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Page last updated at 13:50 GMT, Sunday, 24 January 2010

Zambia's Kalusha Bwalya relives 1994 Nations Cup final

By Farayi Mungazi
BBC Sport, Lubango

Zambia legend Kalusha Bwalya
Bwalya is not looking for revenge in the Zambia v Nigeria rematch

Zambia legend Kalusha Bwalya says Monday's quarter-final clash with Nigeria brings back "fond memories" of their 1994 Nations Cup final.

Having risen from the ashes of one of Africa's worst sporting disasters, Zambia succumbed 2-1 after 90 emotion-laden minutes in Tunis.

"Even though we lost that game, I have fond memories because we had just come out of the Gabon tragedy," Bwalya told BBC Sport in Lubango.

The final took place less than a year after a plane carrying the Zambian team to a World Cup qualifier in Senegal crashed into the sea off the coast Gabon.

Thirty lives were lost, including 18 players, in one of Africa's worst sporting disasters.

But Bwalya escaped the tragedy as he was due to fly to Dakar direct from his base in the Netherlands.

"After losing the entire team, we started to rebuild and getting to the final was a great achievement," said Bwalya, now president of the Football Association of Zambia.

Zambia football monument to 18 players who lost their lives in the 1993 plane crash
This monument is dedicated to the memory of Zambia's worst footballing disaster

"I still remember that match like it happened yesterday because of the circumstances surrounding it, and we also played against a very good Nigerian side.

"We played some of the best football in Zambia's history in the second half of the match."

Sixteen years ago, the Zambians were driven by a continental wave of public emotion and sympathy.

This time, though, circumstances are different and there are no striking similarities between the two matches.

"The only thing in common between the 1994 match and Monday's game is myself and Daniel Amokachi (Nigeria's current assistant coach), one of their stars then.

Bwalya said any talk of Zambia going into the match with revenge on their minds is not coming from him.

"If I was playing on Monday, I'd talk about revenge but these players were either toddlers or in nappies when we played in the 1994 final.

"I don't want to put them under pressure by talking about revenge - this match has nothing to do with 1994."

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see also
Confident Zambia target Nigeria
22 Jan 10 |  African
Gabon 1-2 Zambia
21 Jan 10 |  African
Cameroon 3-2 Zambia
17 Jan 10 |  African
Zambia 1-1 Tunisia
13 Jan 10 |  African
Greatest Zambian footballer retires
24 Jan 01 |  Football
Bwalya is elected Zambia FA boss
30 Mar 08 |  African
Bwalya pulls out of Caf elections
10 Feb 09 |  African

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