Robson Sharuko in CAIRO, Egypt
MSILA BOTHA’S beaming smile, and songs and dances as Bafana Bafana shocked hosts Egypt at the AFCON finals, provided some of the fine sights and sounds for the South Africans on an unforgettable night at the Cairo International Stadium on Saturday.
But, as the celebrated cheerleader enjoyed himself, with the support of some Zimbabweans with whom he has struck a pact that they support both the Warriors and Bafana Bafana at this tournament, it was easy to forget about Alvin “Aluvha’’ Zhakata.
The man whom, last month, was his partner as they started a daredevil road trip from Cape to Cairo, to watch this Nations Cup finals which, for Botha, ended on the border between Kenya and Ethiopia.
After a few frustrating days in the jungle, unable to enter Ethiopia because of visa issues, Botha returned to Nairobi and celebrated South African sports journalist, Robert Marawa, organised for him to fly here for the AFCON finals.
A defiant Aluvha refused to give up the mission and, after finally getting a visa, he entered Ethiopia and proceeded to Addis Ababa where he found a country in lockdown after an apparent coup attempt led to the assassination of the defence chief.
Without internet to communicate about his whereabouts, and only being helped by Zimbabwean embassy officials in Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, Aluvha kept battling on and arrived in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, itself a centre of civil strife in recent month
Once he got a chance to communicate with the world, his first call was to The Herald, to tell us he was alive and well and was hoping to be here in Egypt to watch the Warriors’ final Group A battle against the DRC.