MANY South Africans have been wondering how four local soccer fans – Botha Msila, Machaka Masilo, Dinah “Lady D” Matli and Saddam Maake – got to the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt.
With the exception of Botha and Saddam, Matli and Masilo paid their way to the continental showpiece.
Mamelodi Sundowns owner Patrice Motsepe also flashed the cash by footing the bill for a seven-day accommodation for Botha and Machaka, who are on a two-person sharing rate of $120 (R1 680) per day.
The mining mogul also handed the pair daily allowances but they refused to disclose the amounts.
“I had managed to save around R20 000 for my flight tickets and Safa were going to sort out my accommodation but Mr Motsepe made the move,” said Masilo, who runs a women’s clothing boutique with his fiance in the Joburg city centre.
Masilo, an ardent Chiefs fan who is originally from Botlokwa in Limpopo, said they bumped into Motsepe on the foyer of the Bafana hotel when the billionaire had come in for a meet and greet session with the players on Monday.
The unemployed Botha said his trip was unplanned but he had already spent about R7 000 while hitch-hiking from Cape Town until he failed to go through the Ethiopian border via Kenya.
While his botched attempt to hitch-hike his way to Egypt is well documented, it took an initiative by radio and TV personality Robert Marawa to raise funds for the Bloemfontein Celtic faithful to realise his long held Afcon dream outside our borders.
“Robert came in through his friends who paid for my flights from Kenya to Egypt,” said the father of two from Rocklands township in Bloemfontein.
The 44-year-old former taxi driver added: “I came to Egypt without guaranteed accommodation but I was at the right time and at the right place to meet Mr Motsepe. It was through our brief chat that I shared with him some challenges I had experienced.”
Saddam, who is attending his 11th Afcon edition, is on an all-expenses paid package from Safa by virtue of being the national supporters co-ordinator.
“I have never paid a cent because my trips have always been sponsored,” said the veteran Chiefs fan.
Meanwhile Matli, a manager in a provincial community services department, said the trip cost her R35 000, all inclusive flights and accommodation.
The mother of four from Seshego in Polokwane, Limpopo booked herself into a four-star hotel in Zamalek, which is about 40km away from Bafana’s base next to the Cairo International Airport where Botha, Saddam and Machaka are placed.
Lady D, has initially planned to drive to Egypt – yes drive there! – but the volatile situation in Sudan changed her mind.