NIP esports news
by Tebearau Egbe in
eSports Betting News

European esports outfit Ninjas in Pyjamas recently extended the contract of their Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player Erik “ztr” Gustafsson for a period of three years.

The 19-year-old Swedish rifler and in-game leader has been with the European team’s academy roster, Young Ninjas, since December 2021. Although the player is currently on Young Ninjas’ inactive roster, he was sent on loan to the Swedish team GODSENT on January 13, 2023.

NiP stated that they are satisfied with loaning the player outside the academy roster, as they feel it will be an avenue to sharpen his skills and make him a better player.

“Ever since ztr joined us, he’s been developing himself in all aspects on and off the server, with a couple of A team appearances even winning a trophy,” Ninjas in Pyjamas COO Jonas “⁠calc⁠” Gundersen said.

“Extending the contract another 3 years and loaning him out to get even more experience is a great benefit for him and us.”

This will not be the first time the player will be playing for a professional roster; in 2021, he served as a stand-in on the Ninjas in Pyjamas pro roster.

Ztr started his CS:GO career in 2018, and since then he has represented teams like Represent Gaming, Prima eSports, KPI Gaming, Valorix Esports, and Backbenimboy before he got locked up with Young Ninjas.

The in-game leader has had some success with Young Ninjas, winning the 2022 Global Esports Tour Dubai and the WePlay Academy League Season 6. He has also reached the finals of the 2021 WePlay Academy League Season 1, Flashpoint Season 3, and the 2022 Svenka Elitserien Fall.

With ztr’s temporary absence from the NiP setup, he will be replaced by one of Young Ninjas’ riflers, Linus “LNZ” Holtäng. LNZ is a 20-year-old Swedish player who began playing for Young Ninjas in February 2021. Like ztr, he has also played as a stand-in on the Ninjas in Pyjamas pro roster.

According to Gundersen, just like ztr, LNZ has been a worthy addition to NiP’s academy roster and has improved over time.

“At the same we get LNZ back, another player who’s developed a lot here also winning a trophy with us, so we are definitely ready for the new season. Our YN project has been based around developing players for bigger things, and this really shows we are on the right track,” he said.

LNZ has played top tournaments while representing Ninjas in Pyjamas as a stand-in. Some of these tournaments include the 2021 BLAST Premier Spring Finals, the 2021 Intel Extreme Masters XVI Cologne, Season 14 of the ESL Pro League, the 2021 PGL Major Stockholm, and the 2021 Intel Extreme Masters XVI Fall: Europe, which the team won.

Young Ninjas’ CS:GO roster now consists of Adam “adamb” Ångström, AWper player Sean “eraa” Knutsson, Linus “nilo” Bergman, Max “maxster” Jansson, LNZ, and their coach, Ahmed “abdi” Abdi.

On January 17, the Young Ninjas roster is scheduled to compete against Astralis Talent in the 2023 Elisa Invitational Winter: Contenders Stage. Ninjas are $1.74 favorites to win that clash, with the Astralis roster pegged as +102 with BetOnline.

The Ninjas in Pyjamas pro roster is scheduled to play next on January 21 against Natus Vincere in the 2023 BLAST Premier Spring Groups. NiP are +162 outsiders in that matchup, with Natus Vincere the favorite at -208.33.

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