Motsepe Caf President mourns the death of African Giant Kaunda


The head of the African football body describes the late 'true statesman' as the father of the continent

Confederation of African Football President Patrice Motsepe has mourned pan African hero and Zambia’s first Republican President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda.

Kaunda, who was 97, passed away on Thursday after he was admitted to the Maina Soko Military Hospital in Lusaka earlier this week.

He became president of Zambia in 1964 when the Southern African nation gained its independence from Britain, was in power until 1991, and was among the continent's few surviving liberation heroes.

Under Kaunda’s reign, the Zambia national team was christened “KK11” and in a statement published on the official Caf website, the African body’s boss has described the former president as a true statesman.

“It was with great sadness that I learned of our former President Kenneth Kaunda’s passing. He was a father to all of us on the African continent. In this sorrowful time and on behalf of Caf, I would like to extend to you and the people of Zambia our heartfelt condolences,” Motsepe said.

“President Kaunda was a true African statesman, a man of principle who played a role in the liberation and advancement of not only Zambia but several other African nations. For those of us who are South African, we will always be indebted to him and the people of Zambia for their contributions and sacrifices towards our democracy.”

He added: “In the world of football, the support that President Kaunda gave to the “KK 11” led to the growing popularity of football as Zambia’s national sport. It is a fitting tribute to President Kaunda’s legacy that the “Shepolopolo” will represent Zambia at this year’s Women's Olympic Football Tournament in Tokyo.”

Motsepe further said: “A great statesman has left this world, but he will forever live in our hearts and minds. May the friendship and thoughts of the entire African football family offer some comfort to the nation of Zambia through this difficult time.”

On Friday, former Zambia international Kalusha Bwalya also led the football world in mourning the demise of Kaunda.

Bwalya, who currently serves as a standing committee member at Fifa and Caf, and was the president of the Football Association of Zambia from 2008 to 2016, paid a glowing tribute to the former Head of State by stating he will always be a proud member of the “KK11”.

“Goodbye to you President Kenneth Kaunda,” Bwalya wrote on his social media pages. “I am and will always be a proud member of the "KK11”. Dignity & honour.

“May your dear soul Rest in Eternal Peace, knowing the immense impact you made on all of us Zambians, Africans, and the world at large. Sincerest condolences to the family.”

The government of Zambia has already declared 21 days of national mourning.

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