“Even if I die today, I will have no regrets. I will die with a clean heart.”
These were the words of Zimbabwe’s super fan Alvin Zhakata who finally arrived in Cairo, Egypt on Wednesday (10 July 2019) at 15H00 local time, just six hours before South Africa played against Nigeria in their Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Egypt 2019 quarter final clash.
His home country Zimbabwe might have been eliminated even before he could cross over from Ethiopia to Sudan, and more so his second team South Africa eliminated on the day of his arrival, but nothing could stop his excitement after achieving the end of a journey he started 50 days back.
Zhakata had started off the sojourn in Cape Town with his South African partner Botha Msila. When Botha had enough after their frustration to cross over into Ethiopia from Kenya, Zhakata decided to continue with the journey.
“I said to myself that I had to go on and not retreat because I had invested a lot of emotions, passion and energy into this and I was not ready to let my dream slip. I waited there for over three days then got my visa,” Zhakata said.
“Of course I am disappointed that I am here after my Zimbabwe has been eliminated, but I would have been more disappointed in myself if I had given up on my dream or probably flown here to watch us lose three games,” he added.
His ‘Cape to Cairo’ road trip started in Cape Town on May 21 and took him through Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and finally Egypt. He had problems getting entry visa in Ethiopia and more trouble getting an Egyptian visa in Sudan.
“When I arrived in Ethiopia, there was an uprising and internet was shut down. I again arrived in Sudan, and there was another flood of protests and internet was shut down too. It was hard and frustrating but through patience and faith in God, I am finally here,” he added.
Just between Ethiopia and Sudan, he spent a collective 20 days attempting to get his way in.
“I am more than proud of myself. I have done what no other person has dared to do. I would do it again f I had the chance, but this time, I would be wiser on what exactly to do,” says Zhakata who has also vowed to learn Swahili and Arabic when he lands back in Harare after experiencing communication difficulty on his trip.
He has promised to stay all through to the end of the tournament and he now hopes that his fellow COSAFA country Madagascar will put a smile on his face.