Rising FIFA Gamer “Busi96” Says Failure Allows You to Unearth the Greatest Version of Ourselves

Busisiwe “Busi96” Masango-Steenkamp is shattering barriers in territories that are unchartered in South Africa. E-sports has seen massive growth in the country, and it’s interesting to see that women are also taking up space in the virtual life of gaming. 

After taking a forced hiatus following an injury in Netball, Siiwe, as she is affectionately known, saw an advert with a well-known footballer that inspired her to get into the beautiful game.

Since then she has never looked back since. The trailblazer that she is, Masango-Steenkamp has since created and launch Bring the Ball, a podcast and website that focuses on football and the women’s game. She also helps teams with sponsorship while also assisting and informing women about trails happening in certain areas.

Most recently she was part of an initiative called Play FIFA A Girl – the catalyst which made her realize she wanted to actively pursue competitive playing in e-sports.

Play FIFA Like a Girl aims to create a safe space for girls and women to learn to play FIFA. The concept helps prepare lady gamers to compete with the men in the South African FIFA tournaments.

Lonwabo Nkohla had a chat with Siiwe:


Busi, how did you get into Football?

I have always been interested in football because of the 5 older Brothers, it wasn’t until I broke my arm in grade two, while playing netball did, I get into the game since I couldn’t use my right hand for two months. I saw the Nike ad with Ronaldinho so I decided to try out some of his tricks at home, little did I know that it would be the start for my love affair with the beautiful game. I started to watch more and more football. I started to play in my local park with my friends and soon enough I was playing in my primary school soccer team. I was so passionate about the game that I would spend hours practicing my skills and watching matches.


How did your love for Football birth Bring the Ball?

It stared during lock down when I would rant of Facebook and to my partner about certain things about women’s football and football in general. Most people loved my opinions, I was encouraged by them and family members to start writing football articles. From there I also decided that I will help women who are interested in playing soccer find a football team close to them from there we created an Instagram page , YouTube channel, podcast, and website with the relevant information.


Tell us more about Play FIFA Like a Girl?

Play FIFA like a girl is a workshop initiative started by Sam ‘ Tech girl ‘ Wright and Gabriella Brondani Rego with the assistance of Goliath Gaming in 2022 .The aim is to empower girls and women in the game and provide female FIFA players a way to take their gameplay into the e-sports world. A safe platform for Girls and women to learn and improve their skills . For the more advance players we are looking at developing your skills and strategies for the beginners we will teach you the basic of the game passing, shooting, and dribbling to become a better player. FIFA is a game that can be played by anyone regardless of gender. We would love to see more females competing competitively in e-sports.


Gaming is still somewhat an elite sport reserved for the privileged, how did you get into Gaming as a black woman?

I was privileged enough to have brothers that already had a PS2 console when I was board during school holidays I would play. Honestly speaking I didn’t know that there was an opportunity for females to compete in a professional set up until I attended Play FIFA Like A Girl workshop in 2022.


What is it about FIFA (the game) that attracted you and why is it beautiful as a game?

The fact that it was a football game was the biggest factor. It also helped my look at the bigger picture when it comes to understanding positions, player roles and games, tactics and the things that happen behind the sense (team management). FIFA gives you a glimpse of how a football club is managed.


FIFA has over these past years added some female representation from referees to administrators, what do you think of that and what more would you like to see as a woman immersed in the game as you?

Its growing in South Africa, though the scene is dominated by men, I’m glad that we are starting to see more women playing the game. The percentage of women that play FIFA is growing but at a slow rate. I would love to see more women take part in tournaments and esports teams to sign women.


What would you say is the importance of gaming in general and more so for women?

Games are essential for healthy development in early childhood and beyond. It allows people to experiment through trial and error, find solutions to problems, work out the best strategies, and build new confidence and skills.


It goes without saying that many women have probably never even touched a controller, can one look forward to a future in FIFA gaming when they’re a complete novice?

Most definitely, if you are interested try it out. When I started, I was not great and all , even at this moment I’m learning a lot . With that being said I would also refer back to my favourite quote “Your fear of looking stupid is holding you back”. We must fail to grow. As you avoid failure, you are avoiding challenges that go well beyond your comfort zone. You’re therefore avoiding step-changes in learning and growth. Through failure we unearth the great version of ourselves.


What is the big dream for you?

To see more ladies, go for their dreams, helping them achieve their goals. I personally see myself growing the game of football and e-sports for women. Coaching is defiantly in the plans and one day owning my own football team. Sports commentating is also in the picture. I am already involved in doing post-match analysing for university radios. I don’t want to limit the number of things that I can do to help grow e-sports and sports amongst women in South Africa

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