Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Zambia rekindle Morocco 1994 World Cup memory


Zambia were controversially denied a qualifying ticket to the 1994 FIFA World Cup by Morocco and the two teams have now been drawn in the same group for 2026.
The qualifiers of the 1994 FIFA World Cup hosted by the United States of America are one of the most memorable  for many Zambian fans. Having lost 18 players in a plane crash in April 1993, Zambia picked themselves up and put up one of the most resilient performances World Cup qualifying history.
The Chipolopolo Boys had topped group H in the first round of qualifiers and progressed to the last round of qualifiers (second round). In the second round, nine teams were drawn in three groups of three teams each with table toppers in each group qualifying for the football showpiece.
They were drawn in group B of the second round alongside Morocco and Senegal. Zambia came from behind to beat Morocco 2-1  in the first match played on July 4,1993 at the iconic Independence Stadium with captain Kalusha ‘King Kalu’ Bwalya netting a sumptuous freekick before Johnson ‘One Man Commando’ Bwalya sealed an emotional win just months after the plane crash, with a ferocious finish.
Zambia held Senegal away in the second fixture played in Abidjan. The Chipolopolo Boys went on to wire Senegal 4-0 at the Independence Stadium in the return fixture.
Going into the last matchday, Zambia were top with 5 points, Morocco had 4 points while Senegal were bottom after amassing only one point. Zambia needed just a point to seal a spot at USA ’94’.
D-Day came at the Mohammed V Stadium in Casablanca, Morocco on Monday,October 10,1993. Morocco superseded Zambia via a Abdelsalam Laghrissi 62nd minute goal that quashed Zambian hopes. The match is infamous for the below par officiating by late Gabonese referee Jean-Fidele Diramba.
There were widespread protests from Zambian fans and petitions to FIFA over what was termed ‘pathetic’ officiating by Diramba but the world football governing body paid a deaf ear and Morocco went to USA ’94’.
But now Zambia and Morocco will replenish their rivalry when they face off in the qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Once again only one team can automatically qualify from the group and once again the ticket involves going to the USA plus an addition of Mexico and Canada.
Zambia and Morocco will compete against Congo-Brazzaville, Tanzania,Niger and Eritrea in group E of the 2026 FIFA World Cup African Qualifiers.
Will the Chipolopolo Boys deny the Moroccans the ticket to America or Morocco will once again break Zambian hearts?


  1. LGBTs have been refused their human rights in zambia since colonialism. Which is more important? Kicking a silly ball or peoples human rights?

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