Incredible World Cup quest by Joburg soccer fan proves 'dreams do come true'
A childhood dream to watch the World Cup in person is coming true for an ardent Johannesburg football fan after 20 years of waiting.
Fhatuwani Mpfuni shared his heartwarming journey‚ from falling in love with football as he watched the game on a generator-powered television set as a child to arriving in Russia draped in a South African flag‚ in a thread on Twitter.
His posts have inspired and delighted hundreds of people‚ locally and internationally. Some readers said they had goosebumps‚ others shed a tear.
The story unfolded in a post on Thursday with the title “My World Cup dream”.
“After following a strict and detailed five-year savings plan‚ myself and two close friends have just landed in Russia‚” he said.
Mpfuni‚ a “loyal servant of the beautiful game” according to his Twitter profile‚ then offered a glimpse into how he got there.
“Okay‚ let's rewind a bit… The first time we owned a TV set at home was when I had just turned 8 and I remember that the only programme we watched during that entire cold month of June was the Fifa world cup - France 98. PS: Our village did not have electricity and the TV was connected via a generator.”
He said during match nights there would be 50 to 80 people watching on the television. It was an electrifying atmosphere that made him fall in love with the game and dream of‚ one day‚ watching a live World Cup. “For me‚ that '98 world cup …. The happiest time of my childhood. Too special‚” he tweeted.
Fast forward to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and he was a second-year sport management student. “My parents cannot afford to buy me a ticket. I get to watch a few matches on a big screen at Thokoza Park‚ but ... I reach the conclusion that ‘some dreams just never come true’.”
Plans started taking shape in January 2013 while watching an Afcon game in Durban with two friends‚ Brian and Thami. “I present an idea of going to the world cup (Brazil 2014). The gents love it! A few weeks later we start planning and saving.”
But reality set in by May 2014. With the World Cup just a month away‚ the trio had not managed to save enough to cover return flights. “So for the fifth time in my life‚ I watch the world cup on the telly‚” he tweeted.
Things got serious when the friends decided in September 2014 that they would be going to Russia in 2018. “At the time‚ you are thinking; will 2018 ever come? However‚ we remain committed and draw up a proper savings plan which we all follow to the tee.”
After chasing a dream for 20 years he finally‚ and triumphantly‚ tweeted: “I have just landed in Russia. My childhood dream will be fulfilled in the next few days. “Special shoutout to my brothers‚ @thami_reno and @Brian_moshoe2 for being the best partners in crime ever.”
He uploaded a video of some of the excitement on the ground in Russia‚ “#WorldCup Fever”.
“Well done young man‚ you persevered! You had one job! Enjoy‚” replied Derek Blanckensee.
Well done young man, you persevered! You had one job! Enjoy 👍🏼— Derek Blanckensee (@derek049) June 14, 2018
“Well done … enjoy every moment of it ... it shows anything is possible when you are dedicated & committed to it … ... it's an inspiration to many‚” said Lettuce Mathebula.
Well done....enjoy every moment of it ...it shows anything is possible when you are dedicated & committed to it .... it's an inspiration to many.....— Lettuce Mathebula (@lettucemtititi) June 14, 2018
Connie Motshumi said the story was humbling and inspiring. “When you believe and work towards your dreams‚ nothing is impossible.”
“This is beautiful‚ why am I crying‚” asked Nothando.
The story was even enough to inspire someone with the Twitter handle “Gettinggrumpier” . “The best thing I’ve read on Twitter EVER! Enjoy every second‚ brilliant!”
The best thing i’ve read on Twitter EVER! Enjoy every second, brilliant!— Gettinggrumpier (@KotzeJohann) June 15, 2018
TimesLIVE has reached out to Mpfuni on Twitter so we can share some of his experiences watching the beautiful game in Russia.