President Hakainde Hichilema has paid tribute to the late national football team players and officials, who lost their lives while on national duty off the coast of Gabon their plane crashed into the Atlantic ocean.
Speaking after laying a wreath at their grave site for the fallen heroes at the Independence stadium, the Head of State urged Zambians to always put the families of the departed players and officials in their prayers.
“We want to always remember the services that they rendered to the country. We always want to remember their sacrifices that they basically offered to all of us and also their spirit which allowed us to rebuild the team after we lost these heroes,” he said.
President Hichilema said the fallen Zambian football players and officials must be remembered at all times as they perished while carrying the national flag high.
“We are grateful to their service of the nation. They were true patriots, and true nationalists. We continue to remember them,” the President said.
In 1993, the entire Zambia National Football Team, officials and a journalist perished when the ZAF plane they were on crashed into the Atlantic Ocean shortly after taking off on the coast of Libreville in Gabon.
The national team was enroute to Senegal for a FIFA World qualifier in 1994.
Meanwhile, President Hichilema has wished the Zambia national soccer team the best of luck ahead of the 2023 Africa Cup qualifier against Ivory Coast.
The President said the national team must do the country proud and carry on the vision of the fallen heroes.
He further encouraged all sports men and women representing Zambia in various sports disciplines to do their best as both government and the country is supporting them.
“Zambia is known to be a footballing nation so they must continue walking that path and this government will support all footballers, athletes, boxers and all those in sports so that the totality of sports can best develop and advance in the overall picture of our quest to rebuild the country and also to reunite the nation,” he said.
Credit: ZANIS Hub