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Mind Sports South Africa, looking back at 2012

by Han Cilliers (Lola)  Posted Wednesday, January 02, 2013 7:53:02 AM

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An open letter from Colin Webster, president of Mind Sports South Africa (MSSA) to our local gaming community.

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Dear Gamer  

There is just so much to share about 2012 that it makes it difficult to start. So much happened this year that the Management Board was sent reeling by the sheer volume of work. Not only does the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) require greater levels of bureaucracy and good governance (the two do not necessarily go together), but the MSSA found that it was fully committed in each and every discipline for which it caters.  

Board Gaming

The MSSA very effectively resolved its issues with the SRSA in regard to the game of Morabaraba. Thanks to the intercession by the SRSA's Director General, Mr. Alec Moemi, a very awkward situation was averted and the MSSA and the SRSA were able to shelve differences and come out with a workable plan for the future of the game.  

There are big things in store for the game. The game of Morabaraba is to be included in the school sport programme that has been inspired by the Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mr. Fikile Mbalula. This is all pretty exciting stuff as  the game will benefit on every single level from such an inclusion. The increased participation will no doubt attract additional funding, and hopefully the average competitiveness of the gamers will to increase.

Also through the kind offices of the SRSA, the MSSA was able to participate in the Traditional World Games and Festival that was held in Lithuania. Ahh, sweet Lithuania, a fabulous country with god food, a hard history, but most of all, wonderful people.  

Gamers would do well to be reminded that the MSSA has participated in previous Traditional World Games and Festivals. The first such Festival in which the MSSA participated was in Thailand in 1997. The MSSA, having just won recognition for Morabaraba as a sport further enhanced the prestige of the game by getting Mr. Danny Jordaan (later to better known for his work in the 2010 Football World Cup) to act as Chef d' Mission. Although the team was only sent to convert new people to the game, the team acted admirably and made many new friends and converts to the game.

However, the successes of any year can be, and often are measured by the successes of the few.   And now we turn to those who have represented the MSSA with distinction.

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Lubabalo Kondlo: Lubabalo built on his successes of previous years to earn a place for himself at the 2012 SAportAccord World Mind Games that were held in Beijing in December 2012. He faced a very difficult challenge at such games, having to face off against Alexander Moiseyev of the USA (the 3 Move World Champion) and against Ron 'Suki' King of Barbados (the Go As You Please World Champion). The true nature of international competition held no fear for Lubabalo as he forced his way into second place. Without doubt, Lubabalo is the greatest Checkers player that South Africa has ever produced.      

Simphiwe Maphumulo: Up until 2012, Simphiwe's greatest claim to fame was that he had won both the junior and senior sections of the 2003 World Championships in Botswana. Simphiwe over the years had too proved himsef to be a loyal member ad often travelled to championships outside of his own province of residence in order to defend, and take, provincial and national titles. There have also been few years that Simphiwe has not also represented his beloved province of KwaZulu-Natal in the SRSA's Indigenous games. Thus it was hardly surprising that Simphiwe was one of the first entrants to the World Championships which were held in Durban in April of this year. At such 2012 IWF World Championships, Simphiwe once again exhibited all the qualities that made him a truly great player. Simphiwe won all of his games to once again be crowned as the Morabaraba World Champion. Thus, it was most pleasing to see that Simphiwe was part of the team that attended the Traditional Games and Festival in Lithuania.  

eSports  

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The MSSA was more than satisfied with the accomplishments of the gamers who participated in eSports. Although the MSSA got off to a traumatic start in 2012 and had to reschedule some championships, it was the gamers who came through with flying colours. A great deal of support came from unexpected sources, and a number of new members proved to be absolutely sterling! It is upon the successes of the 2012 year that the MSSA can confidently build for future glory!  

The hard work of many years, has finally bred the champions of whom we have all dreamed. In 2005, Logan Brooke-Shields proved to all South Africans that it was possible for a South African to win at the World Cyber Games (WCG). It was the Jaco Englebrecht's turn (by finishing second in two games) in 2011 at the IeSMoD World Championships in South Korea to remind us all that South Africans have the potential to be up there among the medal winners and not merely spectators.  

