esports

Mango set to make his International debut

© Valve
Written by Sam Wright
We caught up with young gun, Wiljahne “Mango” Smith who recently joined the Goliath Gaming CSGO lineup to compete in Dreamhack Deli 2019 from the 6th to 8th of December.
Goliath Gaming has dominated the South African CSGO scene this year, finishing in the top 3 of nearly every tournament they’ve competed in. The line up hasn’t been as secure as the organisation would like though, with a few players fluttering in and out to fill the fifth spot. However, the new line up that will represent Goliath at the invitational tournament in India has been announced. Mango joins Rikus “ZipZip” Klue, Aaron “Slowye” van der Walt, Tyler “Adaro” Oliver and Dean “Massacre” Davids.
Mango says he was noticed by the organisation during Comic Con Africa and rAge 2019. He says there were some hints dropped that the team may want to consider inviting him for a trial and “the rest is history”. He played with the team for around 2 weeks before being told that the rest of the players were interested in having him join the line up, since then the team has been working every single day to prepare for Dreamhack Deli. Mango says that since the invite was sent for the international tournament he has been working to ensure his own individual game is on top form by watching demos of the team and the areas he plays to get a better understanding of how the team plays together and where his role is. Goliath’s new core is reasonably young with many of the players moving into the higher echelons of local CSGO at around the same age as Mango, which he says helps with synergy:
“The synergy has been good so far. We’re all around a similar age and the whole team and organisation has been extremely welcoming which has made it easier to get used to the atmosphere. I honestly don’t know what our chances are at Dreamhack Deli but we are going into this tournament with confidence and as much preparation as possible - to ensure we play the best CS we can as a team, and I’ll be happy with that.”
Mango found his way to CSGO thanks to Youtube. He was about 11 years old when he first started playing the title after seeing a CSGO YouTuber on his recommended playlist. He says the game looked entertaining so he gave it a shot and was instantly hooked. The St Alban’s College pupil does admit to finding it hard to balance the importance of school with his gaming career. He says school is his main priority and it does get far more attention than competitive gaming. However, he has a rather mature outlook on the importance of balance. He says CS ensures he isn’t all work and no play. He also says as he is only in Grade 9 his schooling schedule hasn’t been all that tough, yet. He says next year, entering Grade 10, will be harder and he’ll need to figure out how to balance esports with his education, but he is confident he can handle it:
“I have no doubt I’ll be able to do that.”
His positive outlook is further enhanced by the support from his parents. It took seeing him on South Africa’s biggest stage, at the 2019 Comic Con Africa for his parents to grasp what their son was doing.
“My parents didn’t really understand the concept of esports and how it has grown in South Africa until this year when I had the opportunity to play at Comic Con. After seeing me on the stage they now support me 100%. But they do always remind me that school is my priority number one.
Mango now has a lot to prove as he prepares to fly to India with Goliath Gaming. As he takes the next step in his competitive CSGO career he says he has looked towards the future of his chosen sport:
“When you think about your long term goal for your esports career, the standard answer would be to be the best, right? Be the best in the country and eventually the world, but I just want to reach my full potential. If I have reached my skill ceiling as a player and as an individual then I’ll be happy about all the time I’ve put in trying to improve myself. But, I am hoping to go overseas at some point and compete there.”