The loss of Jere “sergej” Salo to military service could be very bad news for Finnish esports org ENCE’s prospects “for the rest of their sorry existence,” according to Richard Lewis.
ENCE started out as a genuine underdog story from Finland, a region that has definitely contributed its fair share of great players to professional Counter-Strike over the years.
When Sergej joined the team at 16 he was already one of the standout players on the roster, and helped ENCE compete as one of the top teams in the world. But, the cutting of Aleksi ‘Aleksib’ Virolainen in early 2020 sent the team into a “death spiral,” according to Lewis.
“He [sergej] looks to have gone into a terminal slump, I mean he’s barely scraping a one rating on HLTV.” Lewis said. “He clearly wants out, and then you hear the news that he’s being benched with immediate effect because he wants to go do his national service in Finland and get it out of the way now.”
Finland requires 3-6 months of compulsory military service for eligible males, however, it is possible to defer or put it off if you play esports, which is what many Finnish pros do, choosing to wait to do it until later.
For sergej to want to go and complete his service at 18, after being one of the best young players in the world “tells you all you need to know about what is going on in ENCE right now,” according to Lewis.