The Zambia national football team represents the country of Zambia and is governed by the Football Association of Zambia. The side is nicknamed Chipolopolo (the Copper Bullets) as copper is one of the southcentral African nation's main exports.
The team has two African Nations Cup final appearances to its credit and among its most memorable moments is a 4-0 victory over Italy in the 1988 Olympic football tournament in Seoul, South Korea that saw Kalusha Bwalya score a hat-trick.
(The Copper Bullets)
Association Football Association of Zambia
Confederation Caf (Africa)
Head coach Hervé Renard
Asst coach Patrice Beaumelle
Most caps Kalusha Bwalya
Top scorer Godfrey Chitalu
Home stadium Independence Stadium (30,000)
Fifa ranking 71
Highest Fifa ranking 15 (February 1996)
Lowest Fifa ranking 80 (May 2004)
Elo ranking 70
Highest Elo ranking 28 (April 1994)
Lowest Elo ranking 99 (May 2004)
SOCCER’S DARKEST DAY: The loss of a generation of talent
The Gabon Air Disaster
When reports filtered through local and international news-wires that a Buffalo military plane and plunged into the Atlantic Ocean off the ill-famed coast of Libreville, it not only changed the course of Zambian football history. A great football generation was lost, dreams shattered, and a nation wept.
The global football family could only moan in distress and horror as shocking and horrifying images flashed across the television screens and newspaper pages relieving the horror of the scenes on the shores of the Gabon coastline as 18 players, two Football Association of Zambia officials, a journalist and the Zambia Air Force crew perished following the DHC-5 Buffalo, AF-319 – plunge into the cold Atlantic.
What today is the most horrible tragedy to befall Zambian football still lingers on the face of Zambian football and the campaign for a FIFA World Cup finals appearance continues.
FIFA WORLD CUP DREAM
What has come to be known as the Gabon Disaster happened April 28 1993 shortly after the Military plane the Zambia national soccer team was using to fly to a 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Senegal. Shortly after a refueling stop in Libreville on their way to Senegal for a 1994 World Cup qualifier, the Buffalo went down killing all on board. Zambia’s darkest hour!!!
An official report into the 1993 plane crash blamed a mechanical fault in the left engine. The first report, released - 10 years after the national tragedy indicated that then the 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 report, released in parliament by then Vice President Nevers Mumba, said that the loss of power and lift indicated the failure of both engines but said the government may have wished to have this confirmed it by experts.
THE OFFICIAL REPORT
The report also said that the pilot was tired, having just flown back from Mauritius the previous day. The Zambian national football team had to play a World cup qualification match against the Senegal national team.
The DHC-5 Buffalo, AF-319, had not been flying from December 21, 1992 to April 21, 1993 so test flights were carried out on April 22 and April 26.
The Buffalo departed Lusaka, for Dakar with planned intermediate stops at Brazzaville, Libreville and Abidjan. After refueling at Libreville, the aircraft took-off at 22:44 hours, one hour and 45 minutes late.
Shortly afterwards the left engine failed. The plane headed out over sea and lost altitude until it struck the water 500m offshore. An investigation conducted by the Gabonese Ministry of Defence suggested that the pilot shut down the remaining right-hand engine causing the plane to lose all power. The report, released in November 2003, also said that the pilot was tired, having just flown back from Mauritius the previous day.
According to Aviation Safety Network, an exclusive service of Flight Safety Foundation, the Buffalo departed Lusaka, for Dakar with planned intermediate stops at Brazzaville, Libreville and Abidjan. After refueling at Libreville, the aircraft took-off at 22:44 hours, one hour and 45 minutes late. Shortly afterwards the left engine failed. The plane headed out over sea and lost altitude until it struck the water 500m offshore. An investigation conducted by the Gabonese Ministry of Defence suggested that the pilot shut down the remaining right-hand engine causing the plane to lose all power. The report, released in November 2003, also said that the pilot was tired, having just flown back from Mauritius the previous day.
The Network summarised the crash as follows:
Date: 27 APR 1993
Type: de Havilland Canada DHC-5D Buffalo
Operator: Zambia Air Force
C/n / msn: 69
First flight: 1975
Crew: Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Passengers: Fatalities: 25 / Occupants: 25
Total: Fatalities: 30 / Occupants: 30
Airplane damage: Written off
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: Atlantic Ocean, off Gabon (Gabon)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature: Int'l Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport: Libreville Airport (LBV/FOOL), Gabon
Destination airport: Abidjan-Felix Houphouet Boigny Airport (ABJ/DIAP), Cote d'Ivoire
April 28 2008 marked a bitter 15th anniversary of the Gabon air disaster where the entire Chipolopolo squad perished.
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)
The two coaches: Godfrey Chitalu and Alex Chola