Thus building on the successes of all those that had gone before, and especially of Robert 'PandaTank' Botha, the 2012 GIGABYTE Protea Team that departed for the 2012 IeSF World Championships was realistically confident of achieving worthwhile results, and achieve they did! 2012 is the first year that the entire South African team managed to get through the group stages. Both Robert Botha and Vittorio Puissa demonstrated a great deal of skill as they finished in the top 16. The women went on to do even better with Lyrene Kuhn finishing in fourth place in TEKKEN and Gabriela Isaacs finishing in second in StarCraft II in the ladies section.

However, one must not forget the Nation's Cup. With very little time given to the MSSA, a team was selected. The team was made up of Chris ‘Bloodslug’ Hart, Brandon 'ChAoTiCK' Clidaras, Daniel 'Crincler' Towse, Kyle 'Cromedome’ Burton, Ricky 'Jalgorty' Schlenk, AJ 'Assassin' Herbst (Captain), Riaan 'EasyKill' Vrey, Matt “Lt-Matt”, Reinhardt 'PeStil3nc3' van Rooyen, Renier 'Sabrefox91o' van Rooyen, Sheraaz 'ZAAREHS' Nunnian, and MJ 'Vermaak' Vermaak.   The team took on all comers and performed well in very trying circumstances having to deal with an imperfect system.  

Yet even with all that was happening, the committee still was able to organise the 1st SA National Schools championships. The Championships was won by Pretoria Boys, and it seems as though the championships will grow from strength to strength in the future.  

Wargames

Once again the MSSA hosted the IWF's World Championships. The MSSA has built a solid reputation of hosting top class events. 2012 was no different, the MSSA hosted such championship in the same venue that was used for the 2002 IWF World Championships, namely, the Blue Waters Hotel in Durban.  

The championships proved to be well run and the participants enjoyed the event. Probably none more so than Eugene Burger of Pietermaritzburg who waltzed home to take first place and be crowned the 2012 World Champion for the Ancients period.  

Management Board Awards

Every year the Management Board Awards those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. This year there were many worthy candidates, and indeed it was difficult to have to choose between the different nominees. Nevertheless the committee forced itself to make a choice and awarded the 2012 Management Board to:

  • Mind Sports Person of the Year: Robert 'PandaTank' Botha, representing PolarFluke
  • Board Gamer of the Year: Simphiwe Maphumulo, representing KZN Gaming
  • Computer Gamer of the Year: Gabriela Isaacs, representing SAHETI School
  • Wargamer of the Year: Eugene Burger, representing MCS
  • Volunteer of the Year: Louis Brown, representing All Stars, Mpumalanga
  • Mind Sports Writer of the Year: Han Cilliers, journalist for Bravado Gaming and MWEB GameZone
  • Best Sponsor of the Year: GIGABYTE

In conclusion

The successes that were had in 2012 will lead to even greater possibilities for all gamers. Gamers will now be able to see new developments in all aspects of the game which in turn will into fresh opportunities for all. As gaming continues to grow as a sport, and not just as a recreation, more and more gamers will be able to turn their personal ambitions into realities.  

However, all gamers must note, that it still remains the policy of the MSSA to honour loyalty and skill. If you want to participate in a national team, you must attend MSSA events as  a participant as well as put back into the  games as an official. The MSSA is not greater than its parts and relies heavily on one-and-all to make the MSSA into a bigger and better federation for all.  

As such, I wish to take this opportunity to wish all gamers a Blessed and Prosperous New Year.

Colin Webster, President MSSA

MSSA Twitter | Facebook

MWEB GameZone wishes the MSSA a prosperous 2013, we are honored to have a partnership with you. We also want to extend our gratitude to Mr Webster for his hard work and commitment to see eSports advance in South Africa. 

Han's Twitter | Blog / MWEB Gamezone Twitter | Facebook

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd   



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