Registrations for the MSSA’s 2012 Inter-School League are now open. With 8 schools already confirmed to participate this year, we spoke to Colin Webster, President of Mind Sports South Africa (MSSA) to get a bit more info on how schools can get involved in eSports.
NAG: What is the MSSA and how is it involved in the Inter-Schools League in SA?
Colin: Mind Sports South Africa (MSSA) is the recognised National Federation for eSports in South Africa in terms of the Sport and Recreation Act (as amended). The MSSA is also a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and is also a founder member thereof. Due to the MSSA’s level of accreditation , the MSSA is the only body that can run official championships in South Africa and select teams to officially represent South Africa. As you are no doubt aware, there have been many changes regarding school sport. The Department of Basic Education has granted the National Federations the right to promote sport at school level and the Federations are now responsible for all school leagues. Obviously, the MSSA in promoting eSports as a sport have the responsibility of ensuring the development of eSports at school level.
NAG: How long has this league been running?
Colin: The league began on a limited basis in 2010. Everybody hoped that it would be a much grander affair, but what with the unique problems that were posed during 2010, limited success was to be had.
NAG: Is this a national league?
Colin: It is hoped that this league will encompass every high school in the country. The system to be used is the same as every other sport. There will be a system of clusters that will deliver a regional champion. A competition will be held between the regional Champions to determine the Provincial champions, and lastly, a championship will be held between the provincial champions to determine the national champion.
NAG: Is it only open to high school students?
Colin: Yes. It must be noted that only schools that have eSports clubs as recognised by their governing bodies may participate in the inter-school league.
NAG: What games form part of this league?
Colin: The games for 2012 are still under discussion. However, for both 2010 and 2011 WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne, DotA, and CounterStrike 1.6 were played.
NAG: Does the league currently have any sponsors?
Colin: In 2010 and 2011, the MSSA was lucky to have ASUS support the league. The sponsorship for 2012 is still being finalised.
NAG: Where do events (if any) take place?
Colin: The school league is like any other sporting league. It all takes place at school with home and away matches. Thus the computer rooms of the schools have become the new ‘battlefields’ where learners can defend their school’s honour. Only in exceptional cases, will centralised venues be used to accommodate schools that do not have the ability to host matches.
NAG: Are there any benefits to schools when joining this league?
Colin: The benefits are many. Not everybody wants to play hockey, rugby, etc, but many learners do wish to play eSports on a competitive level. Through playing in the inter-school league learners are able to learn the camaraderie that exists in other sports, play for something other than themselves, become stars within their own schools, and make new friends as they meet face-to-face the gamers who will oppose them. Not only are there the social skills, but gamers can too earn school colours as well as School Provincial Colours.
NAG: So do players/teams in this league qualify for sports colours? How does this work?
Colin: Each school has its own criteria for awarding school colours. However, the league also allows teams to earn School Provincial Colours. The team that represents its province will not just be playing for the glory of their school, but for their province as well as such team shall be awarded School Provincial Colours by the MSSA.
NAG: How would schools and scholars sign up to be a part of the league?
Colin: All an interested school has to do is send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and the MSSA will send all the paperwork to the school. The fees for any school to join are far from onerous and are a R100.00 affiliation fee per annum (for the club) and a R5.00 Registration Fee per Scholar per annum. Such affiliation also allows the school teams to play in any/all of the MSSA’s other provincial and national championships as well.
NAG: When does the league take place?
Colin: The League will start in the second term and run until the end of the third term.
NAG: Can you tell us which schools have already entered?
Colin: The schools that have been approved so far are: Roedean College; St John’s College; St Stithian’s College; Northcliff High; Pretoria Boys High; Hendrik Verwerd Hoer Skool; Doxa Deo; St Albans College. There are several others that will be processed this week.