The Classics: Italy vs Zambia, 1988

By Gemma Mcdonald | June 23rd, 2009 No Comments

In the 1960s African teams were not taken seriously by FIFA, which denied them a single guaranteed place in the World Cup finals until 1970. Yet African sides performed well in Olympic football tournaments. Ghana reached the quarterfinals in 1964 and Nigeria drew with Brazil in 1968. But most impressively, Zambia demolished Italy 4-0 in 1988. Led by Kalusha Bwalya—the greatest Zambian player ever—Chipolopolo (The Copper Bullets) proved that African national teams could hold their own on the world’s stage. Tragically, many of the stars of that game died in a plane crash on 27 April 1993.

Read the report about the plane crash here. Football historian, Paul Darby, has written about these tragic events in a book about disasters.

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