Zhakata was the talk of social media after his arrival in Egypt last week, 50 days after starting a hitch-hiking adventure to watch the Africa Cup of Nations; it did not take much for CAF President Ahmad to catch wind of the story and decided to hand the young man a ticket home.
His story got even better after Zhakata, who met the president on Wednesday morning, will get a VIP ticket to watch Friday night’s final between Senegal and Algeria at the Cairo International Stadium.
“I feel so privileged and honored to have met the CAF president. This is no small thing because he is the highest in the echelon of African football,” Zhakata said.
The Zimbabwean saw his journey prolonged by visa hitches crossing over from Kenya to Ethiopia and later from Sudan to Egypt, all caused by political protests that were experienced coincidentally at the same time in Ethiopia and Sudan.
“After all, I went through for 50 days, all I endured trying to cross all those borders and the frustrations and now seeing the president himself come and hand me this gift, I really feel thankful. I feel like I have made an impact in African football,” Zhakata said.
He arrived in Cairo on the day South Africa was eliminated by Nigeria in the quarter-finals and long after his favorite Warriors were boxed out of the competition. The following day, his third preferred team Madagascar lost to Tunisia in the quarters.
But despite the football on the field not favoring his sacrifice, Zhakata says he feels more than proud to have achieved the feat that few people have boasted of achieving.
“I was planning to raise some funds to go back home because the journey took longer than expected and along the way I accumulated so much debt. But now, at least I can relax easy and enjoy some football. I am going home with a prestigious airline!” said Zhakata.
He plans to leave for Zimbabwe next week on Thursday as he plans to travel to the Red Sea, a symbolic place in the Biblical story of the Israelites journey from Egypt to their promised land.
“I need to go there to visit the place, say my prayer and mark another great day in my life. I believe it is symbolic,” he added.
Zhakata also said he has presented a petition to Ahmad to forward to the African Union on African traveling within the continent and visa requirements after his experiences.
Today I met @AlvinZhakata, a young man came from #Zimbabwe to #Cairo by foot to see the #AFCON2019! He’s the proof of passion that #Africa give to #football. What courage! I offered him in the name of #CAF a #ticket for the final game. He’s true heart of our football! @CAF_Online pic.twitter.com/ABHtJr7NP7
— Ahmad Ahmad Officiel (@AAhmad_CAF) July 17, 2019
Some good news for @AlvinZhakata: @CAF_Online President @AHMADCAF2017 has promised me that you’ll have a great experience at the #AFCON2019 #ALGSEN final on Friday. @RealMamadouGaye has been delegated by him to sort you out. You are a true fan of African football. Enjoy... pic.twitter.com/fSpqFAXppJ
— Osasu Obayiuwana (@osasuo) July 16, 2019