Johannesburg - The South African Football Association (SAFA) has sent a congratulatory letter to the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) on their country's historic African Cup of Nations (AFCON) victory over Ivory Coast on Sunday.
In a letter addressed to FAZ president Kalusha Bwalya, SAFA president Kirsten Nematandani said he was pleased and proud of what Zambia had achieved both for its people and the entire COSAFA region with their maiden AFCON trophy.
"On behalf of Safa, I would like to take this opportunity to join the Zambian people in congratulating the gallant soldiers of Chipolopolo for winning the 2012 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) final," said Nematandani.
"This is a momentous achievement for both your country and our COSAFA region. Your victory will go a long way to re-energise and inculcate the winning culture in the whole region and making it a force to be reckoned with.
"Having been written off as underdogs, your win showed that big names count for little where there is determination, will and commitment."
The SAFA president was also full of praise for the players and the coach of Zambia.
"Please convey to coach Herve Renard, captain Chris Katongo and the entire team our congratulations as we believe they deserve all the accolades for having taken your country and this region to the pinnacle of the continent," he said.
"Their names will forever be written in the continental soccer annals as heroes who conquered where few believed it was possible.
"Mr President, being a former top soccer player yourself, this victory is the ultimate satisfaction having survived the April 27, 1993 Gabon Air Disaster that killed 18 of your compatriots," Nematandani said.
"We believe the spirit of the fallen heroes was also the driving force that propelled Chipolopolo to conquer Africa.
"What a way to remember those fallen heroes. We join you in your moment of joy and jubilation," the SAFA president said.
SAFA also sent another letter to the Association presidents of both Equatorial Guinea and Gabon for successfully hosting the 2012 showpiece.
"We are proud to welcome the baton as we will be hosting the event next year and hope to emulate your successful achievements," Nematandani said.
"Once more, well done for the great work of your government and especially the general public, they showed great patriotism, hard work and welcomed visitors with humility. It is lesson the rest of Africa should learn."