HIKING hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of kilometres to support their team in foreign expeditions appears to be dear to the hearts of Southern African football fans of late.
A few months after Zimbabwean soccer fan Alvin “Aluva” Zhakata caught the attention of the world when he attempted to hike to Egypt to watch the Warriors, a group of Malawians recently attempted a similar expedition — albeit on a 1 040-kilometre stretch.
The initial plan for the 60 Malawian fans was to board a bus from Blantyre to Bulawayo to watch Nyasa Big Bullets play FC Platinum in a Caf Champions League encounter last Sunday.
But mechanical problems threatened to derail the group’s expedition after the bus broke down before the contingent crossed the border into Zimbabwe.
The high spirited fans decided to soldier on, according to the Malawian publication Nyasa Times.
Probably drawing inspiration from Zimbabwean Zhakata who hiked from South Africa to Egypt, a driving distance of 8 000 miles, the Malawian fans also believed in the impossible.
But fate would have none of it.
“The Bullets fans were asked to contribute K40 000 (about US$55) each to go and give moral support to their team against FC Platinum in a return leg after a goalless draw in the first leg at Kamuzu Stadium.
“Reports indicate that the bus they used broke down along the way at Nyamapanda Border Post and they were forced to jump into other buses which made them arrive in Bulawayo around 6pm on the match day.
“The group of 60 fans only arrived in the City of Kings two hours after the match on Saturday which the People’s Team lost 3-2,” wrote the newspaper.
Nyasa Big Bullets are out of the continental tournament.
The publication quoted a source lamenting the decision by club management to supply a faulty bus after the supporters had paid a “fortune” for the trip.