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Africa Cup of Nations 2012
Zambia look to the past for inspiration
Copper Bullets hoping to honour national team killed in 1993 crash with victory over Sudan in Africa Cup quarters.
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2012 19:35
Zambia, who topped Group A, are in the knockout stages for the second successive tournament [EPA]

Zambia's quest for a first Africa Cup of Nations semi-final appearance in 16 years is motivated by their desire to pay homage to the national team that perished in a plane crash in 1993.

The tragedy that wiped out a generation of Zambian internationals occurred when a Zambian Air Force plane carrying the national squad ditched into the Atlantic shortly after refuelling in the Gabonese capital Libreville.

All 30 people, 25 passengers and five crew, on board died.

An official inquiry found that pilot fatigue and an instrument error had contributed to the disaster.

The flight was en route to a 1994 World Cup qualifier against Senegal in Dakar.

Aspiration

"It would be magnificent to play the final in Gabon," captain Chris Katongo said in Bata on Friday on the eve of the Copper Bullets' Africa Cup of Nations last eight clash with Sudan.

"We lost all the national team in 1993. Their souls are somewhere out there...but we can't let up, if we want to reach this level we have to remain alert.

"People back in Zambia are thinking of the 1993 crash, they're saying that as the tournament is in Gabon, it'll be our Cup. It's for us now out on the pitch to provide the fans with that pleasure."

The China-based Katongo, who scored the winner against Equatorial Guinea in their closing first round game, added: "Everyone is eager to write a new chapter in the history of Zambian football.

"It's a long time since we made it the Nations Cup semi-finals back in 1996."

Asked at the traditional eve of match press conference whether he was feeling added pressure, he replied: "Yes, but life is all about pressure, even between husband and wife at home there's pressure!"

Zambia go into Saturday's game missing one of their squad, the striker Clifford Mulenga who was expelled for reportedly not respecting a curfew at the team hotel.

Coach Herve Renard commented: "It was a message for everyone. A manager must give very strong messages, it will make the group more solid."

Source:
AFP
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