What would you do for the love of football? How far would you go for a chance to watch the biggest continental football event of the year? Will you cross mountains, rivers, plains, and valleys? Well, Alvin Zhakata, a Zimbabwean man, trekked 10,000 km to cheer for the Zimbabwean warriors at the Africa Cup of Nations 2019 in Cairo this past month. He traveled from Cape Town to Cairo by road enduring visa delays, internet blackouts and revolutionary protests all for the love of football. It took him a total of 44 days; he missed his team who were eliminated in the first round, but the CAF president gave him a VVIP ticket to the final between Algeria and Senegal last Friday.
What Zhakata did, is no simple feat. He did what even the infamous Cecil Rhodes could not achieve: go from Cape Town at the tip of Africa, to Cairo at the very top of the continent. For those who do not know: the words Cape to Cairo immediately bring to mind the European Scramble for Africa, Cecil Rhodes and his ambition for Great Britain to control the whole of Africa from Cape to Cairo, and of course to link all British colonies via the Cape to Cairo Railway crossing Africa from south to north by rail. The Cape to Cairo Road was also planned to roughly connect the same countries; however, it is not praticable today, and has remained more of a dream or rather a possibility, which needs revamping.
What Zhakata did is not just a show of undying love of a fan for football, but also a political statement to all African leaders: we need roads to connect each other; we need better visa system, or rather a borderless Africa for better and safer travel, increased trade among each other: we need a united Africa. Zhakata’s statement is one of Unity,… African Unity. Enjoy the excerpt below from BBC.
A Zimbabwean nurse travelled from Cape Town to Cairo by road enduring visa delays, internet blackouts and revolutionary protests all for the love of football.
Alvin “Aluvah” Zhakata had intended to make it to Egypt for the opening match of the Africa Cup of Nations on 21 June, when Zimbabwe’s Warriors took on the hosts.
But he missed the match because his epic journey took much longer than expected.
Yet thanks to those following his adventures on Twitter, he has now become a celebrity – and the African football boss has presented him with a ticket to this Friday’s final between Algeria and Senegal.
When the 32-year-old arrived in the Egyptian capital last week, completing his 44-day 10,000km (6,200-mile) trip, he said it was well worth it despite some nerve-wracking experiences.
His other more sobering discovery was that “Africa is not friendly to Africans” – in terms of visas and borders. “And some of the visa fees for African countries, they are actually more expensive than visa fees when you want to go to Europe – and the waiting period takes too long. “I believe we need a borderless Africa.”
The journey began on 27 May on a route passing through South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.
[…] His one disappointment has been the performance of the Warriors, who crashed out in the first round – amidst rows over pay.
But he says his achievement – which has become one of the biggest stories of this Africa Cup of Nations tournament – shows it pays to “dare to dream“.
“If you have a passion for something, go for it. Pursue it until you get it. It may be delayed, but delay is not denial – be patient and be strong, because the harder the battle, the sweeter the victory,” he says.
One thought on “Cape to Cairo: Trekking 10,000 km for the African Cup of Nations”
Wow, that’s a huge feat going from South Africa to Egypt. It’s disheartening about all the border politics and everything though.