Despite the unpredictability of the 2011/12 club season - which was rife with surprise results, remarkable recoveries and dramatic finishes - Club member hanisyrian managed to keep a cool head and predict his way to victory in FIFA Match Predictor. Season 5 of the popular football prediction game - available to all Club members - was contested by some 112,000 players. hanisyrian dominated the majority of the season and his impressive win has earned him a trip for two to the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil. FIFA.com spoke to the 24-year old from Syria after he received the news.
FIFA.com: Was this your first season of playing predictor?
hanisyrian: This is my second season. Last season my final ranking was 250 overall. This season was excellent. I've been trying to get the top spot since last season!
You scored points on every single round. Even our most active predictors sometimes fail to score points or forget to make weekly predictions, how did you manage to do this?
I had passion for the competition because it is not only a game; I have good friends and there are lots of good prizes.
Do any specific moments stick out for you this season?
In Round 23 there was Internet failure in my city and I had to travel to another city just to predict in Round 23 and 24! I took the lead from Round 23 onwards and now I get to go to Brazil!
You averaged 255 points per week for the entire season! What was your weekly routine?
The joker is the secret. I won more than once by using the joker. As for a routine, it comes down to the analysis of each game. This game makes you follow most of the football competitions in the world. This season saw a lot of surprises from teams that you never expected to win. It was a strange and long season.
How much is luck, how much is research?
I would say 25 per cent luck, 25 per cent research and 50 per cent intuition, which was important for me.
Are you excited for your trip to Brazil?
I'm so excited. Brazil is the country of football and I'm happy that I'll be going there.
You moved into first place in Round 23, and stayed there until the end. How did you manage the pressure?
Honestly, the pressure was enormous. In each round my lead was getting bigger or lower. At one stage I was 450 points ahead, but then I also fell to only 150 points ahead. This put a lot of pressure on me. However, I had a feeling that I would win and my friends in The Club were supporting me. I tried to concentrate on the next round and forget about the points that I had lost. The pressure was immense, especially in the final four rounds.
Runner up kenjhon - who finished just 161 points behind you – chased you for most of the season. Were you nervous about him catching you?
The last round was the toughest round and I thought that I could lose the season right at the end. kenjhon wasn't always the runner-up and I took advantage of the change in the second position. kenjhon could have won had he predicted well or taken some risks in his predictions.
When did you think: 'I have won this?'
I will never forget this day. In Round 39 [The Final Round], I suddenly lost internet access and couldn't log on. I called me girlfriend who helped me in all the rounds and asked her to predict for me before the deadline. She called me and discussed all the details of Round 39. I felt this huge big pressure and fear! Then on Sunday, before the end of the last round and before the last three matches, I knew that I had won. I told her I won and I also told my mom and family that I won a trip to Brazil. It was a great day.
For anyone hoping to do well in FIFA Predictor, what is your best piece of advice?
Predict every week, analyze the games and be patient. Anyone can win in the predictor game and the most important thing is to follow your instinct and keep predicting.