A little while back we had some questions surrounding the recent MSSA organised match vs Mexico where it was uncovered that the team wasn’t, apparently, even Mexican. At the time I decided to not interview the players as I wanted the story to be about the MSSA and not the players.
This upset the players and after some cordial discussions with our DOTA 2 national captain, Anthony Hodgson, it came out that he felt I wasn’t being entirely fair by not talking to the players about it.
So we sat down over Skype in the middle of our busy schedules and tried out best to get an interview out. Unfortunately it was constantly interrupted by the outside world and responsibilities but here we go with the essence of what was discussed
Gavin: Do you think the DOTA 2 team selected to play against Mexico was our top side?
That’s a complicated question. Since the National team is selected once a year and who the ‘top side’ is might change on a daily basis.
What I will say is that our current national Dota team is by far the most representative of our best team that our national team has ever been and that it’s at least very close to our best team.
Gavin: Do you feel the way the MSSA organised this match was correct or do you think they should have done the research and realised this wasn’t an official team or even Mexican
I don’t know anything about how the MSSA organizes matches and don’t know any of the details regarding the organization of this match. I try to stay as far away from admin as possible.
For example, I’ve asked Colin in the past about the possibility of organizing scrims for us versus other national teams. Unfortunately, the MSSA seems required to organize Official Test Matches.
This means that all 5 of us need to be in one location whenever we play one of these matches and it also means they can never be organized by us. I expect that Colin organized this match via the channels that the MSSA is sanctioned to organized matches via.
Whether or not this is an ideal state of affairs is another question but I do not think the MSSA has unilaterally made it this way. The reality is that smoothly running International [country vs country] Dota matches presuppose structures which simply don’t exist.
The game is 99% private, played between teams and not countries and similarly 99% of the existing administrative structures deal with teams and not countries. It is not clear how the MSSA could interact better with this context.
Gavin: So you don’t feel the MSSA should have at least researched the team they are going to play against, as any other sporting code would be bound to do?
I am under the impression that they did do research. At least as much as Darryn Bonthuys’s article did (ed: BURN)
Gavin: Did you feel proud to represent South Africa in the match even though you quickly realised the opposition were not a national side or even close to the quality of you?
I think you’ll find that feeling national pride comes from representing your country and nothing else, really.
We didn’t ‘quickly realize they were not a national side’, we only discovered that much later. And upon realizing they were much weaker than us, something which we had suspected beforehand given the research we did into the team we were told we would be playing, we were disappointed that the match would not be a true test of our ability.
Does that reduce the sense of pride felt representing SA? No. Why should it? Of course we’d rather play stronger teams, whether representing SA or not, but it’s not clear to me what that has to do with feeling national pride when representing one’s country.
Gavin: Well you were told you were playing an official Mexican team, so when that turned out not to be true are you saying you didn’t feel slighted in any way?
Again, the question of what ‘official’ means here is very complicated. The Romanian team we played was no more ‘official’ than the Mexican team we played. Sure, they were much stronger, and possibly close to the strongest representation of their country, but that is not because they are the ‘official’ Romanian team. There is no ‘official’ Romanian team. The guy in charge of their government mandated group appointed someone to ‘choose’ the team about a week in advance of our match.
As per my answer above, I don’t feel ‘slighted’ when the MSSA organizes a team for us to play against that isn’t the best opponent we could get. I feel sad that we don’t have a more difficult match because it’s more interesting and more fun to play stronger opponents. But this has nothing to do with who is or isn’t ‘official’. I usually take for granted that the team the MSSA organizes for us to play is, by definition, assuming they follow their own protocols, the ‘official’ team for us to face within the structures within international dota 2 test matches exist.
Gavin: According to the Protea squad you are the captain and are affiliated to Knights Media Club. But you are also the captain of Bravado. Is Bravado an MSSA affiliated team and why do you use Knights for the official line up
I can’t actually remember the details on this one – I think Bravado was in the process of becoming an affiliated club but hadn’t finalized that process yet or something like that [someone in bvd management would know more on this]. So we entered National Team Trials with the Knights Sports Club as our affiliated club. This is a club run by the MSSA themself and thus an easy way for an unaffiliated team to bypass what might otherwise be a difficult hoop to jump through.
And that’s unfortunately all we had time for, it is interesting to see the process from the opposite side and I would like to thank Anthony for his time and compliment him on his ability to get past the anger he held so that we could have a proper conversation about this and other issues.
We are not trying to break the local gaming community but rather improve it.
As a side note, pretty much every one of Anthony’s arguments is against the contract that he had to sign. So the MSSA now need to fine their team captain, something which would be a gigantic PR disaster and make even more of a mockery of the organisation. Or… more preferably is that they drop all those stupid clauses in the contract.
Either way, if Anthony isn’t fined then this contract will no longer hold up to law as this is a public breaching of it without consequence, so you no longer need to feel threatened by it. Feel free to talk about the MSSA and how they select their squads.
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Last Updated: September 26, 2013