eSports athlete Julio ‘Beast’ Bianchi is honoured to be representing South Africa at the upcoming official FIFAe Club World Cup (#FeWC) in London.
The 22-year-old made Fifa history by being in the first team from South Africa to qualify and compete in the prestigious gaming tournament, which will be held in the UK later this year.
“It feels unreal to know that I’ve qualified to compete in the FIFAe World Cup – the biggest event on the Fifa calendar,” he told The Saturday Star this week.
“Being the first South African and African to ever qualify for this prestigious event is something I’m still so excited and grateful about.
Bianchi, a former semi-pro footballer who also received a spot in the Forbes 30 under 30 Class of 2021, will be competing in the tournament under his team, Goliath Gaming.
While he admits that the FIFAe Club World Cup will be challenging and that he will be up against the best football gamers in the world, he is confident that he will represent the nation well.
“I’m going to go and give it my absolute best shot and aim to make South Africa and Africa proud.”
The South African eSports athlete believes that he is well equipped to compete with the world’s best at the international gaming tournament.
“I’m a very focused individual and am clear about my priorities and what I want to achieve – not just in the eSports space, but also in my studies, career, and personal life.”
“When I go into any eSports tournament, I go in knowing that there are many very worthy opponents who want to win as much as I do, and that perspective fuels me to go in and give it my absolute all and do my very best, to hopefully get the win.”
Bianchi also attributed his commitment to consistency, strong work ethic and ability to work well under pressure to his success.
“Competing at the highest level, on the global stage, there is definitely a lot of pressure because you know that everyone else who has earned a spot to the FIFAe World Cup earned their right to be there and will bring their A-game.”
“I, personally, will use that pressure to fuel me to go in and give it my absolute best to make my family, my team, my country and continent proud.”
Bianchi’s love for gaming and Fifa, a series of association football video games developed and released annually, in general, started at a young age.
After his footballing career was halted by an injury, he began playing Fifa casually and socially.
“Having that first-hand experience on the real pitch definitely has benefited me on the virtual pitch,” Bianchi said.
A friend then informed him about a Fifa tournament in Cape Town.
“I entered the tournament and won, and that’s when I thought there’s maybe something here.”
Bianchi was still a free agent at the time, but he was soon approached by Goliath Gaming, a Multi-Gaming Organisation in SA.
“I was the first Fifa player to join their team, and I am now the captain of their Fifa squad,” he said.
Bianchi then worked his way up, ranking second in South Africa on the official Fifa21 Global Series Leaderboard and even earning a spot in the Forbes 30 under 30 Class of 2021.
I’ve always followed the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, and to be one of the first esports athletes in Africa to ever make such a prestigious list is something amazing.”While the eSports gamer was turning his hobby into a career, he felt that he had the full support from his loved ones.
“My parents have always been incredibly supportive of me and everything I do, and have often sacrificed a lot to try and give me the best opportunities in life – on the gaming, studies and personal life front.”
As he commits himself to prepare for the upcoming FIFAe Club World Cup, he acknowledges that a tough journey awaits him.
“At the moment, the focus is on the logistics and travel plan, given the current pandemic and travel restrictions around the world from South Africa, as well as me getting in as much FIFA21 practice as I can.”
“I’ll be going into a hyper-drive of practice in the week or two leading up to the FIFAe World Cup by means of an intense boot camp overseas.”
This boot camp, which is sponsored by fibre provider Vuma, will give Bianchi the chance to play alongside and compete against some of the top eSports athletes from around the world.
Bianchi said that the gaming and eSports industry is an exciting space to be in, and many other South Africans can follow in his footsteps.
“Try and compete in tournaments wherever you can,” he advised.
“It is a good way for you to practice and work your way up to competing against some of the best players in SA – and is usually a place that most gaming teams will keep an eye on to scout for players.”