Sentinels Valorant star ShahZaM on handling criticism: “I messed up”

Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games

Sentinels Valorant captain Shahzeb ‘ShahZaM’ Khan has admitted that he struggled to handle criticism during this season.

The 2022 VCT season was rough for Sentinels’ Valorant team.

Not only did Sentinels not reach the same impressive levels as in 2021, when they were a regular presence at international events and won the first VCT Masters LAN tournament in Iceland, but they also struggled to find stability despite making roster changes and staff hirings.

sentinels shahzam tenzWojciech Wandzel / Riot Games
ShahZaM and TenZ’s future with Sentinels remains a mystery

As VCT 2023 nears, Sentinels’ roster remains a mystery. The contracts of ShahZaM and Tyson ‘TenZ’ Ngo will expire at the end of this year, and there has been no indication that either player will sign a new deal.

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ShahZaM often stood up to criticism and came to his teammates’ defense during some of Sentinels’ toughest times this year.

As he reflected on the team’s struggles in 2022, ShahZaM issued a mea culpa on Twitter, admitting that he “messed up responding to all the criticism” that he had to face for the disappointing results.

“The way I handled it made it seem like I couldn’t take accountability for our failures,” he wrote. “With all the negativity it became impossible to ignore; instead of owning up to it, I fed into it.

“I know I’ve not been myself the past few months on my streams. I’ve let down and turned people away. Moving forward, I’m going to focus on the people that support me and on keeping a positive space for Valorant fans. I’m getting better at handling the noise, I appreciate your support.”

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ShahZaM’s comments could indicate that he wants to continue to compete, something that has not always been clear. Last year, he said that “if I stop competing, it’s because I want to pursue streaming more,” ruling out a transition to a coaching role.

Sentinels announced on October 3 two additions to their staff for VCT 2023. Don ‘SyykoNT’ Muir, who guided XSET to appearances at VCT Stage 2 Masters Copenhagen and Valorant Champions, was hired as the team’s new head coach, while Adam ‘kaplan’ Kaplan, formerly of Ghost Gaming, was brought in as the team’s new strategic coach.