Zambia team returns home after African Cup win

AP, Monday 13 Feb 2012

Zambians welcomed their African heroes with a warm reception

Zambia players celebrate after their victory against Ivory Coast during their African Nations Cup final soccer match at the Stade De L'Amitie Stadium in Libreville February 12, 2012. (Photo: REUTERS)

Zambia’s soccer team triumphantly returns home to throngs of fans at the airport after they beat Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations finals.

The victorious Chipolopolo descended from their plane on Monday to shake their fans’ hands and show off the coveted trophy that had eluded Zambia for more than 30 years.

They were then driven in open army trucks along a route filled with cheering Zambians to a new commercial district that has sprung up in Lusaka near parliament, where official speeches and a musical concert are expected.

It was a bittersweet victory for Zambia playing in Libreville, Gabon, where in 1993 a Zambian military plane crashed into the ocean soon after takeoff. The 25 players and officials on board all died, along with a state news agency sports reporter and the military transport plane’s crew.

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