Thursday Jan 01, 2015. 11:30
A dark pall draped over Zambian football in 2014.
Five coaches who included two stars from Zambia's 1974 African Cup runners-up team left us in a year surviving members of that team quietly marked the 40th anniversary of winning silver in Cairo amidst the country's 50th independence celebrations.
The first passing was that of Green Buffaloes and ex-Shepolopolo coach George Chikokola in Lusaka on January 18 after an illness.
Three weeks later, ex-Zambia and Orlando Pirates striker Dennis Lota died on February 5 after a brief illness in Johannesburg.
March then saw the passing of former 1974 Africa Cup silver medal winner and defender Kaiser Kalambo on March 19 in Lusaka.
Ten days later on March 30, coach Keagan Mumba died just three months after parting ways with Zanaco whom he led to the 2012 FAZ Super Division title.
Zambia was again in mourning on April 22 when veteran radio and TV football commentator Dennis Liwewe also died in Lusaka. He was 78.
On May 23 , Nkana were plunged into mourning after their coach Masauso Mwale died in a car accident just six months after guiding the club to an unprecedented 12th league title and their first since 2001.
Mwale died on the eve of Nkana’s 2014 CAF Confederation Cup Group B match against Sewe Sport of Cote d'Ivoire .
The match went ahead 24 hours later as Nkana rallied from one-down to draw 1-1 at home with Sewe .
Zambia was then spared a eight-month lull without grief before ex-Zambia Under-20 midfielder Musonda Munaile died on December 18.
Munaile, who played for Red Arrows and Zanaco, was a member of Zambia’s 2009 COSAFA Youth Championship team that included Nathan Sinkala and Emmanuel Mayuka.
Four days later on December 23, another 1974 star Boniface Simutowe also passed away in Lusaka after a long illness.
Simutowe had coached Zambia in 1992 and was the team's long-serving goalkeeper trainer until ten years ago.