ATK Rescue SA’s Commonwealth Dream After Mind Sports Fumble

The inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championships are set to get underway in Birmingham in August this year, and after neglecting to put South Africa forward, the current governing body almost cost South Africa the chance to secure a spot at the event.

As part of the globally renowned Commonwealth Games, and supported by the British Esports Association, events like this will go a long way in highlighting the immense esports talent on offer in South Africa.

However, Mind Sports SA, who hold the rights to the tournament, reportedly made no attempt in getting the region involved, and as such left no South African team ready for the qualifiers, which are scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday, 18 June 2022.

A tweet from the Regional Manager for RLCS in Sub-Saharan Africa, Dylan Buckle, read

“Need another reason to dislike the MSSA? The Commonwealth Games has an African qualifier for Rocket League and the MSSA has all the rights to this tournament. No effort was made by Colin (Webster) to reach out and get the region involved. What an absolute lose for SSA.”

However, CEO of ATK Arena Warren Barkhuizen has managed to salvage SA’s chance at the tournament. After being alerted to the issue at hand, Barkhuizen reached out to contacts at the Global Esports Federation and British Esports Association to see if SA’s chances could be salvaged.

It was then determined that a team from South Africa could participate in the qualifiers on Saturday. However, because of the failure to arrange a team from MSSA as an official South African team, this team will enter as Team World-Connected (South Africa) to fall in line with the qualifying requirements.

“There was a spot for South Africa to join the qualifier in Africa, all of these things go through Mind Sports South Africa,” said Barkhuizen.

“They were given an opportunity to appoint a team and didn't do anything. I was in Dallas for an event, when I arrived back people were up in arms that Mind Sports had squandered the opportunity.

“The qualifier is happening tomorrow (18 June). And because the Global Esports Federation and the British Esports Association is involved, I picked up the phone and had a chat for the greater good of SA.

“We had no team put forward and we are 100% the best in that space. It's disappointing, but not surprising (regarding MSSA’s handling of the qualifier).”

After the call, Barkhuizen had to scramble to get one of the top ranked teams in SA to commit to the event.

“I approached the top qualifiers for RLCS, Orlando Pirates and Bravado, and both were occupied for the first weeks of August with Worlds. The next best team was the ATK team.”

The team will now take on opponents from Ghana, Kenya and Malawi as they look to head to the main event in August.