This story originally appeared on and is re-posted from, FIFA.gg — FIFA’s official e-sports website.
20 December 2021 — “I believe I have that fearlessness in me to never give up until the very end,” says Julio Bianchi, a student finishing up his accounting degree and one of the South Africans looking to fly their flag in the competitive FIFA scene. This year, he is representing the partnership of Serious about FIFA and Goliath Gaming – SAF x Goliath – alongside his fellow countryman, Kaylan Moodley.
The team was formed earlier this month, so that Kaylan and Bianchi could continue to compete together in the 2v2 tournaments on the Road to the FIFAe Club World Cup™. Both of them have been competing for a few years in FIFAe, but had failed to make any massive in-roads into the main stages of the tournaments – that is, until last year.
The pair almost qualified for the FIFAe Club World Cup 2021™ in the Middle East and Africa region – and last year Bianchi managed to comeback from a loss in the first round of the Playoffs through the losers bracket to qualify for the FIFAe World Cup 2021™, becoming the first South African to ever do so.
They’ve already made a quick start to this season as well – qualifying for the FGS 22 Team of the Year Cup, which was unfortunately called off – but it does mean that they’ll both be back competing for the FGS 22 Team of the Season Cup later in the season.
BeastBianchi’s goals for the season and main inspirations
“When I go to bed at night, I always feel like there’s people out there that want it more than me. That motivates me, encourages me to keep pushing to achieve my goals,” explains Bianchi. “I think it’s something that’s embedded in me as a young person, I would always fight until the very end. My father is the same – he motivated me, even in football, in esports. It gives me that extra courage and strength. I strive to be like my father in every sense of the word. My parents are my biggest motivators.”
Bianchi sees EA SPORTS FIFA much in the same way as a traditional football fan might sit down to watch a real life game. “Each individual has their own unique style. I play like Liverpool. I like to play aggressive, attacking football, I don’t get tens of thousands of clean sheets, I’m more excited to score ten goals a game.” However, Bianchi makes it very clear that he is not a Liverpool fan, but in fact his love of Arsenal dominates his life, explaining how he grew up watching Thierry Henry with his family.
“My goals are the same each season. It’s to qualify for the FIFAe World Cup. I want to show to my country, South Africa, my continent, the world that I have the talent and capability to compete against the best players in the world. I want to win every game. If I fall short, I want to come back as soon as possible.”
He compares himself and Kaylan to Messi and Ronaldo – pushing each other to become better. “He’s so young, so clever. It fascinates me, seeing how different people approach the game. Kaylan is my biggest rival, but Msdossary is one of the best players in the world. I managed to play him a couple of times in the last few years, but hopefully the next time I come out victorious.”
One of his major achievements in life was being the first esports athlete to make the Forbes Africa list – something he has followed his whole life. “It gave me a great sense of pride. It was a huge shock to me. I have to thank my team for that. They went out of their way, and I never thought it was possible.”
Bianchi says one of his major dreams has already been accomplished – but he is also just getting started. “I want to travel the world. Play against the best players, the likes of August ‘Agge’ Rosenmeier, Msdossary, Tekkz, and just having that dream, one day, of shaking their hand. Thanks to FIFAe, I was able to do that, so I’m very honoured and privileged to be in this position.”
“I grew up in a rough neighbourhood in Cape Town. Ten years ago, it changed a lot. It’s difficult to see my society and environment like this. I try to be an example to the youth and kids out here that positivity is possible – something good can come from our area. I wanted to motivate them and inspire them – especially my sister’s children that live with us – you can achieve anything you put your mind to. It feels like I have something extra to play for.”
Youngster Kaylan’s dream of playing at the top
“My goal every season is to 1-up myself. I want to qualify for the FIFAe World Cup. The FIFAe Club World Cup would be a nice thing to qualify for, hopefully [Bianchi] and I can get it done. Julio and I really wanted to be on the same team, we’re probably the two best players in Africa, we’re putting South Africa on the map, which is what it’s all about.”
Both Bianchi and Kaylan really attribute their strength inside FIFAe to a mindset. “Having that mentality that you can do it year after year is something that is a strength of mine. I look up to DullenMIKE. I think he won his first major at 16 years old, beating former world champions. He had a good mentality, which is one of my biggest strengths too. FIFA has done really well with organising programs to help players with mental health, the mental side is really important.”
“Msdossary is my biggest rival. I remember I qualified for the Romania event and he beat me on pens. I was up in the game, but I’m still not over that game. It’s always just one goal in the game that decides it. There’s just something about him, he knows how to win a game. He always gets the job done.”
“[Esports] has allowed me to make a living out of playing FIFA. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to give South Africa that status. The development of esports here has been quite slow, and I hadn’t been overseas before I started playing FIFA, so it’s been a great opportunity. First, my biggest motivation is to win the FIFAe World Cup. I saw Julio qualify last year for it, and I want to get to that level this year. [Bianchi] is a fantastic player, I watched him in Amsterdam in 2018, and I get my motivation from him.”
Kaylan’s love of football spans as far back as he can remember, and he was also a talented footballer when he was a child. “When I was younger, up to 14, I played in the academy in South Africa for SuperSport Utd. I was doing athletics at school one day and I tore my left hamstring, and I was just never the same. I can still feel it to this day. I still love football, I’m a massive Manchester United fan. Cristiano Ronaldo is my idol, and I have to go to Old Trafford next year. I told myself, ‘I have to see him play at least once.’”
“I try to make my family proud in everything I do. I still have to preach to them that esports is a viable route for me and they’re slowly coming round to the idea. They provided me with everything I needed before I had the facilities to get it myself. My grandfather is my biggest supporter, always asking me when I’m going to my next tournament and my next interview. I’m very grateful to have that figure in my life.”
Kaylan is confident that he’ll be able to break through this season and right his past wrongs of not being able to qualify for the major tournaments. “My biggest downfall last year was not making it out of the Swiss format in the [FIFA 21 Global Series West Asia] Playoffs last year. I think I conceded at the last minute and my head just dropped. I just fell short, but you just have to keep working. This year, I just plan on 1-upping that. Rectify my mistake and qualify for the biggest tournaments.”
Bianchi and Kaylan both look focused on putting South Africa on the map this year. They are set on playing not just for themselves, but for their family, community, and country that they have behind them as they fly the flag for African esports.