Mwila had a brief international career, having been capped for Zambia between 1992 and April 1993 he and 17 of his national team team-mates perished off the coast of the Gabonese capital Libreville in a plane crash that has infamously come to be known as the Gabon Air Disaster.
Had it not been for the Gabon Air Disaster of April 199, the 1994 Tunisia-held AfCON tournament was going to be the wing-wizard’s first ever appearance.
Suffice it to say that in all the joint Tunisia AfCON and USA World Cup qualifiers, Mwila was a permanent feature of both the Samuel Ndhlovu and Godfrey Chitalu tutored squads.
Most notably, Mwila was in the Chitalu-Alex Chola coached team that thrashed Mauritius 3-0 in their own backyard on April 25, 993 in a Tunisia 1994 AfCON qualifier with his former Nkana team-mate Kelvin Mutale who had just joined Saudi Arabian side El-Ettifaq, grabbing the famous hat-trick on that day.
In earlier matches of Group 5 of the AfCON 1994 qualifiers that also had Zimbabwe (eventual runners-up to Zambia), South Africa (3rd finishers) and basement team Mauritius, Zambia had beaten Mauritius 2-1 in Lusaka on August 16, 1992 (which coincidentally fell on Kalusha Bwalya’s 29th birthday), to complete a double over the Indian Ocean Islanders – a victory to which Numba was a crucial part.
Numba also featured for Zambia when she beat South Africa by a lone goal on their homme turf on August 30 the same year.
The marauding winger was also in the Zambia line-up that drew 0-0 with Zimbabwe in the same series in Lusaka.
And in the last three 1994 FIFA World Cup qualification (CAF) matches Zambia played prior to the April 28, 1993 Gabon plane crash, Numba featured in all.
These were Zambia’s 3-1 away victory over Tanzania, the 4-0 bashing of Namibia in Lusaka and the 3-1 triumph over Madagascar at home.
Football runs in the Numba family
Without a shadow of doubt, football runs in the Numba family big time.
Apart from Mwila, the first born in the family overall, three of his brothers have walked in his footsteps, the trilogy who also went on to play for top-flight clubs domestically and form part of the over 70 sets of brothers to have played in the Zambian top tier – a world record to reckon with.
The three in question appearing in their order of birth with their number appearing in brackets after their names, are Mukuka (2nd), kasonde (3rd) and Mumamba (4th).
For Mwila and Mumamba, they form part of the 21 special band of brothers to have been capped for the senior Zambia team at different times.
And as if by design, all four brothers played either as midfielders or as midfielders-cum-wingers.
Mukuka, the second-born bother, emulated older brother Mwila by playing for Nkana between 1993 and 1996.
The former even equaled the latter in another sense. In Nkana’s 5-1 big win over Forest rangers in the November 10, 1992 Mosi Cup final was one of the four different scorers.
The following year, when Nkana appeared in the final of the same tournament with Mukuka in the starting line-up, he opened the scoring for the Kitwe giants in their 3-1 drubbing of Kabwe Warriors at Independence Stadium on November 28, 1993 – one year and 18 days since his late brother scored in the final of the same championship’s final.
The other two scorers for the triumphant Nkana side in the 1993 Mosi Cup final were Zeddy Saileti and Abeauty Kunda.
Mukuka would go one better than his big brother Mwila by winning all other honours domestically with Nkana Fc that glorious season – the Premier League, title, the Charity Shield, the BP Top 8 Cup, the Heroes and Unity Cup as well as the Champion of Champions Cup in addition to the Mosi Cup already referred to.
Elsewhere, Kasonde, who would be employed sparingly as a midfielder or as an out-and-out-winger, played for Ndola Wanderers in his formative years before plying his trade at Chililabombwe’s Konkola Blades.
And Mumamba, the most decorated of the quartet, launched his illustrious career with Ndola’s amateur club Inmex International in 1990. He also played for Ndola Wanderers (1992-1993), Ndola United (1994-1996), Konkola Blades (1997-1999) and Zanaco FC (2000-2012) – winning 6 Premier League titles, three Charity Shield titles, 1 BP Top 8 Cup in addition to two Coca-Cola Cup wins.
The magical winger-cum-middle-of-the-park player also won the Mosi Cup with Konkola Blades in 1998.
Mumamba played for the Zambia senior team between 1997 and 2002 2006, appearing at four African Cup of Nations (AfCON) tournaments in 1998 (Burkina Faso), 2000 (Ghana-Nigeria co-hosted), 2002 (Mali (2002) and 2006 (Egypt).
His biggest moment at senior national level came in 1998 when he collected a winners’ medal when Zambia lifted the regional COSAFA Castle Cup.
At junior level, on the other hand, Mumamba was part and parcel of the U-23 team that won silver during the All African Games held in Nigeria.
Mumamba is now six-time Premier League champions Zanaco FC head-coach.
At the time of the April 1993 Gabon Air Disaster, Mwila was a member of the Bachelor Club of the Zambia national team, be it as it may that he fathered a son named after him and is a member of the Zanaco junior team at Sunset Stadium.
The Numbas – 25 years after the Gabon air disaster
Since Mwila perished in the April 1993 Gabon Air Disaster 25 years ago, the Numba family has lost his father who passed away in 2004 and is outlived by his wife Cecilia.
Of his siblings of eight (8), former Nkana player Mukuka (4th -born) has also gone to the land of the departed. He died in 2008. His two other brothers – Kasonde (3rd born) and Mumamba (2nd born) added on to his four sisters named Emilia (5th-born), Conceptor (7th -born), Josephine (8th-born) and Lucy (9th-born), live on.