Yesterday the MSSA announced that Robert “PandaTank” Botha
has been invited to attend the prestigious Razer Academy
in Los Angeles, California.
“Congratulations to Robert
'PandaTank' Botha who on the 1st of November 2012 will be flying to Los
Angeles, California, to stay in the Razer Academy for roughly 3 months. He will
be training and streaming his games on US and KR all day every day! As well as
playing in as many online tournaments possible and hopefully some big offline
ones too. He will also be doing analysis and creating various SC related content
for Razer.” the MSSA Facebook
This is the first time in the
history of eSports SA that a player has been invited to attend a training
facility for gamers. I caught up with PandaTank to chat about his extraordinary
How did you manage to
get an invitation to the Razer Academy?
“I made a video application explaining my achievements, et
cetera and I was accepted.”
In your opinion, did
your involvement with the MSSA contribute to your invitation to the Academy?
“Not directly. Although indirectly, attending the IeSF as a part
of the MSSA team definitely gives me a stronger "resume" when
applying for such things. The MSSA have also been very supportive and promoting
of my decision to train overseas.”
What will the
training at the Razer Academy entail?
“I will be living in a house with 3 other StarCraft players
and practising full time. Having such a fast internet and a low ping will allow
me to practice far more efficiently than I currently am doing from SA, as well
as allowing me to stream my games for more exposure\experience.”
What is your expected
outcome of the time you will spend training at the Academy?
“Firstly I want to become a more rounded and solid player
overall. I believe that living with other pro-gamers will go a long way to
help develop my understanding of the game and various strategies. Secondly I
would like to develop and strengthen my reputation as a player in the
international scene. Once I have achieved both of those I hope to do a lot more
travelling to European and International events to try and prove myself.”
What does it mean for
you personally to be invited to attend the Academy? What do you think, if
anything, it means for the broader South African eSports community?
“For myself, it’s quite simply like a dream come true. I
don't think there would be any other way to describe it. As for the South
African eSports community, I'm not quite sure. I guess if anything this proves
that there is no difference between African and international gamers. Of course,
we encounter far more hindrances in the form of infrastructure, political
stability and culture. But despite that, I still believe there is potentially
no difference in the players themselves, and their abilities to achieve great
skill levels within eSports."
The experience that
you gain at the RAZER Academy will obviously raise your game to new heights. Do
you see any transferral of your knowledge to SA gamers upon your return?
“I don't know. Help usually finds those who seek it. If
there are any local players who are struggling with some aspect of the game,
they can feel free to email me with their specific questions and I will do my
best to reply. Other than that, I will be creating education content for Razer
while in the academy, so people who wish to learn should be sure to tune in to
that.” (Check updates on PandaTank’s facebook page).
“Sure, thanks for the interview. Thanks for all my fans,
friends and the people that support me. Thanks to my team, pwnanza (check out
their website). Shout out to Colin
Webster and the MSSA. Shout out to African gamers with big dreams.”
The PandaTank eSports
timeline (just in case you think he happened upon his position in eSports
Counter-Strike 1.6 and Quake Live
StarCraft II career 2011
- Started competitive gaming career in 2002
- Attended 9 rAge events
- 2nd place in Counter-Strike rAge 2005
- Attended 4 World Cyber Games qualifiers for Counter-Strike
- Attended 3 Electronic Sports World Cup
qualifiers for Counter-Strike 1.6
- Attended 1 KODE5 qualifier for Counter-Strike
- 1st place in the MobileG CS 1.6 2006
- 2nd place in the 2011 CS 1.6
StarCraft II career 2012
- Top 8, International eSports Federation World Championship in Korea
- 1st place RealGaming LAN
- 3rd place Telkom do Gaming League LAN finals
- 1st place PolarfluKe monthly online cup (x2)
- 2nd place PolarfluKe monthly online cup (x5)
- 2nd place Playhem daily
- Top 8, World Cyber Games European Combined
Nationals in Germany
- Top 16, International eSports Federation World
Championship in Korea
- 1st place 4PL CloseCombat-Cup
- Round of 16, TSL4 Qualifier #9
- 2nd place PokerStrategy EliteCup
- 3rd place Playhem daily
PandaTank is known for his single-minded determination to
make it as a professional cyber athlete. He cares not for gaming politics, favoring any organization, and he is not here to make buddies. He will be the
best that he can be in StarCraft II, or he will die trying. This, I salute.
I predicted in my article, “The argument for eSports”, that we were going to see a “snow ball effect”
happening in eSports, on the international, as well as local scenes. Seeing
that realize so quickly with our local community is extremely exciting.
The MWEB Gamezone team wishes PandaTank all the best.
Continue to inspire us in 2013!
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