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Alba Iulia
Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Gabon Disaster seem like yesterday- Makwaza

Sports Gabon Disaster seem like yesterday- Makwaza

Serah Soko on the graveyard of her father John Soko while Suzyo Chibuye is looking on
Serah Soko on the graveyard of her father John Soko while Suzyo Chibuye is looking on
Ex-Zambia midfielder Linos Makwaza says memories of the 1993 Gabon Air disaster victims are still fresh 23 years after the catastrophe.

Zambia is on Thursday marking the 23rd anniversary of the Gabon disaster that claimed the entire national team that was flying to Senegal for a 1994 World Cup qualifier.

The disaster occurred in the evening of 27 April 1993 when a Zambia Air Force plane carrying the team ditched into the Atlantic Ocean metres offshore from Libreville, Gabon killing all 25 passengers and five crew members.

In an interview in Kitwe, Makwaza who played together with the fallen heroes said marking the Gabon disaster will forever remain significant among Zambians.

“It seems like yesterday and memories of our colleagues are still fresh,” Makwaza said.

“I think what’s more painful is seeing the children of our fallen heroes,” he said.

Makwaza was dropped from the Zambia squad days before the fateful journey.

“The commemoration of the Gabon disaster is very important and it will remain important. Those guys were heroes who died on national duty,” he said.

Makwaza added:” I think we should remember that day and it could have been better to arrange a friendly match for the national team in memory of our heroes.”


Colonel Fenton Mhone (pilot)
Lt Colonel Victor Mubanga (pilot)
Lt Colonel James Sachika (pilot)
Warrant Officer Edward Nambote (fitter)
Corporal Tomson Sakala (steward)

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 (coach)
Alex Chola (assistant coach)
Wilson Mtonga (doctor)
Wilson Sakala

Michael Mwape (FAZ Chairman)
Nelson Zimba (public servant)
Joseph Bwalya Salim (journalist)

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  1. It reminds me of that day it happened. I had just left work to go home and have lunch. I switched on radio one at 13:15 to listen to the news with my fiancee. The news was broken that the plane carrying the Zambian soccer team had crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Libreville. I had a lump of Nshima in my mouth. These were players I used to mingle with as UNZA student whenever they would be lodged at the Commowealth Youth Centre in preparation for international games. I just could not swallow the lump of Nshima. It was like another lump had closed off my gullet upon being filled with so much sadness after hearing the loss of what looked like one of the strongest team Zambia had assembled. I thought of Derby Makinka, Wisdom Chansa, Samuel Chomba and other players I was fond…

    • most of the players were northerners and easterners. I loved this team so very much. I thought easton “zayellow” mulenga was an overlapping defender not midfielder. aleteya 5 kunuma. his handshake was as firm as iron according to the words of the great dennis liwewe. we will always love this team.

  2. This was a day I new football to the fullest, May God bless our Heroes family and continue strengthening. God loves Zambia and I love my Country.

  3. @Linos, move on man. This is mother Earth as no one will remain here forever, man. Just cry for yourself, man as one day you will also follow them. And if i were you, i would stop kafwaka na cibuku. Have a blessed day!

  4. I thought of the times I used to meet Godfrey Ucar Chitalu at the Railway Grounds in Kabwe. I cried like I never did before. My day was spoilt and could not work that day. I spent a tearful evening and night. I was inconsolable. Even when the coffins of the fallen heroes were being driven along Great East Road I lined up to pay my last respects to that Great Team. It really seems like yesterday, Linos Makwaza!!!

  5. @Zedoc, please cry for yourself and your children. Let by gone, go! As a matter of facts one day soon you will also pack up your bags and follow them wherever they are. So, start preparing also, my friend.

  6. When will truth and Justice be done over the demise of our gallant football team.Just yesterday the Hillsbourough stadium disaster involved Liverpool was released after 30 years with a call to prosecute the people (Police Officers) who are accussed of willful murder or man slaughter.We are still waiting for the official Government report on the fateful and undesired air crash that was caused by defective army aircraft that not supposed to be used.In the previous election one Micheal Chilufya Mwango Charles Katongo Sata (MHSRIP) promised to release the full Gabon disaster report once elected President but nothing ever came.Please New FAZ Boss and PF we want to know excantly what happened so that the families of our late gallant sportsmen,administrators,servicemen,journalists can be…

  7. Comment I remember when that happened I was in grade 4. its was the sad new ever, from that time onwards I came to know soccer.


  9. Please release the report – charge those who were complacent including ZAF, FAZ, and the Ministry of Sports etc. Compensate the families and circulate the lessons learnt.

  10. In Liverpool the families kept fighting after the Hillsborough disaster for justice after 27 years ..in Zambia they are sitting on the report no inquest and no lessons learnt.

  11. I was playing monopoly with my friends when we heard the sad news on the radio. It was a sad day for the nation and all soccer lovers in the country. I pray that the Lord may comfort the families and friends of the national team heros that passed away.

    I hope the report can also be released so that the family, friends and soccer fans in the nation can know what happened and find some closure. May There Souls Rest In Peace

  12. On 28 April, 1993, I and my mother were in the garden trying to dig out some groundnuts when suddenly our neighbor came and broke the News about the demise of our National Soccer team. I was only 9 years old and from that point onward, I began to follow Zambian soccer. It really was a sad moment for me and my country…

  13. I recall that day Kenneth Maduma and Frank Mutubila wearing black news when reading the news at 19hrs on ZNBC TV. It was such a sad day. I knew a number of the players personally like Robert Waityakeni whom we grew up together in Chingola and went to the same primary school. That team in my opinion would have gone the World Cup in 1994, but alas the cruel hand of death took them.

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