This interview was originally published on the official WASPA website on December 24, 2014.
Benji is one of the youngest club organizers in the world but has contributed greatly to the renewal of table football in Australia. Melbourne TFC is one of the leading clubs in the country and they will even hold the first Asian Cup in January (under the FISTF banner).
When did you first start to play Subbuteo and what was the first team you got bought?
I started in January 2013, I began by purchasing the new boxset and then decided to get an Australian Team and a hand painted team of Melbourne Heart FC.
How many years have you been playing and what are the main titles you have achieved in any level?
I have been playing for the last two years and I have been fortunate enough to win two WASPA titles this year.
What is the best thing about this game and why would you recommend it to someone?
The best thing about subbuteo is the fact that it is played all over the world and through the game you are able to meet many new people and gain a new understanding of places and cultures whilst connecting over the game and football in general.
Your most memorable moments from this game happy or even sad?
My most memorable moment has to have been scoring a long range goal to equalize against Zach Walker in the USA. Also up in the ranks are hosting international visitors to Melbourne (John Ho from Singapore and Christian Haas from Austria).
Who was your strongest opponent and who is your favorite player and why?
Internationally, I have to say Zach Walker and Christian Haas but here in Australia the best players I have played against are Peter Thomas and Carl Young who I am fortunate enough to play on a regular basis.
Is it a sport or a game ? What is your opinion about this question that many people ask?
Does it really matter? Either way, there is room to treat it socially or to take it more seriously and there is a place for both.
What improvements would you like to see in the future and what would you suggest to improve things?
I would like to see greater uniformity with equipment such as goals and pitches around the world so that there is better consistency across each country.
What would you recommend to someone who starts the game now? What are the secrets for top performance?
Play as often as you can. Get down to local events and learn tips from other players. The best way to improve is to play matches.
What are your feelings about how FISTF and WASPA are working and doing something for the game nowadays?
I think there is definitely a place for both. The big benefit for WASPA is that players can play all over the world, on any day, at any time and compete for rankings points. On the other hand FISTF provides clubs and associations with opportunities to conduct well organized and respected events.
What would the WASPA rankings? Do they mean something for you?
For Melbourne and Australia, they mean a fair bit as we have not had too many FISTF events yet and so they provide a good way to compare players and track progress.
Name: Benji Batten
Club: Melbourne Table Football Club
Type of figures/bases used: Bodo Bases
Hobbies: Soccer (coaching, refereeing, playing), Badminton, Journalism, Film Making