South Africa’s best young CS:GO Players

South Africa's best young CS:GO Players

Actually, a more appropriate title would be: here’s three young South African CS:GO players that I think are really good and therefore so should you. It turns out websites don’t like such long titles. So, I had to go with something a bit more snappy that perhaps gives the wrong impression. This isn’t some list where I’m ranking players from the best on down. It’s just an opinion piece where I put the spotlight on three young players that I think are poised to make their mark going forward. Also, I tend to shy away from offering opinions on players that I’ve only watched a handful of times. I’ve seen plenty of potential, but these are the guys I’ve seen enough of to be confident in.

Slick shoes

Movement is an underrated skill in the top echelons of South African CS:GO. The only two players that immediately come to mind with exceptional movement skills are Johnny “JT” Theodosiou and Aran “Sonic” Groesbeek. What do I mean by movement? The ability to consistently make highly skilled jumps that involve air strafing, pixel perfect placement and impeccable timing to achieve. Think running on the lip of sniper window on Mirage and then jumping on the railing on a catwalk in the vein of KennyS or JW. Or being able to chain multiple bunny hops together to reach a position a split second early to surprise the enemy and then deftly escape unscathed.

The only player I’ve casted in recent times that I’ve seen pulling off similar feats of movement excellence is Tyler “adaro” Oliver, currently of Online Kingdom. What’s encouraging is that he does the same things on LAN. I had the opportunity to cast a couple of adaro’s matches playing in a mixed team at the 1337 LAN in Nelspruit and he was pulling them off in high-pressure situations as well. He’s mostly been a primary AWPer and for that particular role, sick movement skills are a massive asset towards being mobile with the gun.

It’s not just fancy footwork that he has though. He’s great with rifles and is clutch too. His firing speed as an AWPer is right up there with some of the best. My only real criticism of him is his inconsistency in terms of hitting shots with the big green gun. Like some of the world’s streakier AWPers, he tends to hit the difficult flicks and miss some of the easier shots. If he can find more consistency, adaro could well become a dominant sniper locally. We’ve got plenty of capable AWPers, but very few that you could call star players. 18-year old adaro could be that player if he continues his development. I have no doubt he’ll be snapped up by a bigger team sooner rather than later.

New Found Glory

Mark “Spazz” Jebens has seemingly been around for a long while at the top level of SA CS:GO. We’ve seen him in xTc Esports colours for an extended period, followed by a stint in one of the best local teams, Big 5 Esports. He had a sort of homecoming, finding himself in xTc colours again of late. What may surprise you is that he’s only 17 years old.

Spazz is an extremely effective role player. Give him a job to do and come hell or high water, he’s the guy that will get it done for you on the server. We’ve seen him fulfill multiple roles for his teams and still do a good job. He’s even been known to pick up the AWP and do exemplary work with it in the latter days of his time in Big 5 and at points of late for xTC. He is the ultimate unselfish team player. This is a guy that will seldom take a starring role but will never let the team down.

At 17 years old, most players just want to be the star. They want to frag heavily and be the center of attention. Spazz has all the skills to be a star player but seems to be happy doing what is required to help the team win. He’s still got plenty of time to get even better. This is a player that will be an invaluable asset on any good team. He will undoubtedly win some titles in his career, even if he might not always receive the accolades he deserves because of his team-centric approach. Should he decide he wants to be a star player in future, he’s also certainly capable of stepping up to the plate.

Billy Talent

No, his name isn’t Billy. Some folks love to hate him. Some straight up hate his guts. The rest are in awe of his abilities. It’s the now reformed and newly elevated to Energy eSports player, Gareth “MisteM” Ries. He is the complete young player I’ve seen since Sonic. Still only 16 years old, he’s taken the hardest road possible to compete at this level after being slapped with a three-year DGL ban for cheating. He’s changed his ways and put in the hard work despite his many detractors. It certainly shows on the server.

He got more kills than any other player in ESEA Season 27. This even while his team got stomped in the final at the hands of Energy eSports. He’s unproven at LAN, which is something he will need to address with some good offline performances. MisteM’s skill set in a game is exceptional. His pistol prowess and his proficiency with rifles point to a rare talent. MisteM is incredibly clutch and has shown the ability to hard carry his team in the past. Now, he has to prove that he can integrate into a team of stars and take direction and instruction from more experienced players. Some of his rough edges will need to be worked off and his game refined. If he manages to make the Energy move work for himself and the team, it could spell trouble for anyone that he faces.

Bad Brains

Do you agree with me? Disagree? Sound off in the comments and let us know the young players you think are worth keeping an eye on. Congratulations if you noticed the titles in the article are all punk band names. 🙂



Michael “axtremes” Harmse is a Counterstrike: Global Offensive commentator, analyst, desk host and interviewer. Michael lives and breathes CSGO and esports. He is dedicated to growing esports in South Africa, one tournament, article and stream at a time.

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