zAAz: "For the first time in a year I feel pretty confident"

July 20th, 2018 23:10

We sat down with Zainab "zAAz" Turkie ahead of her team’s debut under Besiktas to discuss the change in organisation as well as the recent roster swaps.

The former Secret and Dynasty team made headlines earlier on Friday as they were unveiled by Turkish football club Besiktas, putting an end to a six-month association with RES-Gaming.

zAAZ & co now represent Besiktas

In this interview, conducted ahead of the GIRLGAMER Esports Festival, which kicks off on Saturday in Estoril, zAAz opens up on topics concerning the issues with RES, bringing Petra "Petra" Stoker back into the team, the current state of female Counter-Strike, and more.

You added potter at the start of the year and removed her after just a couple of events. What happened? In your tweet, you mentioned that it was “hard to figure out the distance” between Europe and North America.

We had been trying to practise with her, but she lives in the US, while we live in Europe, and it did not work out. We had been promised that we would move her to Europe in February and that we would all move to Dubai in September, but it never happened. We had a lot of problems, RES-Gaming have a lot of good guys but things didn't work out as we expected them to, and this made us not practice at all. During those six months, due to these circumstances we only managed to practice for two weeks. We decided in the end to just play with a full European team - it’s the easiest solution, to be honest - and to leave RES Gaming. As you know, Kemal used to be my boss, and he is also working with Besiktas now. We have been good friends for three years and we talked about us joining the club and it sounded interesting.

What will change for the team? What kind of support will Besiktas provide?

Besiktas will give us whatever we want, to be honest. They are very supportive, and that is exactly what we need as players. We have a bootcamp house in Turkey, like a player arena, and we will have full access to it.

Have they explained to you their plans for esports and for CS:GO in particular?

They want to grow. They want new teams, in new games, all that. For now, I just know that. I do not follow their other teams, I do not understand other games, to be honest [laughs]. So far, we are very happy to be in Besiktas, a good home that supports us.

Going back to the line-up, why did you decide to bring Petra back after removing her?

When Petra joined us, last year, the motivation and the atmosphere in the team were not great. We practised like twice with her. A lot of things happened in the team back then, and we did not have the motivation to play. I had always wanted to play with Christine [potter]. I had known her since forever, so it had always been a dream of mine to play with her and I wanted that to happen, we had been talking about it for two years. Then, when we finally found an organisation that could make it happen, we chose Christine over Petra. That is basically it. After what happened, we decided to play with a full European team. Petra is a great player, she has only been playing CS for three years and it is amazing how good she is. We did not give her a proper chance the first time, but we are giving her one now, and we are really happy with the team.

What is the situation of kr4sylya? Is she still on trial?

We initially decided to try her out, but then we spoke all together and decided to make her an official member. She is 16 years old, this is her first tournament. A great player, very smart, it is insane, she has not been playing for that long, either. She reminds me of myself when I was 16, a bit cocky, a great attitude for the game, that is what I love about her. Her attitude is perfect for the game, and to compete you need that sort of attitude, to be strong mentally, you know? I believe in her. Even though she may be nervous for this tournament and may not perform as well as we expect her to, I am still not going to judge her because it is her first tournament and I am ready to give her a chance.

zAAZ praised Petra, who is back on the team

You placed third and second at the last two events you attended, Copenhagen Games and IEM Katowice, but I guess it was not that bad as you said that you had barely practised. Are you eager to win tournaments again?

Yes. For the first time, we, especially juliano, vilga and me, because we have been together for so many years, feel pretty confident. Even though we only created this line-up recently, it just feels like everyone understands each other. For the first time in a year, I feel pretty confident.

What are your thoughts on the state of the female scene, in terms of frequency of tournaments and the level of the teams competing?

Obviously we need more tournaments, we need more people watching female CS because a lot of people look down on it. There is a big difference between male and female CS, and it is how it is, you know? I hope that can change one day, but still, people need to give us a chance. We are also players, we are also gamers, and we all actually try. But it would be very nice to have more tournaments. It is boring to have only a few tournaments this year. I can only hope that it will change.

Is there a reason why female teams in Europe do not compete in open tournaments, like DreamHack Open qualifiers and ESEA, as often as female North American teams do?

We will actually start doing it, we have just been waiting to feel comfortable with the line-up. A lot of other teams do not want to do it because they feel they do not have a chance, they feel it is not worth it. But it’s wrong to think like that. It’s better to play against better teams, that is how you improve and change as a player and as a team. It is hard to say. For us, we want to try that at least, and if we get smashed, then we will at least know that we tried.

