I know that it is not often that this blog is about sport, but it would be impossible to let this go without commenting.
Yesterday in Libreville, Gabon, the Zambian team, (known as Chipolopolo – the copper bullets) beat the favourites Ivory Coast in a nervewracking final of the Africa Cup of Nations. The match went to extra time, then to a penalty shootout and Zambia won. It is the first time in the history of this competition that Zambia has won this cup.
There are a million reasons to celebrate this but one stands head and shoulders above the rest. In 1993 the entire Zambian team bar one was killed in a plane crash that took place just after take-off from Libreville, Gabon. The team were on their way to a World Cup qualifier in Senegal. The only player not to die was the great Kalusha Bwalya as he was not on the plane. At the time he was playing for PSV Eindhoven so he was making his own way to Dakar.
This was a massive tragedy that touched everyone in Zambia. On this Friday before the match the players, their coach and Kalusha Bwalya who is now the President of the Football Association of Zambia, stood on the beach in Libreville and paid homage to those who had died. They sang and laid flowers in what was reported as a very emotional tribute.
Then yesterday they won. Against all odds. This is a wonderful day for all Zambians.
Photo from the Guardian