With the recent release of the brilliant Zambian film “e18hteam”, we thought this was a good time to reflect on Zambian soccer in general and the way forward.
The majority of the Zambian population enjoy soccer either at home or in a sports bar, making it one of the most popular spectator sports in Zambia. The Zambian team is popularly known as Chipololo for the men and She Polopolo for the ladies. e18hteam, produced by Juan Rodriguez-Briso and Ngosa Chungu, is all about “the epic Chipolopolo journey from tragedy to triumph”. It artfully combines retrospective clips of Italian football, Zambian football and the 1992 Gabon tragedy, together with the thrills of the 2012 Afcon victory game (you can watch the trailer here). The film seeks to express what all this means to the Zambian consciousness in terms of national identity and the evolution of a confident and achievement-oriented people. I believe it succeeds in this.
Zambia has had its fair share of wins and losses in the game of football. There were massive celebrations in 2012 when the Chipolopolo boys brought victory to Zambia by winning the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) with Herve Renard as the head coach. This gave Zambia a continental title, becoming the fourteenth nation to win the title. Dedicated to the Zambian players who died in the 1993 plane crash, this win attracted investment into Zambian football. But there has not been too much to show for it. Continue reading