Zambia head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has said he will be inspired by the spirit of the Gabon Air crash victims while he performs his duties.
Speaking during a visit to the Gabon Memorial site on Tuesday, the former SC Villa and Orlando Pirates tactician said the players who perished 27 years years ago, when their aircraft crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, will forever be remembered by the nation.
The Chipolopolo were en route to Dakar for a Fifa World Cup qualifier against Senegal before their plane plunged into the ocean.
“So, I will just say I am inspired and motivated by this unfortunate situation that occurred 27 years before," Sredojevic was quoted by the Faz Facebook page as saying.
“I would like to say, may their souls rest in peace. As I said before I repeat that great people do not leave when they die, but they are alive until the last person that loves them leaves.
“Zambia will love them forever it means they are living forever in souls and hearts of Zambian football.”
The coach urged the current players to also draw inspiration from the 1993 victims and always strive to achieve the best for the country.
“We have other people that have no roots but based on these roots that have been made since independence,” he added.
“I believe that our players in Zambia that are playing here [local] and abroad are having an unbelievable injection of motivation and inspiration that could lead us to put in reality all the dreams that supporters are having.
“To achieve that dream, we are having an obligation, because every time we put on a jersey we need to know that people have laid down their lives for Zambia and we need such a spirit to enter every match to know who we are [and] what we are capable of doing.
“With such an approach I am convinced with the talent and quality of Zambian players we can reach very far.
“The only gap that we need to fill, is to pull up the socks and work very hard and leave the rest to God to judge.”
Sredojevic also mentioned memorable Chipolopolo generations that have done the nation proud, given their past achievements.
“It is very hard to find the right words to describe all this,” he continued.
“Fully aware of the honour and privilege that I have God’s gift to coach in a country where Zambia and Zambian football is a tree with very strong roots since independence and a document made and written by a generation of coaches like [Ante] Buselic who took the team to the 1974 [Afcon] finals.
“The greats that we have seen are lying here, may their soul rest in peace, they have written with golden letters the history of Zambia as a signature with 1994 reaching the finals after being motivated with this disaster that occurred.
“Then you had the generation of 2012 that has put the stamp on everything and has been a divine justice, God’s payback for what had been taken from Zambia.
“I have lived 20 years in Africa and you cannot imagine how much African countries are respecting Zambia and Zambian football and people generally here.”
Kalusha Bwalya, a Zambian legend, led the survivors in remembrance of the 1993 tragedy.