Home Gaming Colin Webster elected as IESF president – a lost opportunity for SA esports

Colin Webster elected as IESF president – a lost opportunity for SA esports

5 min read
48

It’s no secret how the larger esports community, in South Africa, feels about Mind Sports South Africa (MSSA). There is no love lost between the community and its management. MSSA describes itself on its Facebook page as follows:

Mind Sports South Africa (MSSA) is an affiliate of the South African Confederation of Sport and Olympic Committee.

The MSSA is responsible for the good governance and promotion of Board games (such as Backgammon, Diplomacy, Checkers, Draughts, Morabaraba, etc.), eSports (whether they are played on ‘cell ‘phones, consoles, personal computers or similar), Robotics, and historical figure games (also known as wargames).

However, it is also important to note that the MSSA has been suspended by SASCOC since July 2014, as such any government affiliation would need to be viewed with scepticism.

In short, MSSA should be looked at as an organisation that develops local esports on a national level with, supposed, government support. In reality, the MSSA is an out of touch organisation that has done nothing but burn the very people it was created to serve and lives in a parallel universe to the more credible local esports scene we all know so well.

The list of issues the general esports community has with the organisation is an extensive one. From questionable team selections (the most recent being the CS:GO team that was fielded by MSSA that featured 4 women and one man, none of whom have any especially noteworthy accolades to their name) to the abysmal overseas performances across various titles, MSSA is not held in high regard.

Its leadership seems as absent as its success, with Morizane Boyes who some looked to for a breath of fresh air but ultimately did nothing with her time at the helm to bridge the gap and in an interview implied that internal dynamics made her job difficult. I’d wager you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who could tell you the name of the current president of the MSSA – Amanda Pakade.

At the core of it all is one man who has been the consistent factor in every dealing with MSSA and the driving force behind its actions. Colin Webster. His is a complex history that you can read about online as it’s been documented countless times.

The announcement of the IESF president

An organisation that perhaps holds as much relevance as the MSSA but on a global scale is the International Esports Federation (IESF). Their role is largely the same as the MSSA. Whilst they host events and have made many attempts to have esports recognised by the Olympics, ultimately they are ignored by the larger global esports community.

It recently held an election for its new president which became a two horse race between Colin Webster and his Russian rival Constantine Surkont. In the end, Colin Webster emerged victorious and has become the president of the IESF.

The strange part of this is that there has been next to no communication around this aside from an obscure personal Facebook post that linked to a personal Instagram account with a photo congratulating the new president.

You would imagine the election of the president of your organisation would warrant some fanfare or at the very least a press release of some kind. Even the infamous Blogspot account that acts as the mouthpiece of the MSSA has shared nothing about the news.

The anger around the MSSA

Being angry with how the MSSA conducts itself is akin to diving into a bottomless pit of frustration, but with an announcement such as this you can’t help but jump in. How much local esports is losing out with the current iteration of MSSA is tragic.

Local esports loses out on access to government, something that can only happen through the MSSA currently. There are debates around whether governmental interference is good or bad for esports, but when you see the relationship between the Danish government and the best CSGO team in the world Astralis, there is a way for the government to support esports without interfering.

MSSA has the means to send teams overseas. Having teams go overseas is a huge boost in ROI for brands as they get international coverage. ROI is a huge factor currently in the debate around what brands are getting out of sponsoring teams in South African esports. Really, it is the only factor worth discussing as that is all that brands care about. Not having access to these international tournaments hurts the potential value that brands can get out of local esports and that takes potential money out of a scene desperate for it.

The MSSA community is largely divided from the general esports community and that fragmentation in an already small scene does not help matters in the least. We see it countless times how the same players are recycled across the top teams, fresh blood is very much needed. Although, there are other factors that account for that, but that is a topic that can be discussed at length another time.

Now, with Webster being elected as the president of the IESF, having a senior figure from a local organisation at such a high level should be cause for celebration. Instead, it barely registers for many and not just because of the lack of announcements.

Local esports has a long way to go before it can be called sustainable, despite the massive strides it has made in the past. With recent scandals such as Orena and the ESWC qualifiers, the scene is still in a precarious position. Having easy wins such as a functioning and friendly MSSA would be such a boon. The scene needs all the help and opportunities it can fit in its hands.

Nonetheless, the scene will endure and will continue to grow with or without the support of the MSSA. The reality is that shouting about the tragedy that is the MSSA is simply shouting into an empty void of irrelevance and narcissism. Perhaps it’s best that energy is rather spent celebrating all the successes and achievements being made by those in the local scene and continuing to support those doing everything in their power to elevate the scene.

Both the MSSA and the IESF have been reached out to for comment and we await their response.

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Last Updated: November 15, 2018

48 Comments

  1. CongoKyle

    November 15, 2018 at 16:57

    I attended an esports and sports conference earlier this year which featured the MSSA and SASCOC (Gideon Sam) in particular. Mr. Sam said openly that the MSSA are currently suspended and his relationship with the MSSA is “complicated” (this was a while ago, so don’t quote me) which implied (the way I saw it) they run their own show. I can’t remember the exact words but I wish I had a recording.

    Reply

  2. Allykhat

    November 15, 2018 at 13:02

    Lawsuit incoming.

