FIFA President, Infantino, honours 1993 Zambia air crash victims, launches new development projects


FIFA President Gianni Infantino has paid tribute to the victims of the 1993 air crash involving the Zambia National team during his first visit to the southern African nation.

Infantino met with the relatives of the crash victims and inaugurated a new accommodation center to support the national women’s and youth teams.

He also met with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema.

During his visit to Heroes’ Acre, which honors the victims of the 1993 tragedy, Infantino laid a wreath at the memorial alongside FIFA Secretary General Mattias Grafstrom.

The plane carrying the Zambia national team to a FIFA World Cup qualifier in Senegal crashed shortly after a refueling stop in Gabon, claiming the lives of all 30 onboard, including 18 players.

Infantino presented each relative with a special shirt bearing the name of the player who passed away.

Accompanied by Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) President, Andrew Kamanga, Infantino also visited Embassy Park, an official monument in Lusaka where former Zambian presidents are buried.

“My first visit to Zambia was very fulfilling and I felt right at home amongst this country’s welcoming, football-loving people.

“It was fantastic to see everyone speak the language of football and speak the language of unity.

Our sport has a special place here in Zambia and football is certainly on the rise,” Infantino said.

During his meeting with President Hichilema, discussions focused on football development and the positive impact of football on society.

Read More: FAZ president, Kamanga, wants independence for provinces

Infantino recalled Zambia’s impressive 4-0 win over Italy at the Olympic Games football tournament in 1988.

The FIFA Forward development program has supported several infrastructure projects in Zambia.

Last year, Zambia completed the renovation of the David Kaunda Stadium in Chipata, which included repairs to the pitch, spectators’ facilities, changing rooms, and VIP seating.

Two other stadium renovation projects are underway, and FIFA Forward funds have also helped cover expenses for the U-20 national team.

Plans for the current FIFA Forward cycle include courses for referees, coaches, sports medicine experts, and administrators to raise standards, as well as further infrastructure development.

Infantino highlighted that the new center would help Zambia build on the recent success of the women’s national team, the Copper Queens, who qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time in 2023.

Barbra Banda had the honor of scoring the competition’s 1,000th goal in the match against Costa Rica.

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