Besiktas is your fourth organisation in two years. Are you disappointed with this, or do you feel this is the result of the way the female scene is going?

It is not about the female scene, it is just that things happened in organisations. There has never been a problem with players or with the team. We joined Team Secret when Kemal was a part of it, when he left Secret we followed and changed our team name to that of his new organisation, Dynasty, and, after two years with him, we went to RES. It didn't work out as we wanted, and our obvious choice was to keep working with Kemal, who then introduced us to Besiktas. So, for us, it feels like we were only in two organisations, Kemal and RES, just changing names. It feels like we have found a serious organisation in Besiktas, a proper one. We can’t do more than just hope for the best, you know? At least we are not giving up, and that is what matters the most.

Netherlands Petra 'Petra' Stoker
Petra 'Petra' Stoker
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
Sweden Zainab 'zAAz' Turkie
Zainab 'zAAz' Turkie
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
Very goood
2018-07-20 23:11
2018-07-20 23:11
Sweden AlexJonesVEVO 
Only reason this LEM level player is any relevant is her gender =D
2018-07-20 23:13
Austria shaakeh 
That confidence won't hold up for long ://
2018-07-20 23:27
lost again, np i back u up
2018-07-20 23:30
Estonia teremartin 
nip zaaz & nip juliano ez top 1
2018-07-20 23:35
Turkey Dust2isBest 
2018-07-20 23:31
theres another reason, hltv virgins clicking on news about female "cs pros"
2018-07-21 00:34
United States gtmaniacmda 
if they played CS in lingerie I would wholly support female $1M majors
2018-07-21 06:45
would deff make up for the fact that they are only as good as me and im 10 years past my prime
2018-07-21 13:09
Snax is Lem too
2018-07-21 10:53
2018-07-21 13:50
2018-07-20 23:12
most beautiful woman to ever touch cs
2018-07-20 23:29
petra hotter than zaaz
2018-07-20 23:32
L.K.S | 
Turkey xAiakos 
2018-07-20 23:48
2018-07-21 00:10
You must live in garbage to think that
2018-07-21 00:20
"They need to give us a chance" Gets 16-0'd by tier5 team and keeps losing 0-2 to tier4-7 male teams
2018-07-20 23:30
Turkey Dust2isBest 
1 Lol they are given 10 times more chance than any young male player and they still complain
2018-07-20 23:33
Yea and there is literally no reason to have own tournaments for females, since in esports the gender doesnt matter. If they were male, they would never be pro. And they still complain.
2018-07-21 01:09
South Africa BrucieBoi 
i honestly dont even know why a female scene for cs exists its so sexist in 2018 its almost like saying you should rather be making me sandwich woman but if your really want to play you cant play with us go play with girls because you bad
2018-07-21 01:44
Turkey Dust2isBest 
2018-07-21 06:55
United States gtmaniacmda 
there are some female players who could go pro even at a 'man's level,' but in CS it's not so easy that you can just put the best players on one team and they win every time, so even though some females might be like Tier2 male level, their temperament might cause them not to fit in maybe zaaz and juliano will join male teams and be the savior of the floundering swedish scene LOL
2018-07-21 06:48
Turkey Dust2isBest 
2018-07-21 06:55
Have u seen zaaz and juliano playing against male teams? lmao the almost never get more than 5 rounds.
2018-07-21 12:25
South Africa BrucieBoi 
juliano came 2nd in the 1v1 aim comp didnt she?
2018-07-21 13:51
2018-07-21 13:57
no, and 1v1 is very different
2018-07-21 14:58
No, the only beat 1 guy. Think it was Cadian?
2018-07-21 20:06
Turkey Dust2isBest 
2018-07-21 06:49
France mintzz 
And then ragequit the tournament and go home without telling their teammates. Yep. Hypocrisy.
2018-07-21 15:01
Poland b7ack0ut 
2018-07-20 23:11
liTTle | 
CIS Dowa) 
lol ok xd
2018-07-20 23:11
"that we would all move to Dubai in September, but it never happened" The real reason they left here boisss looooooooooooooooooooooooooool
2018-07-20 23:45
2018-07-20 23:11
Slovakia ypsylonnn 
2018-07-20 23:11
2018-07-20 23:11
sergej | 
Other Tyload 
2018-07-20 23:12
Bulgaria Pixeland 
2018-07-20 23:12
walle | 
World zhandri 
confident enough to play against the big bois? :D
2018-07-20 23:12
gud luk
2018-07-20 23:12
jOELZ | 
Finland TiltedAF 
2018-07-20 23:12
