REPUBLICAN President Edgar Lungu has paid glowing tribute to the Zambian soccer community in remembrance of the 1994 national football team that perished off the coast of Gabon 27 years ago.
In a statement issued to media yesterday by his President’s Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Mr Isaac Chipampe, the Head of State described the accident as one of the most difficult moments for Zambia and wished it had not happened.
” I wish you had reached Dakar, Senegal your final destination, I wish, with your collective talents you could have conquered Senegal and Morocco, we could have probably won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 and we could arguably qualified for the first time to the world that very fateful year” President Lungu lamented.
The President remembered how the very team made the country proud when it thrashed Itali 4- 1 at the Olympics held in South Korea’s capital, Seoul, in 1988.
“I remember how then President of Zambia Dr Chiluba delivered a Eulogy that ended with the nation weeping, I remember anger among Zambians, I remember our sadness but most of all I remember our unity,” President Lungu said.
President Lungu who is Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Zambia also paid tribute to the 1994 ZAF aircraft crew that perished along with the national team off the coast of Gabon.
“I pay tribute to you Colonel Feston Mhone, Lieutenant-Colonel James Sachika, major Edward Nambote, and Steward Thomson Sakala,” the president said.
The Head of State said that as much as the squad of 1993 did not fulfill their mission in 1994 another generation of football players fulfilled it 18 years later when Zambia beat Ivory Coast in Gabon to become the 2012 African Champions.