Countdown to 28th Gabon disaster memorial
The April 28, 1993 Gabon disaster remains the most tragic experience in the Zambian game. On this day Zambia lost an entire national team, technical bench, crew members, a FAZ president and journalist. The team was off to Senegal to fulfill a USA 94’ World Cup qualifying fixture.
It was a team every Zambian believed was on its way to fulfilling a dream world cup appearance. The Zambia Air Force (ZAF) plane the team was on blew up a few minutes after take-off in Libreville where they had made a stop-over to refuel.
Over the years, Zambians have religiously paid homage to the fallen heroes that lie at the Heroes Acre behind the old Independence Stadium. The technical bench comprised some of Zambia’s accomplished stars of yester-years including the 107 goals man Godfrey ‘Ucar’ Chitalu who was head coach alongside the ‘Computer’ Alex Chola.
The team’s stock had been rising having finished third at the 1990 Africa Cup of Nations and exited the 1992 tournament at the quarterfinal stage to eventual winners Ivory Coast.
Prior to the Dakar mission, Zambia had just demolished Mauritius 3-0, courtesy of a Kelvin ‘Malaza’ Mutale hat-trick in Port Louis.
There was every reason to believe the dawn of World Cup qualification was on the horizon.
Zambia continues to celebrate the lives of the team dubbed KK11 for its selfless service to the game.
Full List of Fallen Heroes
Efford Chabala (Mufulira Wanderers), Richard Mwanza (Kabwe Warriors)
John Soko, Eston Mulenga (both Nkana), Whiteson Changwe (Kabwe Warriors), Robert Watiyakeni (Dynamos FC-RSA), Winter Mumba (Power Dynamos), Samuel Chomba (Dynamos-RSA)
Derby Makinka (El Tiffaq-Saudi Arabia), Moses Chikwalakwala, Numba Mwila (both Nkana), Wisdom Chansa (Dynamos FC-SA), Godfrey Kangwa (Olympique Casablanca-Morocco)
Kelvin ‘Malaza’ Mutale (El-Tiffaq-Saudi Arabia), Timothy Mwitwa (Nkana), Moses Masuwa (Kabwe Warriors), Kenan Simambe (Nkana), Patrick ‘Bomber’ Banda (Profund Warriors)
Godfrey “Ucar” Chitalu (coach), Alex Chola (assistant coach), 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)