oskarJ | 
Czech Republic kaeteam 
2018-07-20 23:12
Zainab "zAAz" Turkie Turk coincidence??? I aren't thinkz that
2018-07-20 23:12
She's not Turkish. She's lebannon origine. Probably grand grand grand father Turkish.
2018-07-21 08:23
Not Swedish atleast.
2018-07-21 10:08
Other Kim_Jong_un 
2018-07-20 23:12
Brazil 1stworlder 
female cs OMEGALUL
2018-07-20 23:12
ice | 
Iceland lulkektop 
2018-07-20 23:12
World Quaresmania 
2018-07-20 23:12
LUL female cs LUL
2018-07-20 23:13
Nice, maybe they will finally stop looking for praccs in open facebook groups
2018-07-20 23:14
2018-07-20 23:14
Dosia | 
Sweden ristig 
my beauty
2018-07-20 23:15
Hungary Plsdonthurtme 
They will be probably the best female team but its still nothing.
2018-07-20 23:16
World lalt 
Yeah.. and that team is going anywhere if they are taking half year breaks from practicing.
2018-07-21 00:09
North America Arixx 
why are you fan of poland?
2018-07-21 17:12
cuz Poland is an underrated country and friend of Hungary
2018-07-21 17:22
North America Arixx 
poland is shit
2018-07-21 21:39
Lithuania KoksSkirtumas 
still waiting for actually real talented woman player who can compare vs male
2018-07-20 23:16
its possible but unlikely to see next s1mple female player
2018-07-20 23:34
South Africa BrucieBoi 
this will never happen female brain is slower
2018-07-21 01:45
2018-07-20 23:17
Brazil bandicoot 
why dont they play with mixed teams? im sure its not against rules
2018-07-20 23:17
I mean she complains about having few tournaments and whatnot but that's the reality for the vast majority of counter-strike players, hey they even get organisations on the basis of being born women. More than most CS players, and a lot way better than them, can say. That said gl I suppose .
2018-07-20 23:34
women cs LUUUUUUL
2018-07-20 23:18
Denmark clutchkongen 
2018-07-20 23:18
Latvia Faaakk 
"I'm not in FPL because I'm a woman" btw
2018-07-20 23:19
Spain all_in 
"I'm not in FPL because I'm a woman" btw
2018-07-21 00:00
United States ZTB 
Benita is in FPL-Challenger iirc, so at least not all of them make excuses for FPL
2018-07-21 02:57
Bulgaria AboveYall 
Mimi is plyaing fplc all the time and was really close to qualify once
2018-07-21 07:25
+1 i remember watching her stream the last day and even i felt sad when they lost the last games
2018-07-21 19:16
petra <3<3<3<3
2018-07-20 23:20
Portugal FERGODw 
2018-07-20 23:22
Macedonia AstralisGoat 
How about a show match against Astralis, let's see if you can take a single round.
2018-07-20 23:25
Turkey AtheismFTW 
How about a show match against Astralis, let's see if you can take a single kill.*********
2018-07-20 23:39
Lithuania Xencei 
You don't need astralis. Cloud9 or even tyloo would win 16-0
2018-07-21 05:45
ropz | 
Poland zector 
juliano in 2018 xd edit: juliano in 201x xd
2018-07-20 23:29
Malaysia byaIi 
LeTs Go
2018-07-20 23:29
Portugal raaVz 
2018-07-20 23:30
g0d | 
Brazil L4x @.@ 
yeah because female cs is soooooooooo competitive
2018-07-20 23:32
f0rest | 
Yugoslavia Bodhii 
I dont expect great things from them on a higher scale ,sure they can compete among the females team and be the best which is still pretty good but comparing them to male level they are on the same level as The?mongolz(current lineup) which is not even top 200
2018-07-20 23:33
Germany S0rceress 
the mongolz would pack the golden horde and stomp them
2018-07-20 23:39
2018-07-21 00:43
2018-07-20 23:33
Besiktas LUL, Turkey LUL
2018-07-20 23:34
2018-07-21 09:08
Twistzz | 
United States TLO 
just give her a chance XDDDDDDDDD
2018-07-20 23:39
2018-07-20 23:40
Finland Alko^ 
2018-07-20 23:41
Poland soned 
who is zaaz ? nonamer
2018-07-20 23:42
Sweden godname 
2018-07-20 23:42
Brazil Eusouimortal 
2018-07-20 23:47
"You know?" "To be honest" yes
2018-07-20 23:50
Wow! Thanks HLTV for showing great enthusiasm about the female scene as well. Much appreciated.
2018-07-20 23:50
> zAAz opens up on topics concerning the issues with RES I read that as; zAAz opens up on topics concerning the issues with REZ I was like; wut! Edit; Maybe would be good of HLTV listed more games from the female scene.
2018-07-21 00:19
Xeno | 
Netherlands Xenoo 
Not sure if bait or retarded.
2018-07-21 00:32
its bait bro
2018-07-21 01:30
Germany S0rceress 
they should list my games ( 99dmg division4 ) aswell <333
2018-07-21 14:35
wow, thanks for the insight on this top 350 team
2018-07-21 00:24
