & Licensing Michael Mueller-Moehring.
This team is responsible for ensuring all player data is up to date, while a community of over 6,000 FIFA Data Reviewers or Talent Scouts from all over the world are constantly providing suggestions and alterations to the database.
It is a complicated process, but its vast scope ensures that the information in the game itself is as accurate as possible, down to the weak-foot strength of lower league players and teenage reserves from minor leagues.
It would be impossible for EA Sports’ staff to watch every single player in every single game, so a team of over 6,000 volunteers help maintain and update the player database all year round. These FIFA Data Reviewers are known as FIFA Talent Scouts and are coaches, scouts and football fans whose local knowledge helps maintain accuracy and ensure there are no major inconsistencies in each version of FIFA.
All the data is overseen by Mueller-Moehring’s team of EA producers and has to be backed up and verified before even a minor change is made. Each player in the game has over 300 fields as well as over 35 specific attributes which ultimately determine the rating seen in the game.
“We have many leagues in the game; no stats provider could offer us data for all these leagues, teams and players,” Mueller-Moehring revealed.
“This is also the reason why we use this online database, because it’s not possible to buy this data in some way – it just doesn’t exist.”