HomeStoriesThe Zambian air disaster of 1993

The Zambian air disaster of 1993

April 27, 2017

This day in football history

On 27 April 1993, a plane carrying the Zambian national team crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, killing everyone on board.

The plane, a military DHC-5 Buffalo, was carrying the team to Senegal for a World Cup qualifying match and had just stopped in Libreville, Gabon to refuel. Shortly after takeoff, it lost power and crashed into the water.

The crash killed all 30 passengers, including 18 members of the Zambia national team, their manager and support staff. The only team member not killed in the crash was their captain, Kalusha Bwalya, who was in the Netherlands playing for PSV Eindhoven and had made separate flight arrangements to get to Senegal.

The Football Association of Zambia chose to continue its efforts to qualify for the 1994 World Cup and quickly formed a new squad around Bwalya. They fell one point short of qualification, however, losing 1–0 to Morocco in the final match when a draw would have put them through.

The new team found success the following year, advancing to the 1994 African Nations Cup final against Nigeria. They took an early lead in the third minute and, though they eventually lost 2–1, returned home as national heroes.

They returned to the final in 2012, where they beat Ivory Coast on penalties, 0–0 (8–7) to win the competition for the first time.



Brian Seal


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