allu takes leave of absence for personal matters
The veteran AWPer's return date is up in the air.
Aleksi "allu" Jalli is taking a leave of absence from ENCE due to personal reasons, effective immediately, the Finnish organisation announced on Tuesday. The 28-year-old revealed that the "hectic years with minimal breaks" had led him to be "extremely drained and fatigued, inside and outside the server".
Polish AWPer Olek "hades" Miskiewicz, who recently stepped down from Wisla Krakow, will be standing in for ENCE in their upcoming matches, starting in Tuesday's LOOT.BET Season 9 quarter-final clash with SKADE.
"Together with Head Coach Eetu "sAw" Saha, General Manager Niklas "Willkey" Ojalainen and the rest of the team, we have taken the step to accommodate this, and allu will be sidelined from action for the time being," ENCE said in a statement.
"Wellbeing and the ability to operate in full form is a top priority for us, and we hope to see a fully-refreshed allu on the servers."
allu, who described this as "one of the hardest decisions of my career", said that a break "is needed to be able to continue playing and competing in the game I love", and stressed that he wants to be back "sooner, rather than later."
The 28-year-old's absence represents a major blow for ENCE, who have struggled for form since their playoff appearance in ESL Pro League Season 13, a month ago. The international team went out of the Flashpoint 3 Closed Qualifier in 13th-16th place following defeats to Anonymo and DBL PONEY, and could not reach the second stage of the IEM Summer Closed Qualifier after a 0-2 loss to Movistar Riders.
allu, one of the most experienced players in the Finnish scene, has been on ENCE's books since March 2018, playing a key role in the team's second-place finish at the IEM Katowice 2019 Major and in the victory at BLAST Pro Series Madrid, later that year.
He and Joonas "doto" Forss were the only two players who transitioned to ENCE's international squad in January 2021 following the management's decision to shut down the Finnish squad, which had been plagued by personal issues for a while.
allu received much criticism, including from former teammates, for his role in that team's downfall. According to ENCE's General Manager, allu was kept on the roster not only because of his immense experience and talent, but also because sports psychologists gave him the green light after he showed a willingness to improve as a person.
ENCE are one of the eight teams invited to the Elisa Invitational Summer, a $100,000 tournament that will be held between June 3 and July 3. The Finnish team are also slated to take part in ESL Pro League Season 14, which will kick off on August 16.
ENCE's roster currently looks as follows:
Eetu "sAw" Saha (coach)
Aleksi "allu" Jalli (inactive)