have been the big 'almosts' of African football. After a most promising
team emerged at the 1988 Olympics and during the following Nations Cup
tournaments Zambia lost a complete player generation in an air crash tragedy
during the World Cup campaign for 1994.
Zambia, led by legen
Kalusha Bwalya, who had not been on the plane sensationally came close
to winning the 1994 Nations Cup against all odds and as narrowly as they
were beaten in the final in Tunis, they were beaten on their way to USA.
1996 even stronger
Zambia came back in South Africa to lose in a semi final, in which every
ball seemed to take the wrong bounce that day against Tunisia.
But from 1998 on they
reflected the alleged decline in the administrative work on the field with
only the bright performance of the Under 20 squad 1999 delivering a glimpse
of hope for the future.
Veteran Kalusha Bwalya
tried to help out still in both occasions, 1998
and 2000, but Zambia failed
to make it past the first round twice. Qualification
2002 had been in limbo for a long time but finally Zambia made it and
will now start from a position as complete outsiders of the group.
advantage of no pressure and possibly being underrated by opponents could
transform this Nations Cup into some pleasure trip for the Zambian players
which do have talent included in the squad despite the absence of injuries.
But they will have
to develop a new structure quickly in Nations Cup #1 after the Kalusha