Newly crowned Cosafa champions were treated to a heroic welcome at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) with sports minister Elvis Nkandu and FAZ president Andrew Kamanga leading the welcoming party.
Zambia successfully defended the crown they won in Durban last year and became record seven-time winners of the 26-year-old regional championship.
The team arrived at 12:45 hours aboard a South African Airways flight.
The 2023 victory replicated the 1997-98 run which saw Zambia win back-to-back titles.
Addressing the players, Nkandu was scheduled to depart for New Zealand for the FIFA Women World Cup tournament said the Chipolopolo had set the tone for the Copper Queens.
He said that winning the Cosafa crown was no mean achievement as other nations were craving for the trophy too.
“It gives us great pleasure to receive the Chipolopolo after defending and winning Zambia’s seventh COSAFA title. This is no mean achievement, and we salute the team for successfully defending the title and winning it back-to-back. As a New Dawn government, we believe sport is the greatest tool to empower our youths and today, we are proud to receive our heroes after they successfully defended the COSAFA title for the seventh time. We are proud of the team’s achievement, and we are confident this is the beginning of more good things to come, ” Nkandu said.
“We are confident that this achievement will also inspire the Women’s national team to perform better as they start their journey at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. A lot of countries wanted to win this year’s COSAFA title, but you stood strong and defended it with pride. We are proud of you. I am currently rushing to catch a flight for the World Cup, but all I can say is, except the President of the Republic of Zambia to call on you. We are proud of you as you can see from the welcome and we wish you the best even as you prepare for future engagements like the CHAN, AFCON finals, and World Cup qualifiers that begin in November”.
FAZ President Andrew Kamanga said the association is proud of the team’s achievement.
“As an association, we are proud of the team’s achievement. To the players, you now have the opportunity to vie for a slot in the coming CHAN, AFCON, and World Cup qualifiers. Please make use of every opportunity and we are proud of your achievement” said Kamanga.
Coach Moses Sichone thanked the government and the FAZ for their support throughout the tournament.
“On behalf of the team, we want to thank the government and the FAZ for the support they rendered to the team during and after the tournament. I also want to thank the players for the good work and discipline they showed throughout the tournament. I also want to thank my technical bench and everyone else involved in this success as well as the fans for the thunderous welcome they have given us. We feel at home. I urge all the players to remain disciplined and continue working hard even in the assignments ahead, ” said Sichone.
And team representative Benedict Chepeshi thanked the FAZ and the government for the support rendered throughout the tournament.
Delegation leader Jordan Maliti thanked the team for their hard work during the assignment and delivering the trophy.
FAZ Technical Director Lyson Zulu was also part of the Cosafa contingent.