JOHANNESBURG - Bloemfontein Celtic and Bafana Bafana superfan Botha Msila's plans to hitchhike from Cape Town to Cairo in Egypt for the 2019 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) went pear-shaped on Friday after he got to Pretoria and realized he did not have the required travel documents.
Msila, also known as "showercap man", began his trip in Cape Town early Wednesday morning and was in Pretoria by noon on Friday, ready to hitch another ride to Limpopo for the Beit-Bridge border gate to Zimbabwe.
He had been hitching a ride from different motorists along the way in usual hiking spots, and was posting videos documenting his travels on social media to keep his followers abreast.
Msila was planning to pass through nine African cities and as many countries, while covering about 10,220km to Cairo where Bafana Bafana will take part in the 2019 Afcon tournament.
But when called just after sharing his latest video at a hitchhiking spot in Pretoria, Mzila said that he was now stuck and did not know whether to proceed with the trip as his Zimbabwean contact, a soccer fan he named Aluva, had told him he would need a visa to travel.
"Eish, I'm now stuck because I don't have a visa. Aluva is helping me with this travel. He is telling me about visa but he says I must not worry, I must come to Zimbabwe and we will leave tomorrow because he has arranged for other guys who did not have visas to travel," Mzila said.
"Thing is I don't have any support from anyone, even Safa [South African Football Association] is not assisting."
But Safa spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi said that the association was willing to assist Msila with a return flight ticket to Egypt if he gets his papers in order, adding that he knows the right channels to follow.
"We will be willing to assist him with a flight ticket, but Botha knows the right channels to follow at Safa. I don't understand why he is saying we are not assisting when he is doing his own thing. The name of Safa should not even be coming up in this," Chimhavi said.
"We are not immigration officers, and we cannot bypass the system. The only thing we can assist him with in his journey is a recommendation letter, other than that he can come as speak with us about a flight ticket."
When told about this, Msila said: "Eish, this was not part of the plan, this was not part of the plan."
Msila indicated that he may not have to pause his journey for the weekend while sorting out the necessary travel documents with relevant authorities, especially the Egyptian Embassy in Pretoria from next week, with the hope he would still make it on time before the start of the tournament on 21 June.
African News Agency (ANA)