Coach of the Golden Eaglets, Nduka Ugbade, has dedicated his side’s 1-0 win against Zambia to members of the Chipolopolo senior men’s team that passed away in an air crash in 1993.
The Eaglets got off the U-17 AFCON on an impressive note beating Zambia in their Groupe B opener on Sunday.
The Eaglets were put ahead by Favour Daniel in the 77th minute which proved enough to seal the win.
Speaking on the 30th anniversary of the crash, Ugbade said the Eaglets’ triumph is dedicated to the Zambian team that died in the plane crash.
A DHC-5 Buffalo transport aircraft of the Zambian Air Force had on the evening of 27 April 1993, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean shortly after it took off from Libreville, Gabon.
The flight was conveying most of the Zambian national football team to a 1994 FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Senegal in Dakar. All 25 passengers and five crew members were killed.
Reflecting on the incident, Ugbade said, “I was a player myself back then and when I heard about the crash, I was very saddened because it is a thing that doesn’t happen so often except for the natural ones.
“But that Zambia was able to raise a team after that was a very wonderful thing. So our victory is dedicated to those that died, the ones that are living, and those that are representing Zambia in this competition.“
Ugbade expressed happiness that despite the difficult nature of the game, he is happy his team emerged winners.
He added: “Some of the passes that we made weren’t correct but we are talking about the youths, development is the thing we are talking about you would be expecting a lot of errors.
“But I thank God that the game was wonderful, was very difficult for us, and at the end of the day we got the victory.
“It is important you don’t lose your first match because you know youth football is ruled by psychology and not the technicalities or tactical discipline or the physical conditioning put in place for all the information that you give, it’s purely psychological.”
The Eaglets will play their next match against Group B leaders, Morocco, on Wednesday, May 3rd.
The Moroccans defeated South Africa 2-0 in their first match on Sunday.
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