During the late evening of Tuesday 27 April 1993 the Zambian Air Force Buffalo DHC-5D carrying most of the Zambian national football team to a FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Senegal in Dakar caught fire and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean about 500 metres offshore near Libreville, Gabon.
The plane had made a refuelling stop in Libreville en route to Dakar. All 30 passengers died, among them most of the finest generation of footballers Zambia had ever produced.
Eventually 24 bodies were recovered, but only 13 could be identified.
A Gabonese official investigation into the accident concluded that the pilot had shut down the wrong engine after a fire. The investigation found that pilot fatigue and an instrument error had contributed to the accident.The Zambian government is yet to release a full report of the air crash to be unveiled to the public or family members.
The Copper Bullets ‘Chipolopolo’ honored the fallen heroes when they won AFCON trophy earlier in the year in Gabon.
‘We wanted to honour the dead players and that strengthened us. Our first game was against Senegal and the team was on its way to Senegal for a match when the plane crashed. The plane crashed in Gabon and we won the final in Gabon. It is a sign of destiny,”Zambia coach Herve Renard said after Zambia lifted the trophy.
Let us remember our brothers that lost their lives for us. “Rest in Peace”.
Gone but not forgotten
Efford Chabala (goalkeeper)
John Soko (defender)
Whiteson Changwe (defender)
Robert Watiyakeni (defender)
Eston Mulenga (midfielder)
Derby Makinka (midfielder)
Moses Chikwalakwala (midfielder)
Wisdom Mumba Chansa (midfielder)
Kelvin “Malaza” Mutale (striker)
Timothy Mwitwa (striker)
Numba Mwila (midfielder)
Richard Mwanza (goalkeeper)
Samuel Chomba (defender)
Moses Masuwa (striker)
Kenan Simambe (defender)
Godfrey Kangwa (midfielder)
Winter Mumba (defender)
Patrick “Bomber” Banda (striker)
Godfrey “Ucar” Chitalu
Wilson Mtonga (doctor)
Michael Mwape (FAZ Chairman)
Nelson Zimba (public servant)
Joseph Bwalya Salim (journalist)
Colonel Fenton Mhone (pilot)
Lt Colonel Victor Mubanga (pilot)
Lt Colonel James Sachika (pilot)
Warrant Officer Edward Nambote (fitter)
Corporal Tomson Sakala (steward)