Over a short period of time, Thabo "Yvng Savage" Moloi's gaming journey has taken him from aspiring FIFA player at home, to tournament winner, to being announced as the first Red Bull Esports Athlete on the continent.
Moloi burst onto the scene at the VS Gaming FIFA Festival in 2018 - his first competitive esports tournament.
Despite being a relative unknown player, he beat an expansive field of 512 competitors to claim not only the top spot on PS4, but with it a cool R400 000 prize as well. Grabbing the attention of the esports community, he was quickly offered a spot with South African esports team, Goliath Gaming.
More recently, Moloi cemented his prowess in the game, playing alongside Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, musician Cassper Nyovest and Mamelodi Sundowns player, Sibusiso Vilakazi as a member of the eBafana Bafana team in the FIFA eNations Stay and Play Cup.
Moloi has worked hard to build a name for himself. Leading up to the VS Gaming FIFA Festival he was purchasing his own data to ensure he got in the FIFA practice he needed and watching online tutorials to help him improve.
"I play online every single day of my life," he added. "Leading up to the VS tournament, I trained with a good friend of mine who is a strong and established FIFA player himself. We would play and I would beat him, but when I started beating him consistently, I decided I was ready to compete."
Following his explosive entry onto the esports stage, Moloi's passion, ambition and focus saw him placing first in the official FIFA rankings for PS4 in South Africa which earned him his place to represent South Africa and lead the eBafana Bafana squad against 23 other countries in the FIFA eNations Stay and Play Cup.
Earlier this year, Moloi and his Goliath Gaming team-mates headed to the Middle East to compete in the FIFA eChampions League Qualifiers, although he wasn’t given the opportunity to prove his mettle as the competition was halted due to the rapid spread of the global pandemic.
Despite this brief setback, Moloi keeps looking forward and focuses on the events ahead, including the launch of the new FIFA 21 game in October.
From his humble beginnings as a 16-year-old underdog winning at his first competition, his story is a fantastic reminder of how determination and practice play pivotal roles in any success.