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Zambia Remembers Gabon 1993 Plane Crash Heroes

The Zambia football fraternity on Wednesday marked the 28th anniversary of the Gabon Air Crash that killed the entire national football team players.

The plane was en route to Senegal for a 1994 World Cup qualifier against the Teranga Lions and the accident killed all 30 people on board.

Eighteen Chipolopolo players were among the passengers in a chartered military plane that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean shortly after take-off on the evening on April 27 following a stopover in Libreville,Gabon.

The official report that was released by the Zambian government blamed a mechanical fault in the left engine. Pilots switched off the still functioning right engine by mistake because of a “poor indicator light bulb” causing the plane to lose all power and crash.

The victims were buried just outside Independence Stadium in Lusaka, at a special monument called “Heroes’ Acre”, before the Zambian government made a decree that the official commemoration will be held every five years with the next event scheduled for 2023.

However, twenty eight years on, football legends and families of the fallen heroes converged at the monument in Lusaka, which was seen as unkempt.

Football Association of Zambia (FAZ)president Adrew Kamanga led the mourners at the memorial service where he encouraged the current national team to qualify for next year’s World Cup finals as a way of honoring their fallen heroes.

“Today as we gather, we should always strive to honour the heroes with glory. Their lives remain a symbol of the greatest sacrifice one can ever make for their country. That is why today we turn up to celebrate their lives. We are grateful for the memories and accomplishments that they gave to their country,” Kamanga said as quoted by FAZ website.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup commence in June and we expect that the Chipolopolo will remember these heroes as they undertake that mission. We have no doubt that the team will also be inspired by a sense of history and pride as they undertake that mission.[/perfectpullquote]

“To the families, we are always encouraged that you have always been here for the past 28 years to pay homage to these heroes that meant everything to you. Despite government guiding that an official event will be held every five years, we have not stopped converging every year to honour our heroes.”

Zambia Fallen Heroes 1993 representative Tamara Mtonga said the families are resolved to maintain the 1993 legacy by creative innovative ways of empowering families.

It is worth noting that families of the bereaved received financial compensation from the State in 2002.

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