Grace Chingoma Sports Reporter
AFRICANS reacted furiously yesterday after Zimbabwean daredevil, Alvin “Aluvah’’ Zhakata, whose Cape to Cairo adventure to watch the AFCON finals captured the imagination of the world, was surprisingly left out of a short-list for FIFA awards last night.
The world football governing body released a short-list for the award, handed last night at the FIFA awards ceremony in Milan, Italy, and Zhakata didn’t feature among those who were set to get the vote.
That torched furious reactions from Africans who turned to Twitter to pour out their frustrations.
“I’m voting for @AlvinZhakata for sure!’’ Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister, Kirsty Coventry, had tweeted before the FIFA short-list was revealed.
However, when the list was made public, it attracted a backlash.
“No @AlvinZhakata. You must be sick in the head . . . honestly,’’ said Howard Kudakwashe Mataga.
While the Twitter handle Swave said, “without the Cape To Cairo Fan for the @CAF_Online in Egypt, this award is a Fraud.’’
The Twitter handle Ugly Zaka Native wrote, “without having the man who hiked from Cape to Cairo to watch AFCON then you are playing games (pun intended).’’
FIFA short-listed, Silvia Grecco, a blind fan of Brazilian club, Palmeiras, Justo Sanchez, of Uruguay and the Dutch fans at the Women World Cup in France.
“Nickollas Grecco is a massive Palmeiras supporter . . . and he is blind. He would not appreciate the game nearly as much as he does were it not for his mother, Silvia, who takes him to the matches and narrates them for her adoring son, who is also autistic,’’ FIFA said.
“Silva has become something of a famous face amongst Palmeiras fans, thanks to her huge heart and amazing commitment to her son and their shared passion for the beautiful game.
“Justo Sanchez’s son Nicolas was tragically killed in a road traffic accident while travelling back from watching his beloved Rampla Juniors play in Uruguay’s top-flight.
“Justo, himself a lifelong supporter of Rampla’s closest rivals Cerro, switched allegiance to support Rampla, so that his son’s passion could live on through him. The story gained widespread coverage in Uruguay, a nation whose residents live and breathe football as if it is a religion.
“Justo now attends Rampla games, with a flag — which reads: “Nico, forever present” — honouring his late son.’’
FIFA also reserved praise for the Netherlands fans.
“One of the enduring images of France 2019 was undoubtedly the Oranje fans invading every city that their team conquered en route to the Final in Lyon,’’ FIFA said.
“Huge swathes of orange stretched as far as the eye could see as the well-natured and fanatical support highlighted the nation’s passion for the women’s game.
“Despite ultimately being defeated in the Final against the USA, the Dutch fans certainly earned everybody’s respect and admiration after their remarkable display of support during the tournament.’’