Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Players who have represented South Africa in the Protea Team for three or more years.

MSSA's 2017 BOO! Protea League of Legends Esports Team in action in Busan.
At this time of the year while going through the administrative side of getting everything ready for the Annual General Meeting to be  held on 3 December 2017, it is always interesting to look at the records.

From the inception of Mind Sports South Africa (MSSA) in 1985, 243 players have been awarded Protea Colours for the various disciplines and periods falling under MSSA's jurisdiction.

MSSA always seeks to have continuity in its Protea teams, but due to the very nature, that is not always possible. Things change, work gets in the way, and there are always a number of new gamers yapping on the heels of the older gamers.

The competitiveness needed to get into the teams has ensured  that South Africa has always punched well above its weight. As a result of such competitiveness, South Africa  has produced no less than 22 world champions.

All such champions have done South Africa proud, and MSSA is determined to create even more.

However, only 18 players have ever represented South Africa for three or more years.

Of such players, there is only one female who has so represented South Africa for three or more years. That gamer is Bernice Bőhm who also was a three times world champion.

One can only hope that current and future gamers will aspire to reach such dizzy and lofty heights.

The full list of the 18 players have ever represented South Africa in a Protea team for three or more years is as follows:

Name of player Club/Team Caps
Anderson, Nathan Knights Mind Sports 15
Batzofin, Jason St John's College 10
Bőhm, Bernice Old Edwardian Wargames Club 15
Botha, Robert Polarfluke 14
Boyes, Ryan BNKR Gaming 5
Hlophe, David Leandra Giant Killers 21
Hoyle, Kevin Old Edwardian Wargames Club 15
Ligault, Richard Old Edwardian Wargames Club 21
Manana, Rhonnie University of Johannesburg 15
Maphumelo, Simphiwe Zola Checkers Club 28
Mqoshekile, Petrus DMC ACE Morabaraba 21
Rabiner, Evgenii Old Edwardian Wargames Club 20
Skhosana, Simon Leandra Giant Killers 21
Strachan, Matthew Old Edwardian Wargames Club 15
van Trotsenburg, Edward Bedfordview Mind Sports Club 35
Vannucci, David University of Witwatersrand 20
Webster, Colin Old Edwardian Wargames Club 97
Webster, David Old Edwardian Wargames Club 36

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Colours that may be earned at MSSA's SA National Championships.

MSSA's South African National Championships (SAN) shall be hosted by Fakkel School, 20 Jan Smuts Ave., Sasolburg, on 2 & 3 December 2017.

The final entry date for teams will be 20H00 on Sunday, 26 November 2017.

The championship is an awesome opportunity for players to earn National and Provincial Colours (whichever is applicable) for their respective games and provinces. Such National and Provincial Colours are awarded in both Senior and High School categories.

  • National Colours: All Players that win ALL of their Matches at a National Championship shall earn National Colours.
  • Provincial Colours: All Players that have scored within the top 50% in a specific Period at a Provincial Championship, and who also score within the top 50% at a National Championship in the same period and in the same year, will earn Provincial Colours.
Please note that there is a difference between National and Protea Colours. 

Details are as follows:
  • Board gaming:
  • Esports:
  • Wargaming:

Effective coaching is the answer.

Bin Muhammad Ridzuan Hazi Hasnul Hazi (2017 Tekken 7 World Champion) with SA's Alasdair Donaldson.

Reviewing the performance of South Africa's BOO! Protea Esports Team at IeSF's 9th World Championships - Busan, it is clear that Mind Sports South Africa (MSSA) is doing many things right in terms of team selection and promoting general competitiveness.

If  MSSA were not doing things right, South Africa would not be currently ranked 12th in the world.

However, like all other sports, it takes hard work to maintain a ranking, and even harder work to improve upon it.

The answer to improve upon South Africa's current position is to improve the level of coaching in South Africa.

