Daily Dispatch

Dream call for gaming star


Twenty-year-old electronic game enthusiast Shiaan Rugbeer was casually playing FIFA online when his friend sent him a WhatsApp telling him he had qualified for an internatio­nal Esports tournament.

“In 2016‚ I started playing FIFA17 and I didn’t think much of it‚ because I only played against my friends. Whatever. When I did play online‚ I didn’t know whether I was doing well or not until I got a WhatsApp from one of my friends saying I qualified for an event overseas. I had no idea what it meant‚” said Rugbeer.

Gaming giant Electronic Arts (EA) sent Rugbeer an e-mail explaining he had qualified for a tournament in Doha. “Ever since that time the hunger just got going.”

Rugbeer was the only African player who competed against the best Fifa players in the world at the recent PGL FIFA 19 Masters in Bucharest‚ Romania‚ on May 18-19 and has competed in tournament­s in Amsterdam and London.

In Bucharest‚ 32 players‚ 16 on PlayStatio­n 4 and 16 on XBox‚ competed for the $30‚200 (R447,000) pool prize-money.

In the first round of qualifying for the tourney in Bucharest‚ Rugbeer had to win 28 out of 30 matches to qualify to play against the best in Africa and the Middle East. Africa and the Middle East was allocated one spot at the final tournament‚ which Rugbeer clinched.

Rugbeer was the lowest seed at the tournament‚ so his first match was against world champion Donovan “F2Tekkz” Hunt where he lost in extra time. He suffered the same fate in the second and third round against different opponents before he was eliminated. “Experience does matter‚ because you need game management.”

Rugbeer is studying programmin­g at Belgium Campus in Pretoria where he is usually oncampus from 8am to midday before heading home to Centurion where he usually plays for four to five hours‚ but not FIFA. “On the weekend I have to play FIFA. I play Call of Duty Black Ops [and] Fortnite [during the week].”

Rugbeer was only African player to compete against the best Fifa players

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