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Rebecca Blackwell, Associated Press
Zambia's Emmanuel Mayuka heads a ball during Zambia's African Cup of Nations semifinal match against Ghana at Bata Stadium, in Bata, Equatorial Guinea Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. Mayuka scored to give Zambia a 1-0 win over Ghana.

LIBREVILLE, Gabon — Zambia returned to Libreville and the scene of its worst sporting tragedy promising to honor the footballers who died in a plane crash 19 years ago with a first African Cup title.

At the city's Leon Mba airport, where the fated airplane took off nearly two decades ago, coach Herve Renard told The Associated Press that his team "wanted absolutely to come back to Gabon 19 years after the tragedy."

Renard said the best thing to honor the memories of the 25 Zambian players and officials who died in the 1993 accident was "to win the final and make all the country happy."

Zambia is not expected to beat mighty Ivory Coast in Sunday's final, and Renard said "we are not the favorite ... but it will be very difficult to beat us."