MWeb MSSA: Women and children first
The first surprise result of MWeb's MSSA Mpumalanga championships finals, hosted at HTS Witbank and powered by All Stars Lan, was when ex-Proteas FIFA 13 player, Abubakar Ebrahiem, was beaten back and out of the tournament.
In the Women's league, Abubakar's spouse, Razeena Saloojee, was assumed to be the winner. However, in another strange twist, Taneska Combrink, of Tshwane University of Technology, vanquished Saloojee with an early goal and a strong defence, effectively locking her out, meaning she had secured both automatic berth at the trials for the national South African team and the championship.
Abubakar was first beaten by the younger Daniel Quiterres, setting him back, but not ruling him out of winning the championship. Quiterres then went on to be defeated in a convincing performance by 12-year-old Kyle Turnbull, with the final now placing the young Turnbull against international veteran Abubakar.
Abubakar, who has played for SA in Brazil, the UK and South Korea, approached the match with too much confidence, and was blocked out by Turnbull in a strongly enforced draw, allowing Turnbull to progress to the trials as well.
Abubakar quipped he was "trying new tactics" and that he hadn't expected such strong players in the event, an assumption that cost him.
Finally, Morzane Boyes, an educator and avid player from HTS Witbank, who runs her school's eSports club, came away from the tournament with two first-place results for StarCraft 2 and Tekken Tag Tournament 2.
For the first time, a female gamer won gold at a provincial level (twice!). She also holds the record of being the first gamer (male or female) to qualify for trials in two different titles.
This is a major success for eSports and the MSSA, which actively promotes female involvement in gaming. As a result of these policies, the event had the most female entrees yet, as well as some surprise results. MWeb hopes to improve on female participation in upcoming events.
Those who go to trials are competing for a chance to play the 2013 IeSF World Championship, to be held in October, in South Korea.