Author: Erica MathyeWith the world shifting from traditional to digital, the gaming industry has played a significant role in unifying forces, closing the digital divide, and providing opportunities. This has made Mamelodi Sundowns make a return this year with the EA FIFA Championship after launching the tournament in November 2022. Mamelodi Sundowns has taken the initiative to help close the digital divide and provide opportunities by giving back to the community through this collaboration.The tournament, which occurred in November 2023 and the final round in December, saw gamers from different backgrounds, provinces, and age groups participating to stand a chance to win the R200 000 prize pool. Last year, South African gamer Kaylan Moodley was named the winner of the R200 000 prize money and bragging rights for the inaugural Mamelodi Sundowns EA FIFA23 Championship.

It was no different to this year's competition as the seasoned gamer came out on top to retain his title in the tournament. Speaking to the Mamelodi Digital magazine, Moodley expressed his excitement for winning the tournament back-to-back.

"It feels nice to win again. The first time was nice, so I had to do it twice. Believe it or not, I had no preparation whatsoever to play in this tournament. We are playing the older version of the game, so I came in with literally no preparation. I have been learning from the guys along the way. I played against a gamer who in my opinion, is a fantastic player and the best FIFA 2023 player in South Africa. I learned a lot from him," he ecstatically stated.
Moodley stated that we were definitely not seeing the last of him in this year's rendition of the competition and that he would be making a return even next year.

"I just love competing. I'm going to do this for as long as possible and hopefully win as many Mamelodi Sundowns FIFA Championships along the way. I will try to make it three in a row next year. We'll see what happens, but I am certain the competition will be harder," he said.
Mamelodi Sundowns ambassador Tiyani' Shuga' Mabunda, who was present in the finals, shared how hard this year's competition was compared to last year's.
"We are happy to have had another successful FIFA Championship. This year's competition was more competitive. There were more competitors, and you could see the tension among the players. This tells us that they know each other's capabilities. They found themselves in difficult positions," he said.

"I've seen that Kaylan Moodley has so much confidence in the game and he trusts his abilities. In the final, he lost the first round, but he came back and won the final and made sure that he retains his title. It's really good to have a familiar face back. We also need to applaud Thabo who was a tough and exciting competitor. The level of competition has definitely increased but it's no surprise because that's Mamelodi Sundown’s style of play," he continued.

With Moodley being no stranger to the eFootball world and as a gamer who has represented South Africa on the biggest eFootball stages, both nationally and internationally, Shuga encouraged young gamers to keep fighting and follow the journeys of the likes of Moodley, as the industry is evolving into a fledged career path.
Hlompho Kekana, Kaylan Moodley and Tiyani Mabunda"I'd say to the gamers, keep on participating and always remain consistent. It was really great to see Kaylan being consistent in his performance. If the young gamers follow that kind of consistency, they can become the next champions."