Neslyn A. March 11, 2020
Team Aster is preparing for possible worst-case scenario as the Chinese team is now actively looking for substitute players. This comes after Aster revealed that it would likely be unable to obtain visas for each of its players prior to the upcoming ESL One Los Angeles Major.
The team confirmed that it has contacted two-time TI champion Anathan "ana" Pham to replace one of its core players. Ana told Team Aster that he could’t substitute for the team as he has other plans already made for the tournament's dates.
Earlier this year, OG announced that ana would take a break from the competitive scene. This hiatus was indefinite, but some fans still expect him to return to OG’s active roster at The International 2020 to claim a third Aegis of Champions.
Team Aster also reached out to Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi, but his current team Nigma won’t let him step in for the Chinese squad.
After winning the title at StarLadder ImbaTV Minor, Team Aster faced its next obstacle going to ESL One Los Angeles 2020. Even with the possibility of denied visas, the team played exceptionally well to earn the spot in the major event. The team went head to head with Alliance and claimed a Minor title.
Team Aster knows that there will be extra precautionary measures in its visa application. The application process has been very stringent for Chinese teams due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Team Aster was prepared for the process, but the situation has been worse than expected. Several factors are going against the team's favor. Team Aster CEO Guo "Zhili" Zhili took to Weibo and explained the team’s dire situation.
The American embassy in China has paused all visa applications amid the coronavirus outbreak. Team Aster’s backup plan was to get the visas in Kyiv, Ukraine. Team Aster and ESL have had consistent communication to ensure that the players get their visas.
Team Aster explained its visa situation to fans
Zhili told fans that its manager Yang "tou" Lin, substitute coach Zhang "LaNm" Zhicheng, offlaner Lin "Xxs" Jing and support player Ye "Boboka" Zhibiao have acquired US visas while Pan "Fade" Yi, Kee Chyuan "ChYuan" Ng, and Song "Sccc" Chun are applying for visa in Ukraine.
Unfortunately, unforeseen events translated to the team almost assuredly being left unable to attend in full. The players are required to be under observation for 14 days after leaving China. ESL issued an urgent application to revoked this requirement.
The next problem was the interview schedule. The visa application interview was postponed due to the International Women’s Day holiday. The team also encountered payment issues as Ukraine only accepts draft from designated banks.
Team Aster will give more updates about the situation and announce substitute players before ESL One Los Angeles officially starts.