Esports is rapidly expanding and becoming a lucrative realm of competitive video gaming. This global phenomenon is in a league of its own, with players who don’t look like traditional sports stars but have enormous income potential, major brand endorsements, and even their own fan base.
While many of the main eSports players are based in Europe, the United States, or Asia, the African continent is vying for a piece of a worldwide industry worth nearly $1.5 billion in 2020. It is predicted that Africa’s gaming business will grow by 12 % in the next five years, with Egypt and South Africa leading the way in terms of revenue.
Thabo ‘Yvng Savage’ Moloi, a South African eSports athlete, made history last year when he became the first African player to be sponsored by Red Bull. At the age of 18, he is South Africa’s best-rated FIFA player on PS4 and is ranked in the top 100 in the world. However, East Africa is home to some of the continent’s brightest eSports talents. Meet two Kenyan gamers who want to help put African eSports on the global map from which online bookmakers on the continent will benefit as well as they are increasingly putting eSports in their offers. Speaking of this particular country, check out the best bookmakers in Kenya as they gained a reputation across Africa for being trustworthy.
Sylvia ‘Queen Arrow’ Gathoni
Sylvia Gathoni, a 22-year-old law student by day and pro-gamer by night, is Kenya’s first female professional eSports athlete. Her gaming name is ‘Queen Arrow’ and the fighting game “Tekken 7” is her specialty. Despite the fact that women make up 35 % of all gamers worldwide, Gathoni claims to be one of just a few female eSports players on the continent, something she is determined to alter.
She has been a regular in the gaming scene since 2018 and is currently ranked 13th in Kenya at the age of 22. She is also the first East African woman to be sponsored by a multinational corporation. Her ascent to the top has not been without setbacks, the most significant of which, she claims, has been sexism in a male-dominated business, an issue that is gaining traction in the eSports world. While she acknowledges that the remarks that she succeeded only because the industry had to push women from time to time are painful, Gathoni says she is determined not to let them dissuade her from pursuing her goals, which include utilizing her law degree to help influence the gaming future.
She stated that she hopes to draft regulations that will serve as the foundation for the gaming industry, such as laws governing micro-transactions, which are minor in-game purchases of virtual goods. Gathoni also aims to use her platform to demonstrate that eSports is a legitimate career route, not a waste of time and that it does not differ from traditional careers such as law or medicine.
Brian ‘Beast’ Diang’a
Brian ‘Beast’ Diang’a is a famous Kenyan Mortal Kombat player who was born and raised in the heart of Kibera, the country’s largest slum. A 28-year-old athlete stated several times that he would not be here today if it weren’t for gaming since he chose to game over crime, going without food or drink for days, and wearing only one pair of shoes throughout his high school years.
But it was via gaming that he found the meaning in life. Diang’a refined his talents by watching YouTube videos and observing other players online because he couldn’t buy his own console. He began competing in local tournaments in 2014, and his professional career and infamous gaming alias ‘Beast’ took off from there. Since then, he has contributed significantly to the growth of the local economy and the development of eSports in Kibera, where he still resides and conducts gaming dens for local children. He currently works at Pro Series Gaming, where he hosts competitions for various platforms such as mobile, PC, and console every week.
The eSports sector in Africa continues to confront severe hurdles, such as slow Internet connections, a lack of infrastructure, and high import charges on equipment, making it difficult and expensive to get.