While still in Busan, Alasdair Donaldson, Brandon Fester, and Ryan van Schalkwyk all mentioned that the standard of coaching in South Africa could do with a lot of improvement.A lot of esports athletes train for long hours, whereas they such athletes may actually training too much. There may be more efficient ways to learn and develop.

Coaches must be able to take into account mental aspects of esport like preparedness to train and fatigue, and how to manage both.

It may be wise for coaches to apply the traditional sports model to esports as both a performance and business model.

Effective coaching will lead to effective training which will have the knock-on effect will be that the competition level will increase, and if that happens, it would stand to reason that South Africa's performance on the international stage would also improve.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Do in game scores matter as much as the final result?

MSSA's BOO! Protea CounterStrike: GO Esports Team taking on the juggernaut that is Romania.
Many an esport athlete concentrates on the final in game score. For example, such esports athletes will console themselves with a 16 - 12 defeat (in the case of CounterStrike: GO). Such a defeat, many esports athletes will tell you, is proof of how close the game was, and that both teams had a chance of winning.
However, I am of the opinion, that such comfort is indeed very cold indeed as a loss is a loss.
To take comfort in the in game score presumes the following:
  • That both teams played as well as they could have, and
  • That the losing team is aware of the standard of the winning team, and
  • That the losing team knows what the winning team was thinking.
It is generally thought to be true by most coaches, people perform best when the game is close. When the winning team realises that the team against which they are playing is weaker, such winning team often becomes lax and overconfident. 
When a team is losing, it’s easy for such a team to become discouraged and give up. In such a case it is easy for a team to consider its opponents to be “in a different league” altogether. When a team does this, a team performs with less intensity than it would if the team perceived the “game” to be more equally matched.
When esports athletes move away from viewing results based on the in-game score, the goals of the game will become clearer, and the athletes will be able to be more competitive. After all who remembers the in-game score, but what will be remembered is which team beat which.

How to qualify for Protea Colours.

Team Russia with the BOO! Protea Esports Team at IESF's 9th World Championships - Busan.
With the end  of  the year fast aproaching, it is that time of the year again when many gamers look towards MSSA's 2018 National Team Trials, and wonder what they have to do to qualify for such Trials.