Another interview where zAAz cry about female cs vs male cs when they dont have level to play tier34 cs male... aham Or when they leave a tournament She always complain about male cs, money, fpl and everything but he have tier 182381283 level
2018-07-21 00:31
Might want to try reading and understanding next time, not just reading and ranting. Her attitude towards Male/Female CS differences is actually really genuine. Hope they make it far in the tournament.
2018-07-21 00:51
Japan Nekobasu 
Sad to see these cocky and skill-wise mediocre girls get so much attention. It's all about PR for the orgs, these teams will never compete on the same level as the top male teams. One of the things where Thorin was 100% right with his comments.
2018-07-21 00:41
Next time you even dare go to a minor open qualifier try not to get raped by an unknown mix team of unknown amateur players
2018-07-21 00:46
>dont pracc for 6 months >and we all actually try choose one
2018-07-21 01:08
Seriously?! There’s no such thing as male cs. There’s CS, and then female cs. No tournament restricts a woman, only males are restricted (from female only tournaments). Female cs will never be popular. It’s T5 teams, where’s the fun in that? Wake up, get better and compete with the big teams (in tournaments that don’t exclude gender) if you want a female team to be popular.
2018-07-21 01:11
Poland morosek 
2018-07-21 01:35
kalle | 
Norway Fant0s 
2018-07-21 01:54
Poland morosek 
"FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A YEAR I FEEL PRETTY CONFIDENT" Because they're playing their first LAN (in new org) in 2018 LUL 'Obviously we need more tournaments" - play bettter and compete vs males???? So simple. "we need more people watching female CS" - no, you don't need that. This is a thing that you need to work hard to get. Male teams gives awesome matches with shitton of emotions = ez views. Meanwhile female cs is like watching a matchmaking, full of mistakes, "weird" (mostly wrong) decisions during rounds, feels like there's no communication between players... "but still, people need to give us a chance" - We were giving you a multiple chances since csgo started and you proved nothing. how long do we need to wait for a miracle? "We are also players"- no sh*t "we are also gamers" - I almost forgot about that one lol "and we all actually try" - good, now show to us results of that so MAYBE you'll get something that you wanted from cs community, "But it would be very nice to have more tournaments. It is boring to have only a few tournaments this year" - you DON'T NEED more tournaments, just try harder and get good enough to play in normal tournaments with males since all of these are for both genders? God, I really hate when people like her know only two words "NEED" and "WANT" when they can't anything back. Now it's time to relax and get a chill pill LOL
2018-07-21 01:31
kalle | 
Norway Fant0s 
female tournaments are so retatded, girls are just so bad at cs that they need their own tournaments which only they can compete in. And female cs "pros" talking about discrimination in esports when they are master guardians getting paid to play.
2018-07-21 01:51
who is kr4sylya she isnt even on hltv and shes on a pro team?
2018-07-21 02:04
kalle | 
Norway Fant0s 
Yes it is femake cs what do you expect hahaha
2018-07-21 02:15
most at least have ratings and stuff, or ass pics for juliano
2018-07-21 03:50
kalle | 
Norway Fant0s Best female team cant even beat a top 34506 team, and they still get a good salary lmao
2018-07-21 02:14
best job ever, play a game AND have no pressure...where dudes get dropped from org or kicked quick
2018-07-21 03:50
Germany godn 
2018-07-21 03:16
gl with your 2-3 girly shitty events the whole year LUL
2018-07-21 03:23
My screen cut out the "Confident" part.
2018-07-21 04:49
Australia t0rrent 
Female cs = faceit level 5
2018-07-21 06:22
