I joined the Fortnite Middle East scene quite late, but from the day I started researching the server, its players and its teams, the name SAQR was always there… However, I was mind blown to find out that Team Saqr had only been around since January… I could have sworn it’s at least 4-5 years old… Not just because their members are always placing, but because of the management style, its literary the only team in ME with a PR person (Who makes my life so much easier lol) With that said, I had to get intouch. NK the founder was one of the few people that gave my website public support, whether on his tweets, his streams and I know even offline, he spoke highly of what we do. But I knew, he was not involved in the day to day… One person however is… A hilarious personality, that might sound a bit hard and aggressive at first, but after you talk to him, you understand how pure his heart is… We reached out to the one and only, Italian translator (lol if you watch his stream you would understand) SAQR AKM the CEO of Team Saqr. AKM has been in the gaming scene for a while now, a true gamer, going back to the days of PES and the early Call of duties. He studied in Washington and then switched to London where he finished his business bachelor in 2017. A true sports fanatic, who plays soccer and a seasoned bodybuilder. He loves to travel, and most importantly has dedicated his time and passion to gaming… This introduction is important, because you can truly understand a team, when you understand the person leading it, and he leads by example!
AKM started FTF back in 2017, a small e-sports team, mainly among friends, which he called back then his “gang” – He says it was not too serious, and he was really just understanding more the gaming and e-sports scene and testing whether there is future or a career in this. He did notice that the Arab community was going towards a more serious consideration of gaming, with sponsors and government support. This has sparked AKM to take this more seriously and start a professional team in 2019 which many in the ME know very well: AD3M – From his own funds, he invested in AD3M, he knew that he needed to invest and support his players by giving them rewards, as it was very important for the team to be considered a professional organization, and just like any organization in the world, its assets need to be rewarded and motivated to outperform. This meant he needed a sponsor, someone who can help take that team to the next level. He got intouch with current SAQR Team founder NK and started talking about Saqr Store sponsoring AD3M. It’s worth noting that guys like Wrath, MKN, KK (AKM’s brother) and Menace, are all good friends who played together in the past, very early on, so a team dynamic and relation had already been there… But one main event brought everything together and contributed to the creation of TEAM SAQR.
AD3M Becomes SAQR:
There was an event in Qatar Mall with a total prize pool of 18,000 QR – AD3M placed in 1st and 2nd place, these placements, made NK realize the potential in AKM, the potential in the ME server and his friendship with AKM’s brother KK facilitated them working together (they are like family) NK then reached out to AKM and told him that he is in talks with Saqr Store for an EXCLUSIVE sponsorship to AD3M, and when it became a reality, these boys decided to finally come together and rebrand under TEAM SAQR an international brand considering the word AD3M was more arabic oriented. Now with the support of a major sponsor, the leadership of AKM and NK, and the presence of friends like Wrath, MKN, KK, Menace , these boys headed towards building the strongest team in the ME and probably one day the world. The first meeting they had was at Saqr Store Offices, on a Thursday, and a plan was drawn out. Little did they know that only a month later, TEAM SAQR would be on the tongue of players like Benjy, Mongraal & Clix. (The biggest names in Fortnite today) Also worth noting, that players like MODISK, have been with AKM during the AD3M days, the reason we are mentioning this, is to really show that players believed in a vision, believed in the potential, and did not care about the money when they were only thinking about taking over the region and becoming the most successful. By nature, AKM told me how he and NK were very competitive, and when they wanted to accomplish something, they would look at other successful models out there, do the same, but make it better, and exceed it. To them, to be the best regionally, they had to understand how to be the best globally, and this is how they were inspired by Faze and the relationship of the founder with the players. But they did not want to become Faze, they wanted to become better than Faze.
SAQR & Money
I do hear a lot of chatter about SAQR being a very rich team, Saqr has so much money that’s why they are successful… So I had to tackle this issue with AKM, he did confess, that it’s true, SAQR is backed by a huge sponsor that takes care of all the expenses, unlike most teams. It is true that SAQR is a very generous team.. However, AKM did have a point when he said, you can put money in the hands of anyone but you can only expect the one who uses his brain and management skills to increase the value of that money… It’s easy to spend money, what is hard, is to spend money to make money, is to spend money and grow a business, is to spend money and increase in value and assets… And this is what he proved so far. He indicated one of the best decisions NK has made was to acquire Unity Scrims, and looking back at it, he is right… Spending money to acquire such an entity, put the Saqr team at the forefront of event hosting and game organization… It’s a very strategic M&A approach to business which outside the gaming world, is one of the best strategies… (i.e Facebook acquiring Instagram & Whatsapp) So yes the vision of Team Saqr is to become the leading E-sports organization in the world, generating massive revenues and securing multi-million dollar sponsorships, just like 100T, Faze and so many more… AKM mentioned that while Esports might still be a hobby to some organizations who are looking to break even, for them it’s a long term community and business effort, that will eventually need to be profitable.
AKM the CEO!
After going back and forth about Team Saqr and the history, I had to dig a bit deeper into AKM and see what he does that make this team smoothly operates. AKM spends most of his day on the Team Discord, by talking to players, motivating them to create content, giving advice, and learning from his team-mates. He is assisted by a close friend and someone who has been with him from the very start Durango who also helps in the day-to-day operations and logistics. AKM also finds players and recommends them to the board, while the board also is active in recruitments and signings. He is not in charge of scouting, however is vocal in giving his opinion.
Team Saqr & The Players:
One of the things I was very curious to know, was given most players are at the age of 20 and below, this might spark problems with immaturity and in-experience, so I asked AKM whether he had problems dealing with some younger players in his team… His answer was very direct: NO… he explained that before recruiting a player, the team does their research not just into how good they are at the game, but they look into their sportsmanship, ethics, politeness, and overall attitude… Because if attitude was not a problem for SAQR, they would have easily recruited the entire top 20 players in the ME server. They made sure that whoever represented their brand, was responsible enough to be an inspiration to others, no matter how young they were.
The Future of Team Saqr:
The future of the team is bright, brighter than Fortnite to be honest, as every person I spoke to, expects Fortnite to die out any minute now (For the sake of my domain name, I hope it does not lol) but the team is ready for that… In addition to branching out the team to either EU or NA EAST, the team is looking into other games (already signed players from different games) and into content creators. Because they know if their members have an audience and constant, consistent content (the 3Cs!) that audience would follow them no matter what game they played. So in conclusion, Team Saqr has done quite a lot in the ME server, and has plans to do much more, we are very excited to stay close and monitor their growth as they truly deserve nothing but the best. Our next Team showcase will be posted in 3 days featuring WASP Esports and an interview with AA & Denver.
- July 8, 2020