Home Cannes Film Festival 2015 Goosebumps from Zambian Documentary Chronicling Team’s Comeback

Goosebumps from Zambian Documentary Chronicling Team’s Comeback


Goosebumps. This film – The e18hteam – will have you in tears. Particularly if you are from Africa. But even from France.


The film is a compilation of cuts from several¬†documentaries and news items on world media. It’s a true story. The tragedy of the Zambian National Football team – Chiplopolo ¬†– who lost their lives in a plane crash on their way to a World Qualifier in Senegal 18 years and 9 months before triumphing at the African Cup of Nations in 2012 in Gabon.

The country decides to rebuild its team after the tragic loss. It became a national necessity. And with everyone behind them – and an awesome French coach – they led the way for a country in mourning – to a country rejoicing.

Some scenes are so sad to witness – a walk on the beach on the same spot where the 18 died.

The resurrection of Zambia’s national football team after losing 18 players in a plane crash in Gabon in 1993. A 18-year road of reconstruction until destiny makes its move: in Gabon, Zambia becomes African Champion after a long 18 penalty-shoot-out.

I sat in the movie house after it finished and sobbed. With not just sorrow. But joy and pride for coming from Africa. This film is about more than just a soccer team. It’s about a nation, a continent. It’s about the human soul and our constant quest to overcome the unimaginable and triumph!

Sadly many people did not get to see the movie as it wasn’t shown in the Palais…and not even walking distance from it. In a little known cinema I’ve never been to before in all my years in Cannes. But hopefully this film has legs and will get seen by a wider audience. Cannes cinemagoers missed out on one of the most poignant¬†stories every told.

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Jenni is the co-founder and chief editor of SAPeople.com, co-author of The Expat Confessions and co-parent of three gorgeous daughters. After graduating, she worked as a TV producer, political researcher and journalist in South Africa, before moving to London to interview movie stars for international magazines and to tackle British teen angst for London Weekend Television. She has also lived in Australia, and currently lives in France. Jenni is happiest paddle boarding on the Med or sipping rooibos in the bush in Africa. Contact jen@sapeople.com