Remembering Zambia’s national football team that perished in 1993 plane disaster.

Today marks 28th Anniversary of Gabon Air disaster

Linos Chalwe (right), general secretary of the Footballers and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (FAWUZ), lays flowers at the Heroes’ Acre burial site in Lusaka on the 24th anniversary of the plane crash that killed 30 people, including 18 members of the 1993 Zambia football team, who were on their way to a World Cup qualifying match. The plane went down on April 27 in the Atlantic Ocean off Libreville, Gabon. Chalwe is joined by the Zambia national football team coach Wedson Nyirenda (second from right) and the Zambia under-20 national football team coach Beston Chambeshi (second from left).
(Prudence Phiri, GPJ Zambia)
By Staff Reporter
April 27 2021 marks the 28th anniversary of the tragedy that befell Zambia in 1993.
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.
In 2017 the Copper Bullets ‘Chipolopolo’ honored the fallen heroes when they won AFCON trophy 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.
The only team member of 1993 Chipolopolo to survive the crash were Charlie Musonda and Kalusha Bwalya (the captain). The two were coming from Europe to come and Join the team mates.
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)
Coaching staff
Godfrey “Ucar” Chitalu
Alex Chola
Wilson Mtonga (doctor)
Wilson Sakala
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)

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