Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
A reprieve by Fifa to extend the deadline to submit required documents for World Cup volunteers by five days, came as a blessing for Praise Nyasha Smythe who managed to source airfares to travel to the global football showpiece.
High school friends of the 30-year-old Zimbabwean who had failed to submit to Fifa her flight confirmation on the initial deadline, Tuesday, September 20, came to Smythe’s rescue, paying for her return flight to Qatar during the five-day final window which closed on Sunday.
An ecstatic Symthe, who is a budding administrator who is also a football player and is presently attached at Black Mambas, described the deadline extension and assistance from her friends as a miracle.
“I’m excited and grateful to my former high school mates who rescued my dream when the deadline was extended for five days. I got the money on Friday and immediately paid my ticket before submitting the information to my portal which had been reopened.
“When I missed the initial deadline and my portal closed, I was devastated. I asked so many questions and even thought of quitting football, but then hey, my friends who know how I love sport didn’t ask any questions like what others were doing. They just chipped in and here I am, going to do what I love most,” Smythe said.
The Zimbabwean will be part of 20 000 Fifa World Cup volunteers who were selected from a pool of 500 000 global applicants.
Smythe has participated in workshops locally and internationally representing the females who play football. She attended the first Fifa Women’s World Cup in France and also went to Germany for the women’s football development conference hosted by Discover Football.
Smythe is the co-founder of Happy Feet, an organisation that has donated balls to clubs that are marginalized sourced from Fifa.