Following the recent announcement that Ninjas in Pyjamas would replace Jonas "Lekr0" Olofsson with Hampus “hampus” Poser, former coach Faruk "pita" Pita had a couple things to say about the decision on Twitter. In his tweets, he expressed that the decision made him upset and was a result of mismanagement extending as far back as 2017. Pita expressed an interest in sharing his story and agreed to sit down with DBLTAP's Jarek "DeKay" Lewis to answer questions about his second tenure with the organization as head coach.
Below is Part 2 of the interview. You can read Part 1 here.
Jarek "DeKay" Lewis: As everyone knows, Dennis came back after a couple of events without him only to get benched for Plopski in June. What led up to making that move?
Faruk "pita" Pita: Dennis messaged me after SLTV in Shanghai. That was a much shorter time than I expected for him to recover. No one knew how long of a break he needed, but when he messaged me and said he was ready again I had to let draken go.
There was also frustration building up towards draken during the two events he attended. You could argue that he was baiting or whatever. One situation that got in everyone’s head was when we played against Liquid on overpass. It was the last round of the half and he saved his AWP. Not trying to win the round. And liquid just let him save. That felt a bit weird. It was like he didn’t want to get worse statistics.
Dennis got removed after ECS together with GeT_RiGhT. Right after our loss I went away and talked to the other players about it, to get their insight. And right after that all of us agreed on the changes I talked to both players. I believe dennis felt he was going to be removed because I was slow on answering him, something I wasn't before. So that situation got kinda messy.
I had a dilemma. Either tell him straight away and inform the players after, or inform the players first and then talk to the players. From my previous experience of the removal of Xizt, I thought it was important for me that the other players had a say in how our team should look like.
I informed GeT_RiGhT and he took it very professionally. He said that he understood the decision and in fact expected to be removed much sooner than that. He said that if anything happens in the team or you need a last minute sub, I'm there for you. And thats a main reason why he was still on the team afterwards, because his "dream" was to step down from NiP with a major. And I think he deserved that after all he has done, not for me but for the brand. So we decided to let him play the major.
JL: I want to get to the GeT_RiGhT stuff but before I do, how was the management at this time? Heaton was out of the picture more or less at this point. Was it the CEO making most of the decisions?
FP: Heaton was out of the picture soon after we got dennis. The CEO was basically the only one I had direct contact with apart from our COO, who wasn't that involved in our team. The CEO took a step back, which I respect, and let us try to build the team. But we had to many issues and the biggest one was not having a proper IGL, something I blame him and the management for.
Now it's also possible to argue that it was all my fault and maybe we could've gone for a IGL but the problem was we had very limited options in terms of that position. So ever since the beginning of 2018 and going forward all we did was trying to heal the wounds from not having a proper IGL.
JL: Back to GeT_RiGhT. When you left the team you said you weren’t proud of how he was removed. What happened there? Why did the organization announce it as a retirement?
FP: The GeT_RiGhT situation was the thing I was least proud of. I can openly say that I fucked up. I handled it very poorly. When he was removed he said he was fine with it and that he would help as long as we needed him. Going in to the Berlin Major we couldn't use Plopski since he had participated in the minor with another team. So it was obvious to let GeT_RiGhT play it.
Right after the major we had BLAST Moscow. For that event we had to fix VISAs. I prolonged the VISA application with BLAST just to see if GeT_RiGhT would go with us or not. Now my wish was that GeT_RiGhT would perform better with the team and that we didn't need to remove him. And the limited time between the major and BLAST left us without options of getting a proper replacement. Here comes the problem: I didn't talk to GeT_RiGhT about this at all. So basically in his mind he had the major as last tournament, but then gets asked to go with us to BLAST. And after BLAST gets flown down to Budapest for V4. And during this time we didn't speak about his future. So he didn't know and had bad feelings that affected his health.
And thats where I feel ashamed of and I handled that really poorly. I should've told him my thoughts, which were that I hoped he would start performing after knowing theres no pressure of him having to perform. I kept that quietly not trying to "interfere" with his mind and pressure. But the problem eventually led to that point where he was really upset, and thats not something you see him being often. So thats where I did wrong.
Regarding the statement of the organization I don't know why they said GeT_RiGhT would retire. I don't know if they wanted to maximize views or whatever, but GeT_RiGhT never told me or anyone in the organization that he was retiring
JL: Tell me about how the Golden stand-in period happened. What led up to it?
