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24 years on, fallen heroes remembered

The Zambian football family kept with the tradition of honouring the fallen heroes with a fairly attended ceremony at Heroes Acre in Lusaka.

Friday marked 24 years since 18 players, crew members, officials and a journalist perished off the coast of Gabon.

Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president Andrew Kamanga led a sizeable crowed of officials, fans, family members, players and curious onlookers at the Heroes Acre.

Zambia Soccer Sports Fans Association president Peter Makembo and his brass band spiced up the event with solemn music.

The World Cup bound U-20 national team paid their respects to the fallen Heroes led by the technical bench.

Kamanga said the silver jubilee would be marked with a grander event that would also see a high profile international match.

“The policy of the government is that we will be commemorating every five years. So it is next year that we are going to have a big event. We are going to have a big game and a couple of other things. Next year’s event will be very different,” said Kamanga.

And Chipolopolo coach Wedson Nyirenda said that the best way to honour the fallen heroes would be to celebrate their lives

.

Nyirenda played alongside the fallen heroes and also became part of the reconstituted team after the Gabon disaster.

“I can remember very well, the first game after the crash; it was three months after we played Morocco here at Independence Stadium. The stadium was highly packed and Morocco scored in the first half,” Nyirenda said.

“I came in as a substitute and provided the assist for the goal that Johnston Bwalya scored and was fouled for the free kick that was scored by Kalusha Bwalya.”

Nyirenda reflected on some of the lessons that the Gabon disaster provided for the country.

“This tragedy made us realize as a country that players make a huge sacrifice when they play for the national team. We also realized that it was possible to lose a life whilst on duty,” he said.

Footballers and Allied Workers Union of Zambia secretary general Linos Chalwe attended the event.

THE FULL LIST:

David Efford Chabala (goalkeeper)

John Soko (defender)

Whiteson Changwe (defender)

Robert Watiyakeni (defender)

Eston "King Yellowman" Mulenga (defender)

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 (striker)

Godfrey Kangwa (midfielder)

Winter Mumba (defender)

Patrick “Bomber” Banda (midfielder)

Technical bench

Godfrey “Ucar” Chitalu (Head Coach)

Alex Chola (Assistant coach)

Medics

Wilson Mtonga (doctor)

Wilson Sakala

Others

Michael Mwape (FAZ Chairman)

Nelson Zimba (Public Servant)

Joseph Bwalya Salim (Journalist)

CREW

Colonel Fenton Mhone (pilot)

Lt Colonel Victor Mubanga (pilot)

Lt Colonel James Sachika (pilot)

Warrant Officer Edward Nambote (fitter)

Corporal Tomson Sakala (steward)







National Team

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