Zambia‘s first win of the Africa cup was like coming full circle. Almost 19 years ago, in 1993, a huge tragedy hit our nation in the midst of the Africa Cup of Nations. The plane crash occurred in the nation of Gabon where the entire Zambian national team perished. I was one of the millions of mourning Zambians lined up on the streets across the country as the bodies of our national football team were transported from the airport to the independence stadium. I was left with a huge passion for Zambian football and my country. In 1994, shortly after we buried Zambia’s football heroes, the newly emerged national team made it to the final game in the Africa Cup of Nations, but lost 2-1 against Nigeria. The country was devastated. The grief and their legacy lived on.
That grief has always marked Zambia’s football. But this grief came full circle on Sunday, February 12, 2012. Gabon was again the destination of another huge moment in our nation’s soccer history. This time, Zambia’s young football team made historical lasting soccer victory — not just because they won the first AFCON in the country’s history, but because where we lost our heroes became the place were we made new heroes. This was a glorious win for a nation that has always sought to remember the permanent mark that the soccer heroes left in 1993, and those dots are now remarkably connected to Sunday’s win in Gabon. It is nothing but extraordinary…truly one of the best victories ever felt. Thank you to our incredible players, the coach, the staff and of course all the fans around the world.
Belita, Zambian Soccer Fan,