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Soccer fan Botha Msila in Afcon safari to Egypt

Msila Botha and Alvin Zhakata
Msila Botha and Alvin Zhakata
Image: Twitter/Msila Botha

Botha Msila’s extraordinary passion for soccer has inspired him to embark on an epic hitch hiking 11,000 km journey to watch the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt.

By yesterday, Msila, 45, a popular Bloemfontein Celtic fan, had reached Kenya after passing through Zimbabwe,Zambia and Tanzania.

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This brought Msila approximately 5,000 km closer to fulfilling his mission.

“We are now in Kenya. Sorry for being quiet, network is a problem for me,” he tweeted yesterday.

Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, Msila said he wanted to inspire unity among Africans.

“Afcon is all about unity. Imagine how many countries will be in Egypt,” he said.

Msila said his journey so far had been adventurous, with strangers lending a helping hand along the way to offer lifts.

“Let me tell you, what I am doing is such an experience. In each and every country we have been, we’ve been accompanied by police officers, because they say the hiking spots are not safe,” Msila said

He said most of the roads beyond SA borders were in bad shape, which prolonged the drive.

Some of Msila’s followers on social media expressed their concerns about possible dangers and advised him to avoid Sudan as that country has experienced recent violent outbreaks. Msila, however, said he was not afraid.

“I believe that we will arrive with the help of God,” he said. In another Twitter post on Monday, Botha shared a video,giving updates on the journey.

He said he was heading to Kenya after having spent some time in Tanzania. By that time, Msila had already picked up his travelling companion and friend Alvin Zhakata in Zimbabwe.

“The only challenge in our trip is language,” he said. Msila also speaks about the kindness shown to them by strangers along the way.

He described the people he met as friendly and inquisitive about their trip.

Msila is popular for hitch-hiking across SA to watch football games at stadiums such as King Zwelithini in Umlazi (Durban), Lucas Moripe in Pretoria, Peter Mokaba in Polokwane and FNB in Johannesburg.

An eccentric character, Msila can be spotted at games wearing a stretchable whitecap usually worn by those preparing food in restaurants.

His close friend Mamello Makha said Msila started talking about the road trip to Cairo in April

“Botha is doing this because he loves football. I have never seen anything like it in my life before. I remember how excited he was when he was talking about going to Egypt,” Makha said.

Makha said Msila, an unemployed father of two, never lets anything get in his way of watching a game.

She said Msila relied on the goodwill of strangers and those in the football fraternity who offer him lifts to the games

“Yo u’ll find him singing with other fans. Wherever he is, there is laughter. Botha is a lover of people,” Makha said .

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