Former Zambian President Rupiah Banda. FILE|AFRICA REVIEW
Zambia has beefed up its fan base by adding to the already high powered delegation former President Rupiah Banda to the group travelling to Gabon to watch the final match between Zambia and Cote d'Ivoire.
Mr Banda, a former Football Association of Zambia chairperson in the 70s, is an ardent fan of the Chipolopolo boys.
“This was after President Sata requested the former head of state, who is an ardent soccer fan to join First Republican president Kenneth David Kaunda, Republican Vice-President Guy Scott and other dignitaries who are travelling to Gabon to give solidarity and support to the Chipolopolo Boys as they play their final match tomorrow, “said a statement issued Saturday by President Michael Sata’s spokesperson George Chellah.
Mr Banda, who is the immediate past patron of the Chipolopolo boys, in his best wishes message said the Gabonese capital of Libreville, occupies a permanent place in the hearts of Zambians since it was the place where Zambia lost its football heroes who were heading to Senegal for a 1994 world cup qualifier.
“The pain of that crash still lingers and we must all remember that those players perished while trying to achieve victory and honour for our beloved country. It is my prayer that time has come for our current footballers to complete that task and bring smiles on the faces of millions of Zambians,” said Banda, who lost to Sata in the September presidential elections.
“I am glad to note that the seeds that we have all sowed from the first President to the current President have now sprouted into a squad capable of standing tall among the best footballing nations in Africa. As we have all seen from the celebrations that have engulfed our country, football is a unifying factor in our country and I hope we can even get more united after this victory which we all expect and I congratulate President Sata and his government for the continued support to the national team and all sports disciplines in the country.”