Kadyrov's journey from football pro to Free Fire esports pro

Khalid "Kadyrov" Vokuev (Photo: Garena)

Khalid "Kadyrov" Vokuev isn't your typical esports pro. After all, how many esports pros can claim they used to be a professional footballer?

The 19-year-old Singularity.Invincible stand-in has been playing Garena's Free Fire battle royale for the last three years, with two of them as a pro. He's also currently studying at the Grozny Pedagogical College, located in the Chechen Republic, Russia.

When not being a stand-in, Kadyrov plays for Sbornaya ChR, alongside Magomed "Dzarmaro" Gutsiev. Funnily enough, Dzarmaro is standing in for the other Russian squad Silence, and both players will face each other on the Free Fire battlefield in Singapore this weekend.

Despite his relatively short career, Kadyrov has already gotten second place at the Free Fire World Series 2019, and was a champion at the Free Fire Continental Series 2020: EMA.

It was then he knew he wanted to make a career switch from a football athlete. He had been playing in the youth squad of FC Akhmat Grozny, a team in the Russian Premier League.

"Those wins made me change my priorities in life and move towards Free Fire. These achievements showed me how playing Free Fire competitively could open up so many opportunities, provide new experiences and make a living in esports," said Kadyrov.

That said, he hasn't given up on football, as he still plays it regularly and trains, while also having an interest in Mixed Martial Arts.

"I have found that there are a lot of overlaps between being a sports and esports athlete. The discipline, focus and endurance required to be successful in esports is similar to playing sports. As esports players, our physical health is equally important as our mental agility, which soccer (football) helps to hone."

In-game, like his real-life ball-lobbing skills, Kadyrov loves using the grenade launcher. This weapon, he said, does the greatest damage in game and can wipe out an opposing team if used correctly.

Kadyrov also added that he's recognised as one of the best in using the grenade launcher in Free Fire, and has used it many times to destroy his opponents.

Despite his skills, he admitted that he still gets nervous during matches, and has to work at keeping calm.

He also wanted aspiring pros to believe in themselves and that things would work out.

Train as much as possible and give your best, he added.

Catch Kadyrov lob grenades from his almighty grenade launcher at his enemies this weekend at the Free Fire World Series 2021.

Aloysius Low is an ex-CNET editor with more than 15 years of experience. He's really into cats and is currently reviewing products at

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