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Last Updated: Monday, 28 April, 2003, 10:04 GMT 11:04 UK
Kalusha reflects on tragedy
Kalusha Bwalya
Ex-Zambia captain

Kalusha Bwalya of Zambia
Kalusha Bwalya captained Zambia for many years

Not a day goes by without us thinking of our lost friends.

It is hard to believe that 10 years have passed since that tragic night when the unthinkable happened to Zambia in those dark Gabonese skies over the Atlantic Ocean.

Lost in an instant's moment before midnight on 27 April 1993, was a cream of a nation long regarded among Africa´s footballing elite.

Death cruelly robbed Zambia of talent, both established and emerging, as well as its brightest coaching and administrative minds.

They were and still are heroes to a nation - fathers, brothers and to us friends and comrades.

We were on a roll as a team when fate decreed otherwise.

What we the survivors were left with instead, were the agonizing and never ending notions of what may have been.

How would Zambia had faired if tragedy had not struck?

Where would Zambian football be today if Efford Chabala, Easton Mulenga, Derby Mankinka, Wisdom Chansa, Kelvin Mutale had lived?

Chances are that we would have reached the 1994 World Cup finals in the United States from our qualifying group which comprised Senegal and Morocco.

Zambia´s rebuilt squad beat both sides in Lusaka, drew away with Senegal and lost by one goal in a close and decisive match with Morocco in Casablanca.

I would like to imagine and I am confident that the outcome in Morocco would have been different with the old team.

I would also like to imagine that the team would have shocked a few people in the World Cup finals.

At any rate, it was in homage to our fallen heroes that the rebuilt squad battled its way to the 1994 African Nations Cup final in Tunisia.

Again luck was not with us as Zambia lost 2-1 to Nigeria in the final in a memorable game.

What would have been? Ten years later one wishes we would turn back the clock. Zambian football will never be the same again.

The crash was a huge setback that continues to be felt today.

Though my own playing career is over, my football existence continues to be defined by the events of 27 April 1993.

It was a horrible event whose shock still reverberates in Zambia, and I am sure in many parts of the soccer world.




SEE ALSO
The day a nation cried
24 Apr 03  |  African
A sad day's work
25 Apr 03  |  African
Sichone honours glory Bullets
22 Apr 03  |  African

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