By SAMUEL LUKHANDA –
Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president Andrew Kamanga will today lead relatives, fans and officials to commemorate 23 years since the Gabon air disaster that claimed 25 footballers’ and officials’ lives.
The ceremony will take place at Heroes Square in Lusaka where Kamanga will lay a wreath at the burial site.
Prayers will be conducted by the Zambia Army chaplain in what the association terms as a low-key event.
This is contained in a statement issued yesterday by FAZ acting general secretary Katongo Kabungo.
FAZ has invited members of the football family, fans and Zambians at large to join in the memorial.
Kabungo said FAZ, in conjunction with its partner Supersport, will ferry relatives of the Gabon disaster heroes to Lusaka for the commemoration.
They will then return to their respective places soon after the event at the Heroes site and lunch.
“We will have the annual observance ceremony to mark this day because it remains embedded in our history and will carry on with us as the events of that day left an indelible mark on our football history.
“The activities will remain low-key in line with the decision made by the executive committee and presented to the council to observe this day every five years. We remain on course in planning for the 25th anniversary,” said Kabungo.
What is widely known as the Gabon air disaster happened on the evening of April 27, 1993 when, minutes into its scheduled flight to Dakar, Senegal, and 500m off the Atlantic Ocean in Libreville, Gabon, the Zambia Air Force Buffalo plane crashed, killing all on board.
On board was the Zambia national soccer team players and technical staff, flight crew, FAZ president, Government official and a journalist, who were heading to Dakar for a World Cup qualifier against Senegal.