Sport Interview South Africa

#AfricaMonth: Local esports team makes debut at Fifae Team of the Season Cup

From 29 April - 1 May, the official Fifae Team of the Season (Tots) Cup took place in London. Julio 'Beast' Bianchi and Kaylan Moodley represented South Africa at the tournament as the first African team to ever take part.
Image supplied: Julio 'Beast' Bianchi
Image supplied: Julio 'Beast' Bianchi

The Tots Cup is an official EA tournament where the top 32 teams from all over the world competed for a share of the $500,000 prize pool.

As this is a significant step for African esports, we spoke with Bianchi, team captain of the Goliath Gaming Fifa team, to hear more about the tournament and what he thinks this could mean for the future of esports in South Africa…

Congratulations on securing your spot in the Tots Cup! What was your initial reaction?

I felt honoured to be part of such a prestigious event. The first of its kind. It’s always unique and special and money can’t buy these moments. It’s an opportunity to shock the world.

Could you tell us more about what it took to get here?

We played the Johannesburg Open in December and we had to win it as only one spot (for SA) was given to compete in the Fifae Tots Cup.

How did the tournament go?

Obviously, our main goal is always to win. We finished in the top 20 (worldwide) this time round in the Tots Cup, which is still a great achievement as the competition was so tense and tight with 32 of the best Fifa teams from around the world.

This speaks volumes about the fact that SA has players that are capable of beating world champs on the world stage. This being our first event together as a duo (with Kaylan), I’m excited about the future.

You are the first African gamers to take part in this tournament, why do you think this is an important step?

From a Fifa perspective, I feel as though the gap between us and the rest of the world is not as big as many people think. We have the ability to win major competitions and I think one day we will have those top titles.

As African gamers, what do you think the industry needs so more gamers can have these kinds of opportunities?

It’s special because like I always say it’s a moment in time that can never be erased. It’s great to be part of the history of something, but by us doing this, it gives others the belief and hopefully the desire to also want to be here one day.

Hopefully, it gives others, in our beautiful country, the opportunity to chase even greater heights in this tournament and many others.

What place does gaming have in Africa - why is it an important investment, in your opinion?

Financially and physically, esports in South Africa still need a lot of support. Also, we need to improve the infrastructure and the way we look at gaming or esports as a whole. It’s the present and future.

Also, just like traditional sports, esports has the ability to unite us and it presents unique possibilities and opportunities to break records and boundaries never before seen or heard of.

Gaming is the present and future. It allows you to also showcase your unique skills and talent to the world and sometimes from the comfort of your home. Not many are blessed academically, therefore gaming could be that one thing that someone was blessed with.

I believe if you’re one of the best in something, you should be allowed to chase it. You should be allowed to show the world what you’re capable of doing. Gaming provides that unique platform for individuals to travel the world and do what they love. We have all the talent in the world, we just need the opportunity to showcase it to the world.

What advice would you give to young gamers trying to enter the esports industry in South Africa/Africa?

Firstly, never set your mind on gaming as a full-time job (particularly within SA). It doesn’t work for everyone and you might end up disappointed and have extra pressure placed upon yourself.

Prioritise education and do gaming on the side. With enough discipline and commitment, you’re able to do both (just like I did – in completing a four-year accounting degree at CPUT where I graduated Cum Laude just before heading to London for the Tots Cup). It is possible and believe in yourself enough to try it. Try and fail, but never fail to try.

About Emily Stander

Freelancer specialising in games and entertainment | My first loves are writing, music and video games

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