In a post on his Facebook page, Robert “PandaTank” Botha, likely South Africa’s most prominent eAthlete, announced his retirement from all professional eSports.
PandaTank’s retirement comes after a short – but successful – professional career playing StarCraft II. He can always lay claim to being South Africa’s first StarCraft II Grandmaster – a title which grants entrance to the league where the top 200 players from each region compete. In his announcement, PandaTank remarks his ability is “not bad for a dude that practices on 200 ping”. Not bad indeed: in 2012 he placed in the top eight at the 2012 IeSF World Championships, one of the most competitive and prestigious tournaments in the sport.
For a brief professional career, he sure has achieved a lot – but as sad as we are to see him go, PandaTank feels he achieved everything he wanted to:
“All-in-all it has been an amazing, life changing experience. I got to travel to places I probably would never have been able to (or at least not any time soon), I made tons of awesome friends along the way and I even managed to inspire the odd person here and there through my ‘triumphs’ .”
Part of PandaTank’s reason for retiring appears to be that “being a professional gamer in South Africa isn’t a sustainable career.” This is despite being signed as a full-time player in 2013 by CMStorm, a notable StarCraft II player sponsor. This is a harsh reason to lose one so talented, but PandaTank’s example has already inspired a new generation of talented local StarCraft II players. Hopefully, local eSports will grow to the point that the careers of skilled players such as PandaTank can be supported.
PandaTank was South Africa’s first professional eAthlete, but because of his groundbreaking career, he certainly won’t be the last.
Check out PandaTank’s full statement below: