FEBRAURY 12 2019 marked exactly 7 years since Zambia won its maiden and only Africa Cup of Nations senior title in Librevile Garbon after 120 minutes of an entertaining game against a highly fancied tournament favorite, Ivory Coast.
The night leading into the morning of Monday Febraury 13 was special and emotional for many a Chipolopolo faithful as it only meant that Zambia won an elusive title of about 40 years, having first entered the competition in 1974 only to win it 4 decades later in Librevile, a country where a highly talented group of nation team players had perished 19 years earlier in a plane crash.
The 2012 tournament and later, victory, ignited memories of the 1993 KK eleven that many envisioned winning the 1994 Tunisian tittle and later on qualify to the Atlanta and Georgia World Cup save for the April 27 plane crash that shattered those dreams taking away a generation of talented footballers.
2012 brought a new lease of life in Zambian football as many soccer fans, pundits and administrators took to social media to look back at the glorious year.
‘’Loved watching this today, brought tears to my eyes for many reasons,’’ said former FAZ, President Kalusha, on his Facebook page after he shared a video of the 2012 final.
‘’7 years ago today!! What a feeling. Well done boys and everyone involved wherever you are #Zambia #chipolopolo #AFCON #africacupofnations #Champions #Gabon #Champions #ChampionsofAfrica #AfricanChampions,’’ he went on to say.
Bwalya further told this reporter, in a recent interaction in Lusaka, that winning the 2012 AFCON title was as a result of proper planning, preparation, culminated by belief and consistency.
Former FAZ vice president Boniface Mwamelo had his own account of the day as he recounts that it was a very emotional day for him.
‘’At exactly at 13:27 hours on Monday, 13th February 2012, the Airbus 319 plane carrying the National Team delegation from Gabon touched down at KKIA,’’ recounts Mwamelo.
Whilst on the runway, but before the plane reached the apron, the Airport fire brigade gave us a Water Salute – very befitting for a team that had just conquered Africa when very few people had given us little chance or none at all.
When we were finally at the apron, Prez KB,( Kalusha) asked me as head of delegation, to be the first one out of the plane, followed by the FAZ CEO and the rest of the team. He, (Kalusha Bwalya) would then come out last with the Coach, team captain and the trophy.
Mwamelo narrates that when he stepped out and saw the multitude of people awaiting the team, all the emotions he had suppressed the previous day, flooded his mind and by the time he was greeting the lined up dignitaries, he was completely overwhelmed by emotions adding that he would never forget the day.
Meanwhile, former FAZ general secretary in the Kalusha executive, George Kasengele, also posted a short statement relieving his memories of the days saying it was his greatest day of his life.
“This day, 7 years ago, the best day of my life, I have never been more proud to be called a Zambian,’’ recounts Kasengele.
Many more soccer administrators, including former Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) spokesperson Nkweto Tembwe , Sports Journalists Mumbo Lombe o, Philemon Tembo, Puncherello Chama and Aaron Mubanga, all took to social media page to relieve their memories of Febraury 12, 2012.
In the post 2012 Africa Cup of Nations triumph Zambia has gone on face back to back first round elimination from the tournament in 2013 and 2015 respectively as well as back to back failure to qualify in 2017 and 2019 Africa Cup ob nations.