    Good piece, Glenn.

    Reply

  3. Guild

    November 15, 2018 at 13:02

    The only thing you can do is laugh at the MSSA. What a waste of time and space. It was recently we were reading about Morizane Boyes and how new blood will make big changes at MSSA. And nothing happened….. What did she achieve? I remember her comments about how it’s up to the public to join MSSA and change it from the inside. And yet you get constant stories how you can’t do anything as it was/is all controlled by one man.

    Only question I have is with Colin running IESF, is he finally done and out of the SA scene?

    Reply

    • Gavin Mannion

      November 15, 2018 at 13:31

      you really think he’d stop milking the MSSA and actually do something good?… how naive

      Reply

      • Allykhat

        November 15, 2018 at 13:34

        NO GAVIN! SHHHHHH!

        You may hurt [radacted]’s feelies again!

        Reply

        • Gavin Mannion

          November 15, 2018 at 13:36

          didn’t know [redacted] had feelings?

          [Edit: Please don’t attack people personally in the comments section]

          Reply

          • Kromas

            November 15, 2018 at 14:04

            Someone likes to live dangerously. 😛

        • Pariah

          November 15, 2018 at 13:40

          I see CW and think Chris Wilson now. Who’s a great guy. Also PoE. Meh.

          Reply

      • Guild

        November 15, 2018 at 14:06

        True. Very true and naive of me. But one can only hope.
        So anyone know what happened to Morizane Boyes? She fade into obscurity or still involved there?

        Reply

        • Gavin Mannion

          November 15, 2018 at 14:09

          My understanding is that she left after becoming frustrated with the inability to get anything done. But those are just rumours that found their way back to me

          Reply

          • Guild

            November 15, 2018 at 16:12

            Wow. So much for the join and make a difference speech we got.

      • Guz

        November 15, 2018 at 15:01

        Just curious what exactly does he get from MSSA?

        Reply

        • Gavin Mannion

          November 15, 2018 at 15:05

          Last I was involved the MSSA had sponsorships and Colin was flown around the world to aid in the competing etc as well as possibly getting financial help in performing his duties

          Reply

  4. Kromas

    November 15, 2018 at 13:13

    It was nice to get a piece on that man again.

    That being said. Nice knowing you Glenn.

    Also now we will get shirts on sale again yay. My “I saved Lazygamers Bacon” shirt is getting quite old.

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief

      November 15, 2018 at 13:16

      Shirt, you mean tent?

      Reply

    • RinceThis

      November 15, 2018 at 13:40

      Hey! I sleep in my I saved lags t-shirt!

      Reply

      • Kromas

        November 15, 2018 at 14:04

        I wear mine so it has gotten a bit old by now.

        Reply

    • HvR

      November 16, 2018 at 00:33

      Lol, reading this in bed with my I saved Lagz bacon shirt on. First time in months…. Mmmm coincidence?

      Reply

  5. Graham Ashton

    November 15, 2018 at 13:29

    “In reality, the MSSA is an out of touch organisation that has done nothing but burn the very people it was created to serve and lives in a parallel universe to the more credible local esports scene we all know so well.”

    Well said. Pretty much describes most of the esports federations actually.

    Reply

  6. RinceThis

    November 15, 2018 at 13:40

    Excellent piece my man!

    Reply

  7. BradeLunner

    November 15, 2018 at 14:04

    How did this cake convince everyone? I thought here nobody in Government really cared, but he must have gone to the school of Trump or something.

    Reply

    • Gavin Mannion

      November 15, 2018 at 14:06

      Well I have no insight into the IESF, but my guess would be that the person mentioned could say whatever they want to the IESF members with them having no ability to actually confirm it. I’ve personally tried to get information out of SASCOC via lawyers before and it’s just a dead end. Massive incompetence

      Reply

      • Guild

        November 15, 2018 at 14:09

        It’s government. You expected something better than massive incompetence?

        Reply

      • BradeLunner

        November 15, 2018 at 15:01

        This is so sad. It also sad that this guy gets to benefit and live off gaming like a leech, when there are so many competent people who love gaming and would love to make a living helping the industry.

        Reply

      • BakedBagel

        November 19, 2018 at 10:52

        Aye, i dont know if Governments getting involved in esports is a bad thing

        I do know that if the South African governement is getting involved its gonna fuck things up

        Reply

  8. Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

    November 15, 2018 at 15:53

    LMAO you expect SA government (any “normal” government for that matter) to behave similarly to Nordic governments? HOOOooooo boy

    Reply

  9. CongoKyle

    November 15, 2018 at 16:57

    I attended an esports and sports conference earlier this year which featured the MSSA and SASCOC (Gideon Sam) in particular. Mr. Sam said openly that the MSSA are currently suspended and his relationship with the MSSA is “complicated” (this was a while ago, so don’t quote me) which implied (the way I saw it) they run their own show. I can’t remember the exact words but I wish I had a recording.

    Reply

  10. CrAiGiSh

    November 16, 2018 at 11:00

    We have failed as humanity …

    Reply

  11. CrAiGiSh

    November 16, 2018 at 11:00

    We have failed as humanity …

    Reply

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