FP: Going in to the Berlin major we had to get one more stand in. A lot of players were locked. Combined that with all the drama that happened in NiP that summer. I never said that to the team but my only goal was to win at least one game to be able to play next major. Obviously I knew that everything that happened affected us as a team. No one wanted to represent NiP at that time. It was like we felt ashamed of representing that brand. But we had contracts and we knew we couldn’t do anything about it. With all this in consideration, our last minute stand ins were limited.
After the summer drama it was important to me that everyone in the team would decide who to bring in. I had to do everything in order for us to feel as a unit going in to the major. We spoke to friberg, k0nfig and Golden. We eventually chose to go with golden. Mostly because we wanted to try him out to see how he was with the team for a long term perspective. After the major I wanted to bring in Golden instead of get right, but now the majority of the team thought it was better to bring in an AWPer so f0rest could focus on his original role.
Looking back at it today I don’t know if I could’ve done anything different. And I don’t think it was the right time either after all drama to say “No I don’t care what you think, I will decide.” We obviously needed both an AWPer and an IGL. But we had to good players to let anyone go (in comparison of who we could get). So that’s why we didn’t bring in Golden and that’s why we brought in twist, and kept having lekro as an IGL. Soon afterwards I “lost” Golden to fnatic. And the possibility of bringing in an IGL got lost. So we just had to give 100% with the lineup we had.
JL: How did that final period go once twist replaced GeT_RiGhT? How do you feel about them replacing you now that you look back?
FP: After the major we kept on trying to fix the issues, and went to not stick with the idea of not having a dedicated awper to have one. f0rest had played alot of awp and he had no problems with it but i think he felt more comfortable of being more of a hybrid kind of guy. And twist was avaiable after his stunt with fnatic, so we asked him right after V4.
After that period it somehow felt that we started to play better, we had similar results to as we had in the beginning of 2018. Only this time the team spirit was much better. I think twist and Plopski played a big part in that. I knew we would eventually break through with that lineup, but after DH Masters f0rest came to me and said that he wanted to continue to play with getright, he was always against the decision to remove him. I tried to keep him in the team but he had already decided to go there. I asked him to not tell the other players about it since I didnt want them to feel the same feeling we had for a long time. Removing, adding, removing, adding, standin, not standin bla bla bla. So we kept that as a secret for the sake of the team.
I believe it was the 2nd day at BLAST in Bahrain we sat down all together and he said the plans for his future to his teammates. Obviously the team was not happy with it but they respected his decision and supported it and wished him the best. There was no hard feelings at all.
At this time I started to talk with the CEO and our newly appointed COO. No one in the team knew he was going to join us, he just came to BLAST in Copenhagen a month earlier and said hi, im your new COO. Without any information we were like ok? hi?..
However, we started to discuss different options together with Threat. And I said that weve had alot of problems with the structure ever since we lost Xizt. Losing get right meant we lost a lurker, so my suggestion was to go with a lurker. Everyone agreed. A couple of days later i messaged the CEO and wanted to have a meeting so we could plan for the new year. I believed we could get a fresh start even without f0rest.
I messaged him, and the communication was very off. I realized it was something off with him, but he kept on saying he was busy etc. So I kept on trying but nothing happened. After that I messaged the COO and said I wanted to present my ideas for 2020 and see what he thought. I had written down some ideas the same day in my notebook. So when he answered I started to talk about the future and he interrupted me and said, listen, we have decided to remove you as coach going further. That came as a blow. Mainly because I was kept in the loop after BLAST in the middle of december to early january.
So basically during those two weeks I just thought about how to go further, talking, discussing, planning etc. And then ending up telling me I was removed. I think they could've told me much earlier, since Ive heard from people at NiP that ever since they brought in Threat the plan was to have him replace me. But thats just rumours so I cant say its true.
I respect the decision they took. I was not happy with it but I had to respect it. The players did not know anything about that decision, nor had anything to say. Similar to the situation with Lekro. Im not sure why I got so upset with the Lekro situation. But I guess my frustration leans toward him being treated the same way I was. And knowing Lekro that did get to me.
He is that kind of guy when you play a pug, he will say Ill take whatever position. Or the guy that decided to set his own performance a side to become an in game leader for the sake of his team and teammates. I think that says alot of what kind of person he is. He is very unselfish, and that would in the end cost him the spot in the team i believe.