When it comes to football, Africa's current FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC) online leader is convinced of a few things: going to and winning May's FIWC Grand Final in Barcelona, and watching South Africa win this year's FIFA Confederations Cup.
With online competitors numbering over the 350,000 mark, there's no doubt that the FIWC is tougher than ever before. However, the 23-year-old South African remains confident and consistently features in the top 15, never losing Africa's top spot on the leaderboard. "With some hard work, I'm sure I'll qualify and win the tournament this year," says mikkaeel, (real name Abubakr Akhalwaya Ebrahim).
Despite currently residing in Leeds, the Johannesburg native has already booked front-row tickets for the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009 and is eager to see Brazil's Kaka and Pato in the flesh. Could mikkaeel witness Bafana Bafana (The Boys) raise the FIFA Confederations Cup after winning his very own FIFA title one month prior? In football, virtual or real, anything is possible.
European dominance in the top five succumbed to increasing pressure from Central America and the Caribbean in Week 10. jpcuracao, from the Netherlands Antilles, claimed second while Mexican's zzerecero and floera64 went fourth and fifth respectively.
dutchrevenge held on to first place despite the surge on Europe and countryman the-return1 claimed third. Belgian MASSOUD_4030 (sixth), Germany's Ihleburg (seventh) and Frenchman LIL-GAME77 (eighth) temporarily hold onto the remaining three UEFA spots.
Saudi Arabia's Hussain_H (ninth) and Australian ThE_HaUnTeD_07 (14th) have their hands firmly on the two available AFC tickets. The pair of potential grand finalists should keep an eye on jamodamo (20th) though. The Australian has been sneaking up the table and is just 299 points behind Asia's number two. In the Oceania zone, nzjoker maintained his footing at the top of the hill despite slipping in the world rankings.
A pair of Brazilians guard South America's two online tickets to the Grand Final. dignitasmath (13th) and playArtShev (26th) will have to clutch onto those Playstation®3 controls extra-tight with the likes of SSS-Pires_BR and buffo2k8 lurking in the shadows.
For the seventh consecutive week, Africa's champion is mikkaeel. Egyptian Legend_never_die (36th) is the closest threat, some 812 points in the background.
Will Week 10's champions fend off challengers long enough to cement online victory, and with it a coveted birth at the Grand Final? Only time will tell.
FIFA 09 fans remember, there are two ways to qualify: claim one of the thirteen online places, or win one of the remaining live qualifiers. To view a listing of live qualifier venues and dates click on the link to the right.