Amazing Sport Stories tells of plane crash killing Zambian football team

The BBC World Service podcast Amazing Sport Stories returns with the story of the 1993 plane crash that took the lives of the Zambian men’s national football team.

Presenter and former international footballer Robert Earnshaw hosts the series, telling how well Zambia did in football at the 1998 Olympics and how in 1993, the team was at a point to qualify for the World Cup for the first time.

Sadly, a plane carrying the team – nicknamed the KKXI after the Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda – crashed in Gabon in that year.

The tragedy broke the nation’s hearts and had a devastating impact on the families of the crash victims, but a new team was assembled to continue the World Cup dream and compete in the Africa Cup of Nations, the biggest football tournament in Africa.

Across the four-part series, Robert speaks to players and managers, to get first-hand accounts of the dramatic story of the World Cup qualifying campaign and Africa Cup of Nations in 1994.

He also hears from ex-footballers, journalists, football fans, academics and ordinary Zambian citizens.

Robert says: “This story is tragic, romantic, powerful, and simply one of the most fascinating football stories of all time.

“While narrating the story, I was especially moved given that as a football player I travelled on flights internationally the same as ‘The Copper Bullets’ (The Zambia Football Team), and it’s incredible that some of my family were supposed to be on that plane.”

Born in Zambia and raised in South Wales, Robert Earnshaw made his international debut for Wales in 2002, later playing for the Premier League.

The first episode of Copper Bullets will be available as a podcast on BBC Sounds on Monday 10 June and on other podcast platforms from Monday 17 June. Episodes will be released weekly. Copper Bullets will air weekly on BBC World Service radio from Saturday 13 July.

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