It was around one month ago when Zambia's Mr. 5000 took the crown in our first season for Mortal Kombat 11. The victory secured him a cool R15,000 cash and a spot at the $16,000 Celtic Throwdown event. That battle in Ireland looms for the African (k)ombatant this coming weekend. We figured it was therfore a pretty good time to catch up with him and find out about he feels  about heading over, and how he has been preparing. 

In his path stands over 100 fighters, including one of the current top fighters in the world, Dominique McLean, better known as SonicFox. Celtic Throwdown runs 31 August and 1 September.

Congratulations on being the African representative at the Celtic Throwdown Mortal Kombat 11 tournament in Dublin. Do you feel a little bit of pressure going into the event, carrying the weight of expectation of an entire continent?

Going into the Celtic Throwdown tournament carrying the expectations of the African content is a bit over whelming just like last time I went for Evo. But I like that, because I work well under pressure and I will do my very best to represent and put Africa on the map.

What would you consider a success from the event for yourself on a personal and competitive level?

For me, I am positive with how my pools are looking that I can get myself a spot in the top eight and win if these guys sleep on my skill level in this game. I have been grinding hard for this and am sure I am going to perform the way I am supposed to.

How have you been preparing for tournament?

I have been preparing for the tournament by studying the opponents that are attending. Then learning and grinding on how I am going to counter each and every opponent in my path. I have also been playing a lot with the guys from the African FGC (fighting game community), who have been helping me prepare for this.

Who are you looking to main at the event, and how many additional picks do you have up your sleeve?

I am trying to perfect my Cetrion and Jacqui. I recently picked up on Noob Saibot and he is really look strong IMO, but well it all comes to the mind games. When you are under pressure I may counter-pick some people because I actually play almost the whole roaster on a high level.

What would you like to see happening in the future for the African fighting community?

What I would like to see happening for the African fighting community in the future is simply seeing more platforms and tournaments like the previous ACGL one, to allow kids like us to grind hard and be a symbol of hope for people who really want to play fighting games competitively. If the NRS actually included Africa as part of their online qualifiers so that winner from all the countries can go and represent Africa would be really good for us. The rest of the gamers who play fighting games competitively will be motivated and work harder on becoming better and grinding. That will definitely help people or gamers in Africa to have a passion for the game, and this will help us grow the FGC community in Africa.

All the best for the event, and thank you for taking time out to chat. Is there anything you would like to add before you head off?

Before I head off I would like to address my fans and the people who have helped me reach where I am. I would like to say thank you guys for the support that you have shown your boy Mr 5000 and I really will do my best to represent us well this time, and secure a top eight spot - not for me - but for all us in Africa.

The entire team at ACGL would like to wish Mr. 5000 all the best in Ireland. The Mortal Kombat 11 action from the event will be streamed via the NetherRealm channel, so tune in and if you see our representative in action, show him some love. You can find Justin 'Mr. 5000' Banda on Twitter.

If you missed the action from our finale, you can catch the video on demand below:

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