The 2018 National Team Trials (NTT) for esports are already penciled in for 2 & 3 June 2018.
Why does MSSA use National Team Trials to select Team Esports South Africa?
It is common knowledge that everybody's standard of play changes from year-to-year. Not only that there  is a natural growth in new gamers who enter the scene and a natural 'drop-off' of gamers who leave the competitive scene due to changing work and family commitments.
Thus annual trials are held to  accommodate the above changes. Through such system a highly competitive  system  is too maintained wherein gamers are able to fight for their positions as a position in the team is only held for one calendar year. 
May anyone enter National Team Trials?
It must be remembered that the team  selected by MSSA to officially represent South Africa is  an official sports team that officially represents South Africa  and is awarded Protea Colours.
As such MSSA is required to follow due care and follow proper procedure in awarding such colours to its teams.
As such there are qualifying criteria to qualifying for the National Team Trials (NTT), being:
  • Such player wishing to participate in NTT must be affiliated to an affiliated member club, and
  • Such player must have won a MSSA Regional Championship, or
  • Such player must have finished in the top three places, or in the top 20% (whichever  is greater), at a provincial and/or national championship, and
  • Such player is already a member of the  national team and has met the terms of the contract, and
  • Such player must have a signed copy of the contract, and
  • Such player must have a valid passport, and
  • If such player is  still a minor, such player must have a signed affidavit signed by both parents as well as an Unabridged Birth Certificate.
Does the winner of National Team Trials automatically get selected?
Gamers should remember that NTT is not a competition, it forms part of a selection process.
At such Trials drug  testing may be  held and gamers shall be tested to see how they deal with issues that may occur.
It must be remembered that those being selected are being selected to represent South Africa. 
Is the team selected immediately at Trials ?
The captains of the teams are immediately selected at Trials. The selected captains then sit with the Selectors and the Team Manager to select the team. Once the selection is completed and all the procedure has been followed, then the team is announced.
May Team Esports South Africa belong to an existing clan/team?
The short answer is yes. A player will only be selected to represent South Africa if he is a member of a club affiliated to the MSSA, so that is really not an issue! The membership that the the team member has does not just disappear when the player is selected for national duty.
Is the national team allowed to enter private tournaments like the DGC or EGE or even overseas events?
MSSA allows all of its National Team Members to enter any competition that they want to  as members of their clan. 
Gamers only play as the national team in international events upon request by the MSSA. 
However, the National Team Member must, and can, only represent a clan that is currently affiliated to the MSSA. Thus, for example,  a member of the National Team, who is affiliated to Clan A, which is a member of the MSSA, that means he cannot play for any clan that is not affiliated to MSSA. Should a clan that is not a member of MSSA indulge in ambush marketing by claiming that he is a member, MSSA will expect the player to publicly renounce any such claim.
Why do the members of Team Esports South Africa need to sign a contract?
All members who are selected to, and join, a national team are given a contract to sign. If the gamer has not yet reached the age of majority, the legal guardian signs the contract. 
Essentially, if the rules are broken, there may be a financial implication as well as a disciplinary implication. Depending on the severity of the breach, action may be taken by the International Federation concerned, or by the National Federation. 
Does the National Team have to abide by a Code of Conduct?
Indeed it does! 
The Code of Conduct that a team has to follow is an amalgamation of what the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the National Federation expects. Obviously the player representing South Africa has to hold him/herself to a higher standard than the average gamer as so much more is expected of the team member. This way all the parties concerned, the sponsors, the MSSA, the IeSF, and the gamer are protected. The Code of Conduct is not onerous, but largely common-sense. 
In short, it is how you would expect someone to behave if they were representing you!
Is there a difference between officially representing SA in Esports as opposed to any other sport?
There is no difference between officially representing South Africa in eSports to any other sport. Esports is an officially accredited sport, and the Protea Colours that are awarded are the same Protea Colours as awarded to  any other sport.

How to qualify to serve on an international body

Alex Lim, IESF's Secretary General.
Whenever Mind Sports South Africa (MSSA) takes a team overseas, players  within the team are always impressed with the magnitude of the international event.

The people, atmosphere, venue, media, flights, and accommodation all inspire the team members to aim for higher things.

Thus some of the team members express an  interest in serving the sport at a higher level.

Certainly, MSSA encourages all its players, whether in board games, card games, esports, or wargames, to become more involved.

However, it should be noted that such participation starts at home.

It starts with being a paid-up Registered Player, becoming involved in running a club,and then progressing to a position on the national federation. It is also not something that will happen immediately as anybody wishing to get involved needs to establish a track-record.

Administrators that aim to serve on an international level are here for the 'long-haul'.

It should also be remembered that any position on a committee is a work position. These positions require time and effort. Registered Players that get elected who do not perform, often will be removed.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Jason Batzofin shines at GEES.

Professor Andy Miah (left) and  Jason Batzofin (right).
Following the Global Esports Executive Summit (GEES) 2016 which was held in Shanghai, International e-Sports Federation (IeSF) held its Global Esports Executive Summit (GEES) 2017 in Busan, at the International Passenger Terminal Convention Center on November 13th - 15th.

So it was that Mind Sports South Africa's Jason Batzofin (who is also IESF's Chairman of the Players' Commission) shared the stage with Matthew Pound (Head  of Communications of the Internnational Table Tennis Federation), Professor Andy Miah (university of Salford), and Sean Kwom (VP of International Business of Appnori) discussed the topic: Esport and Sports Synergies "Value Creation".

What ensued was a lively debate in which Jason proved to be a equal to thee other panelists.

By the end of the discussion a number of the areas in which there are synergies had been explored, and the audience further educated.