Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Being selected to represent South Africa

Jessie Joubert (captain of MSSA's CS: GO team at IeSF's team briefing in Jakarta)
Being selected to represent South Africa in any of the disciplines administrated by Mind Sports South Africa carries with it the same honour an prestige as being selected to the National cricket or rugby team - and since SA is currently ranked 14th in the World for eSports - sometimes more so.
To be awarded National Colours is more than someone dishing out colours, there is a great deal of process and procedure behind such.
When you officially represent South Africa in eSports, you get either National Federation Colours or Protea Colours. When you just name your team as a national team and you have not been properly selected, the media, public at large, etc. do not care what your achievements are. A properly selected team will have their results archived, and the results, if good enough can be used for other awards at government level.

Unfortunately, results obtained by an unofficial team are never included in such events.

The Colours that an official team has been awarded are almost as good as currency. When players are awarded National or Protea Colours, such gamers are also able to apply for sports bursaries.
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 as people tend to judge all South Africans by the few that they actually meet. 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!

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, SASCOC, or by the National Federation. As we have seen over recent years, even the Minister of Sport may become involved should the Minister feel that the situation requires his input.
Certainly there are legal implications. Many South Africans seem oblivious to the fact that the government is the owner of the name and all insignia relating to South Africa. National Federations through their status and accreditation are entitled to use such name and certain logos for national teams. While the government might turn a blind eye to the use of the flag, etc. during moments of national fervour (2010 World Cup and Afcon 2012), the government jealously guards the way in which the symbols of South Africa are used. Thus an unofficial team trying to pass itself off as a representative team may find itself having to justify it?s actions to the government. Even National Federations that use the national symbols without proper approval face the ire and wrath of the government.
The MSSA's eSports teams probably get the lion's share due to eSports being more marketable than the other disciplines. Most of the MSSA's eSports teams are given all of their kit free, the teams that travel also have all their accommodation and travelling costs paid on their behalf. Thus, every MSSA team that has attended the WCG and IeSF events since 2005 has only had to worry about their own spending money. The same remains true for the team that the MSSA sent to Namibia. Unfortunately, the MSSA is not a rich body, so the MSSA has to budget carefully, and often has to just "make-do" with what is available. Of course, the greater the membership, the more that can be achieved!

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