By Michael Chawe
Zambia's largest University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka recorded two deaths and 33 road traffic accident cases arising from peoples' excitement after Zambia defeated Ghana.The hospital's casualty ward also recorded 13 cases of assault as Lusaka residents celebrated Zambia's win.
Hospital public relations manager Pauline Mbangweta confirmed the accidents to journalists.
"This is the highest number of casualties that the institution has recorded from the time the Africa Cup of Nations games started, "she said.Also an unidentified man in his early 20's the same night sustained serious injuries after jumping off a moving vehicle along the Great East Road.Meanwhile, the Zambia News and Information Services reported that three jubilant juvenile soccer fans in Mazabuka, about 215m South of Lusaka died on the spot after being hit by a vehicle during the celebrations.
It reported that the soccer fans most of them boys and girls from nearby compounds took to the streets singing victorious songs after the match."The fans were knocked down by a fast moving car as they descended into town from Radio Mazabuka where they had gone to register their excitement leaving 3 of them dead while more than 20 are battling for their lives at Mazabuka district hospital, "the news agency reported.
It said among the dead are two boys and one girl whose parents were not known by 23:00 hours.It reported that a check at Mazabuka district hospital around 21:00 hours found medical officers attending to a huge number of casualties while the police had a tough times controlling soccer fans clad in national colours and sympathizers that thronged the hospital to check for relatives among casualties.
It also said a-12 -year-old boy died on the spot last night after he was hit by a vehicle along the Great North road.The accident happened as a crowd of soccer fans took to the streets of Kapiri Mposhi approximately 280Km North of Lusaka.This could be an emotional outing for the Chipolopolo. In 1993, a plane carrying the Zambian national soccer team crashed into the Atlantic Ocean soon after take-off, off the coast of Libreville. All 30 on board died.
Soccer fans in Zambia are bubbling with confidence that this final maybe the Chipolopolo's first time of lifting the elusive Cup."We are winning. Cote d'Ivoire game is phyisical, ours is free flowing and attacking they will have difficuilties,"Lenganji Sikapizye, a Chipolopolo fan in Lusaka said."They are just good on paper we just need to marshall the defence." In dramatic turn of events, Zambian women who rarely openly cheer football seem to have been persuaded this time around.
"This encounter seems tough. I was very positive with the Ghana one but this one I can't predict though this cup looks like it is for Zambia,"Hellen Kashinga, 26 mother of one and a Kitwe resident said.
"Whatever the outcome of Sunday's match against Ivory Coast, our boys deserve a pat on their backs. On the other hand,I would like to urge Chipolopolo boys to be careful on set pieces because Ivory coast seems very strong in aerial attacking.Viva Zambia...go for it boys!" read one of the Facebook postings by one fan Chandwe Kabange.
Messages of goodwill, best wishes and predictions in favour of Zambia have continued to flood social network sites.
This will be Zambia's third appearance in the final after 1974 and 1994. On both occasions, they finished second best.This time around, Coach Herve Renard reckons Zambia are good enough to take gold.
Zambia Captain Christopher Katongo told that Zambian media the night of the victory that the team was ready to go 'all the way'.
"As a captain this is the greatest moment any player can ever feel,"Katongo said."This is our Cup, we have to take this Cup. This at the moment is the greatest feeling."