stop giving these female sexists a platform. people should make up their minds. as i see it there are really two options: 1. there is a fundamental differences between males and females cognition wise which allows males to outperform females. if this is the case it makes perfect sense the lesser able individuals will get less attention from competitions. don't think feminists will be too happy about this one though. 2. females and males have equal ground when esports are concerned and gender doesn't affect one's ability in game. if that's the case then these female sexists are intentionally abusing their sex to play against a weaker competition to earn way more money than they deserve and get disproportionate exposure. you can blame patriarchy all you want but at the end of the day if 5 girls would form a team that would own everyone, play beautiful CS and climb to the top by participating and winning tournaments im quite confident true cs fans would embrace them. sure there would be some bigots out there who would hate them just because they are female just as there are bigots who hate MIBR just because of some degenerated brazilians on hltv, but talking about it hypothetically is pointless. why? because no fricking female team made it past irrelevance at this point. a lot of gamers didn't have it easy. south korean gamers often have their careers ended by having to be enlisted. some never make a comeback. some gamers come from poor backgrounds or have issues with their parents who aren't as supportive of their occupation. then there are visa issues, language barriers and a shitload of other stuff. stop asking for shit to be handed to you on a silver platter just because of your sex. stop asking for special treatment just because you have tits. you are the epitome of sexism.
2018-07-21 07:08
Bulgaria AboveYall 
What do you mean we need to give you a chance? U are living out of cs because of your gender.. most male teams get no salary or close to no salary at this level.. At least NA girls are trying to compete with males and try to get to mdl and play almost every big open qualifier... U have all the support in the world to achieve things, its up only to u..
2018-07-21 07:32
She needs a chance lmao
2018-07-21 07:57
eva longoria
2018-07-21 08:56
Brazil cadik 
>Turkie >feel confident under turk flag LMAO btw who careas about wimen cs
2018-07-21 10:20
Still no match for CLG Red
2018-07-21 10:25
Petra about to turn someone in to a frog. wave that wand girl.
2018-07-21 10:25
Poland Drakon10 
GL HF :)
2018-07-21 11:54
Nothing about giving them a chance lol. No one have ever said that they couldnt compete in tournaments such as majors and so. They just have to qual to it lol. besides that there is only the "male" pros on top teams or maybe lower teams that says no to prac against them cuz in their eyes they arent good enough to play against and i think that is fair cuz its their decision to play against them or to not play against them
2018-07-21 12:25
You're making money. Fair enough. But it's clear that's all you care about. So stop pretending there's any CS related legitimacy in what you do. Either play in the main pool, or keep quiet.
2018-07-21 12:49
female scene is under represented
2018-07-21 13:20
Turkey spaceSfanboi 
Cs is not a physical game. Female scene is not needed. Like if you are good enough to play among male players do it.
2018-07-21 15:19
Norway ZERKK 
zAAz: "For the first time in a year I feel pretty"
2018-07-21 15:57
I was sure that Kemal have to do with Besiktas cuz he also was the fonder of Dynasty Gaming, he self seems be a person with a lot of money. BTW: They using a 16 old girl, is that legit to travel to Turkey ?
2018-07-21 18:26
Turkey AlexDeSouza 
Sure, why not?
2018-07-21 18:54
Don't to be 18 for travel alone, parents ?
2018-07-21 18:56
Turkey AlexDeSouza 
Lol she has a esports team organisation and teammates, do u think she still needs her parents to travel with her..
2018-07-21 18:58
They need the permission from the parents
2018-07-21 18:59
Turkey AlexDeSouza 
Ahh should be but not have to travel with parents if u mentioned
2018-07-21 19:02
lmao they do not even play hahahaa
2018-07-21 18:40
You actually deleted my comment :DDD. What a bunch of pansies are running this site smh..
2018-07-21 19:00
During those six months, due to these circumstances we only managed to practice for two weeks. I hope that can change one day, but still, people need to give us a chance. We are also players, we are also gamers, and we all actually try. I'd say you dont actually try...
2018-07-21 19:32
age spares no one.
2018-07-22 08:37
Confident for what? There is no competition lol
2018-07-22 12:53
United States chikinnn 
2018-07-22 20:51
2 weeks pracc in 6 months... please don't tell me they are paid to play full time?
2018-07-23 14:48
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