They said despite them being incarcerated, they went into jubilation when the Zambia soccer team lifted the AFCON trophy when they defeated the celebrated Ivory Coast team 8-7 on penalty shoot-outs .
The inmates congratulated the Chipolopolo Boys saying the national team’s success at the AFCON co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon from January 21 to February 12, 2012 brought a lot of joy among them.
They were speaking when Vice-President Guy Scott toured Mukobeko Maximum Prison in Kabwe on Wednesday.
They said Zambia’s triumph during the AFCON final in Gabon on February 12, had brought united the nation and commended the Chipolopolo Boys for making Zambia, Africa and the whole world proud with their achievement.
However, through their representative Evans Bunda-Mutima the inmates begged for forgiveness, saying, they deserve to be given a second chance by society just like national team coach Herve Renard who brought about bitterness among soccer fans and the nation after he left to coach the Angolan team has been forgiven by the nation.
Bunda-Mutima explained that following the departure of Renard in 2010 after the Angola AFCON finals, most Zambians lost hope of qualifying for the 2012 edition, but the Chipolopolo managed to qualify under former coach Dario Bonetti who was fired last year in October and Renard was re-hired for the job.
They told the Scott that currently Zambians, were still celebrating the AFCON victory despite criticism on re-elected Football Association Zambia (FAZ) president Kalusha Bwalya’s decision to re-engage the Frenchman following his unceremonial departure in 2010.
Bunda-Mutima said a lot of people insulted Kalusha over his decision to bring back Renard despite him ditching Zambia earlier but that the 1988 African footballer-of the-year stood his ground and today Zambians are celebrating the fruits of giving the coach a second chance.
“We are therefore of the view that just like Renard who was given a second chance after disappointing us and hurting a lot of people, we too in prison deserve to be considered as such, ” he said.