A thunderous welcome awaits the Zambian National Soccer Team alias Chipolopolo from Gabon where they emerged champions in the just ended African Cup of Nations (AFCON) today at the Kenneth Kaunda International airport.
This is after lifting the African nation’s soccer trophy last night after beating the Elephants of Ivory Coast 8-7 on a post penalty match in Libreville, Gabon.
As at Friday, Government had started putting in place preparations to ensure that the Chipolopolo boys are treated to a thunderous welcome upon return from Libreville, Gabon where they had gone to challenge the AFCON trophy.
According to a tentative programme issued to ZANIS and copied to the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and Labour Permanent Secretary, the Chipolopolo boys are expected to arrive in the country today at about 12:00 hours.
The team is expected to arrive in the company of Vice President Guy Scott and will be received from the airport by soccer fans and later be taken to the Show grounds where a series of entertainment have been lined up in the team’s honour.
And Chief of Protocol Colonel Chongo Shula told ZANIS in a telephone interview this morning that according to a tentative programme, the Chipolopolo are expected in the country from Libreville at about 12 hours and activities in honour of the national soccer team will take place at the Show grounds at about 13 30 hours.
The tentative programme, which was issued to ZANIS on Friday, stated that members of the public who want to be part of the celebrations were expected to be seated in the Main arena by 10:00 hours waiting for the arrival of team.
Zambia’s victory to Ivory Coast last night is landmark as the country is lifting the cup for the first time.
The final AFCON match was played in Libreville where the entire Zambia’s soccer team which was en-route to Senegal for the World Cup qualifier in 1994 perished in a plane crush off the coast of Gabon.
In the recent past, fans have celebrated every moment of the team’s splendid performance especially against the highly rated teams such as Senegal, Libya, and Ghana including the host Equatorial Guinea at their home ground.
In a related development, Valiant Innovative Creations, which has been mandated to organise the event at the Show grounds by Ministry of Youth and Sport has told ZANIS that among the activities lined up to honour the Zambian soccer team include music from Zambian musicians.
Technical Director, Peace Mutetwa, described the event which will take place in the Show grounds as home coming party for Chipolopolo./ZANIS