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Local StarCraft player, Robert Botha, hits the eSports jackpot

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 eSports career. 


 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). 

Any shoutouts? 

“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.” 

Robert Botha.jpg

The PandaTank eSports timeline (just in case you think he happened upon his position in eSports overnight).

Counter-Strike 1.6 and Quake Live

  • 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 1.6
  • Attended 3 Electronic Sports World Cup qualifiers for Counter-Strike 1.6
  • Attended 1 KODE5 qualifier for Counter-Strike 1.6
  • 1st place in the MobileG CS 1.6 2006 competition 
  • 2nd place in the 2011 CS 1.6 
StarCraft II career 2011
  • 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 
StarCraft II career 2012
  • 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 Qualifier #6
  • 3rd place Playhem daily
Closing thoughts

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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