Handsome, smart, on his way up: South Africa sports agent Blaze should have it all. Instead, all he’s got is a whole lot of problems.
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26 Nov 2020 - 8:32 AM  UPDATED 26 Nov 2020 - 8:32 AM

Waking up in a woman’s bed with no idea how he got there, stumbling outside in the middle of the night into a strange neighbourhood, finding his formerly pristine ’71 MG roadster crashed into a pole with “Natalie” written on the windshield in lipstick: it’s just another night for South Africa’s would-be top sports agent Slindile ‘Blaze’ Magoba (Khumbulani Kay Sibiya).

 

But it quickly becomes clear that there’s more to Agent than fancy cars, sharp suits, flash offices and catchy tunes. Blaze’s day has barely started and already the pressure’s on. His top client Lesego 'Ace' Moleko (Sisanda Henna) is bossing him around, his chief rival Jean-Pierre (Virgile Bramly), aka “JP” is threatening to destroy him, his boss Christopher Kilembe (Anthony Oseyemi) has given him eighteen hours to seal a big deal or he’ll shut their sports agency down, and little does Blaze know it but that drunken one night stand just might blow the lid off a secret he’s been trying to keep buried for the last six years.

Soccer with a South African Spin

The South African puts a new spin on this behind-the-scenes sports drama. There’s a firm focus on the costs (and benefits) of sporting fame; egos run rampant and temptation lies around every corner – if you can survive the rivalries and politics that turns every conversation into a negotiation. But the diverse cast of characters cuts through the clichés, making the tantrums and sponsorship deals seem fresh. It’s easy to get used to the way sport works: this underlines just how strange and excessive the world of high-end athletes can be.

 

It’s the World Game

Speaking of diversity, Agent features a cast of characters from all across the globe, and from all walks of life. From the mean streets of Abidjan, Herve Toure (Yannick Konan) is the up-and-comer Blaze needs to sign to secure his future. Christopher is originally from the urban jungle that is Lagos, while the sports scene’s social media expert Jade (Vinaya Sungkur) is from India, and Jean-Pierre’s French origin is never in doubt.

 

Even the South African characters slip easily between languages, rapidly switching between English and Xhosa or Zulu. Throughout the series the subtitles flicker on and off as the characters dip in and out of multiple languages in one conversation. It’ll keep casual viewers on their toes – this is a series you have to pay attention to – but it’s a reminder that these people are players in a game that covers the globe.

You Can’t Have a Sport Without Characters

Blaze is our guide through this world, but he’s got more than his fair share of problems. Despite his big plans, he’s been underperforming as an agent, and if he doesn’t get his act together and fast, it’s all about to come crashing down around him. Not that his main client cares; Lesego is the kind of guy with a licence plate that reads “GOD” and who says things like “I want you on tap – the whole fucking day”. Eighty percent of Blaze’s revenue is coming from Lesego: with that kind of power over him, Blaze doesn’t have much choice but to dance to his tune.

 

Christopher isn’t exactly pleased with the situation either. As he tells Blaze, “It’s about results, and you aren’t getting them. It’s about winning and you, my friend, are busy losing”. So with the transfer window closing and all the big deals still on the table, he lets Blaze know everything they’ve worked for is on the line. “Your day of reckoning has arrived, my son. Good luck.”

Running to the future, running from the past

Blaze’s present day dramas would be enough to keep anyone on a knife-edge. On top of his deadlines and client worries, rival agent Jean-Pierre is a great villain; his first conversation with Blaze has him saying “I get who I want when I want how I want – and I’m going to destroy you, just for the hell of it”. But the real threat throughout this series is the secret Blaze shares with Christopher and Lesego.

Six years ago on one tragic evening, something happened that would bind the trio together forever. It’s exactly the kind of secret he doesn’t want people digging into. But when it turns out that the lipstick-wielding Natalie (Tarryn Wyngaard) he had a drunken one-night stand with is actually a decorated and high-rising South African detective, he might have just introduced into his life the one person that could bring everything crashing down around them.

 

Agent is now streaming at SBS On Demand.

 

Follow the author here: @morrbeat

 

 

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