25 May 2023 – The weekend of the 20th and 21st of May brought with it the final hurdle ahead of the FIFAe Nations Cup 2023 finals set to take place in-person at a yet unconfirmed location later this year.
SAFA Gaming’s FIFA 23 team comprised of Kaylan Moodley, Julio Bianchi, Thabo Moloi and the recently-crowned SAFA eCup winner Zaid April all successfully navigated the hotly contested Playoffs and will join Qatar and Morocco as entrants representing the Middle East and Africa zone in the 2v2 competition format.
After a successful run in the Online Qualifiers in April that saw some new and returning member associations from across Africa and the Middle East take part, the SAFA Gaming FIFA 23 team earned one of the eight places in the last online segment of the competition. Playing from Johannesburg, the team made a hot start to the Playoffs on Saturday (20 May 2023). Kuwait were first up and the South African players took a foothold in the first match, winning 5-1 and going on towin 5-3 on aggregate over two legs.
Next, a 7-5 aggregate loss against Morocco saw South Africa drop down into the Losers Bracket, but as this would provide another route to qualification, the mission was far from over.
A run of results that saw a slim 6-5 victory over Egypt and a rematch against Kuwait that ended in a tighter 5-4 win secured safe passage to the Finals, with the rest of Sunday’s competitive action against the already qualified duo ofQatar and Morocco a mere formality for seedings in the yet-to-be-announced date and draw for the FIFAe Nations Cup 2023.
Preparations for the upcoming mid-year showpiece event will begin shortly as SAFA Gaming’s FIFA 23 team will now have the opportunity to showcase their skills on a level playing field – the Association’s first appearance based on qualification at an in-person final – where the SA players will take on the world’s finest FIFA 23 players and prove their worth as being amongst the popular football title’s Elite players.
Additional media: Official FIFAe Twitter – https://twitter.com/FIFAe/status/1660313776078323712?s=20