Zambia heroes awarded $59,000 as cup bonus

Zambia heroes awarded $59,000 as cup bonus

LUSAKA - Agence France-Presse
Zambia heroes awarded $59,000 as cup bonus

Zambia players will all get bonuses after their surprising Cup of Nations win. AFP photo

The Zambian government has given $59,000 to each player in the national side which won the country’s first Africa Cup of Nations title on Feb. 12, the sports minister said yesterday.

“The government has given each one of you $59,000, and that is beside what the corporate organizations might decide to give. This money is from the government,” Chishimba Kambwili said.

It is a princely sum in a nation where, per capita, the gross domestic product is less than $1,500.

Zambia defeated hot favorites Ivory Coast 8-7 on penalties after 120 goalless minutes in last weekend’s final, which had emotional overtones for Zambia.

The final was staged in the Gabonese capital Libreville, off whose coast a military aircraft carrying the 1993 Zambian squad plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 30 players and crew on board.

The victorious national team returned home on Feb. 13, sparking a near stampede at the Lusaka show grounds where 200,000 people gathered to celebrate the Chipolopolo Boys (Copper Bullets).

Players and government officials had to be whisked away amid highly chaotic scenes after fans became unruly.