Swedish version

First interview with Natu after joining NiP: ”Obviously a great honor”

av Björn Ehrnberg
Joona "Natu" Leppänen blir ny coach för NiP

Joona ”natu” Leppänen have been signed by Ninjas in Pyjamas to spearhead the team as their new coach.
Now the former 3DMAX pro will take charge of some of the best known names in the CS history.
– Let’s say they are a little ”old-fashioned” in certain respects of how the game plays nowadays. It’s an understandable hinderance since they’ve played for so long together as a team so it’s easy to not pick up on little details, natu tells Aftonbladet Esport regarding how he will influence the team.

On monday the story broke. Ninjas in Pyjamas will part ways with former coach, Faruk ”pita” Pita, and move forward with Joona ”natu” Leppänen as the man behind the five screens. As in all sports, the coach can obviously have a huge influence on the outcome of a game or tournament. During ESL One in Katowice, Fnatic praised the effort put forth by Jonatan ”Devilwalk” Lundberg and Viktor ”vuggo” Jendeby in terms of making the team ready for all encounters during the tournament.

Now Ninjas in Pyjamas hope they have found their version of that great synergy between players and coach. In an interview with Aftonbladet Esport, team manager Emil ”HeatoN” Christensen said that he hopes that natu will be able to redirect the players if nothing is working as planed. And according to the man in the spotlight himself – there’s a bunch of stuff to work on in the Ninjas in Pyjamas camp.
– I’m very determined in improving many aspects of the team. I have a clear vision on things that I will be doing and how I want to approach them, Joona ”natu” Leppänen tells Aftonbladet Esport.

”I have a clear vision”

Natu says that he is obviously greatly honored for the chance to be a part of a team of this caliber. According to the former 3DMAX professional, they are some of the worlds best players in their respective role, but regardless of the fame NiP have acquired through the years he doesn’t feel any external pressure.

What can you contribute to the team both in the short term as well as the long run?
–   Short term it’s hard to do anything revolutionizing in terms of how the team plays, but it’s more about understanding limitations and errors in all areas. Making solid game plans approaching to every game is going to be a key area and also being a psychological asset to the whole unit and all the individuals, natu says and continues:
– In long term I have a clear vision on areas I want to influence on and I will be spending a ton of time with them on and off the servers. I don’t want to spill all the beans obviously.

You say that you have a clear vision on things and how you want to approach them, can you expand on that? What kind of visions do you have for the team?
– Let’s say they are a little ”old-fashioned” in certain respects of how the game plays nowadays. It’s an understandable hinderance since they’ve played for so long together as a team so it’s easy to not pick up on little details.
– I’m going to put my effort into making sure they are always on top of what they should do in certain situations. Executions is obviously up to them, but my job is to help them have the tools.

You said in your ”farewell video” that you had something already in the pipe. I presume this was what you were thinking about. What I’d love to know is wether NiP approached you before you made your decision public? And if so, did that speed up the decision in any way shape or form?
– Obviously this did not happen over a few nights, but it was an ongoing discussion for some time. I had already been considering retirement from playing for a little while, which I had told my teammates as well. Certain circumstances in my life were in a point where I had to make decisions in terms of what I want to do professionally in my life going further.
–I felt like being in eSports was my priority number one – and with NiP being interested in having me as a coach – it felt like an interesting challenge to me. You could say ”it speeded things up”, but it was more like the timing of things just fell in place with 3DMAX shutting down among other things.

”As much as I like going to Sweden…”

The job as coach of Ninjas in Pyjamas will be a full time commitment, according to natu. When asked if that stops him from contributing to broadcast as a color caster in tournaments NiP will no be participating in, natu provides some reassuring words to those in the community who long to see more of the Finnish guy infront of the camera or behind the commentators desk.
– I’m committing to this as any other full time job. It is what most of my days will be filled with. However I will still also be doing the occasional casting/analyzing gig as long as my calendar can handle it. In fact it’s a good thing to do every so often, as it gives you perspective and it’s a good way of brainstorming on the game and get ideas on how we can also improve our game.

Will you be moving to Sweden?
– As much as I like going to Sweden, I have a family and own a house here in Finland with a kid that goes to school – so that’s not a realistic option. I don’t think it’s necessary either as most of the things we do happens on the internet anyway. I will be traveling with the team to events and bootcamps and such, so I’m sure I’ll get a good dosage of Sverige through my time in NiP.



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