FIFA eWorld Cup 2019™

FIFA eWorld Cup 2019™

FIFA eNations Cup

New Zealand's 'Honeybadger' embracing the journey 

Henry Blackmore of New Zealand poses
© Getty Images
  • 'Honeybadger' is New Zealand's No1 eFootballer
  • Embracing competitive EA SPORTS FIFA journey
  • Talks Hashtag United, future ambitions and more

Being a professional in any sport often means making sacrifices – and it’s the same with eFootball. Just ask New Zealand international 'Honeybadger'. The dedicated Kiwi is no stranger to extensive travel in order to compete in tournaments around the world.

'Honeybadger' made the 23,000-mile return journey from London to Auckland to contest New Zealand’s National Championship where he earned the right to represent his country at the FIFA eNations Cup™ 2019.

"I did the online qualifiers, so I was up for 24 hours in a row playing non-stop FIFA," he told FIFA.com. "I qualified for that on a Saturday, flew to New Zealand on a Wednesday, played two games of FIFA and came back.

"I live in England now but when I was living in New Zealand, I travelled to Europe four times last year and spent four or five months there, coming over two weeks either side so I wasn’t jet-lagged," he continued.

"If you’re from Australia or New Zealand, it’s a heck of a long way. Some of the Australian players are travelling over for events so often that they’re barely living at home these days."

Despite having to make such sacrifices, 'Honeybadger' sticks to his mantra of 'embracing the grind' and the 2018 FIFA eWorld Cup™ Grand Finalist is relishing his journey of full-time eFootball.

"I’m not tied down to a monotone job doing the same thing every day. I was working at KFC when I was at University and was doing the same thing all the time," he said.

"Now, my job changes every day – sometimes I’m playing for New Zealand, sometimes I’m practising, sometimes I’ll do a day of social media. I wouldn’t change it for anything. The best thing is the freedom: being able to pick and choose what I do each day. It’s been incredible doing this over the last three years or so."

A professional with Hashtag United, the pioneering football and eSports club, 'Honeybadger' made the permanent move to England in November 2018 and has enjoyed the move to full-time FIFA.

"It’s the first year I’ve really been full-time," he said. "Last year I was finishing my fifth year [of University] so it was pretty hectic. I enjoy playing at Hashtag - I play real football as well as the FIFA side of things and it’s great getting involved with the guys."

With the dramatic growth of eFootball in recent years, more windows of opportunity are opening within the sport for players. Having competed at the biggest tournaments on the global stage – and still very much focused on performing at the highest level – 'Honeybadger' nonetheless has an eye on the future.

"I’m 23 now so I’ll keep going [with eFootball] for as long as I enjoy it," said 'Honeybadger', who has a joint degree in business and humanities. "It depends what comes my way but I’d love to work within eSports anyway.

"I’d love to be managing players and I think I get along with a lot of the guys as well. I’m more of a people person than anything. I don’t know what age I’ll stop playing. I’ll see the growth and then see where things lie."

For now, though, 'Honeybadger' will be ‘embracing the grind’ as New Zealand’s leading eFootballer.

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