In Zambia, as in many countries, soccer is the most popular sport. Most towns and cities have their own teams, cheered on by local fans. Zambians passionately follow the national team, which played at the 1988 Olympics. Soccer players such as Kalusha Bwalya, the team's retired captain and former African Footballer of the Year, rank as some of Zambia's greatest heroes.

 Boxing is also very popular. Lottie Mwale is the former Commonwealth light heavyweight boxing champion and Keith Mwila is Olympic bronze medallist in light flyweight boxing. Zambia's sports stars also include Samuel Matete, former world champion in 400-metre hurdles, and Satwant Singh, racing car driver. Squash champions such as Victoria Chishimba and Robby Lingashi are also admired. Other competitive sports in Zambia include rugby, badminton, tennis and golf.

Fishing on the country's large lakes is a popular pastime. Some Lusaka families go to fishing harbours such as Siavonga on Lake Kariba for the weekend. Lake Kariba also hosts an annual tiger fish contest, in which Zambians compete with people from around the world to catch the largest fish. On Lake Tanganyika, the world's longest lake, another popular fishing championship takes place each March.
  Did you know?
One of Zambia's newest heroes is a young chess player named Amon Simutowe. At 16, he won first prize at the South African Open Chess Championships.
Both children and adults in Zambia enjoy playing a traditional African board game called isolo. Using a wooden board shaped like an egg carton and a few stones or dried seeds, players try to capture all their opponents' pieces.

 In rural areas, boys play soccer, but girls play netball, a game like basketball. Children often make their own toys. A bundle of rags tied tightly together (ichimpombwa) can be used as a soccer ball. Pieces of discarded wire, carefully bent, can be shaped into elaborate toy cars.

 Girls in eastern Zambia play a game called nchuba. They dig a shallow hole about 25 cm wide and place 10 small round stones all around the hole, about 10 cm from the rim. Sitting in a circle around the hole, the girls take turns using their right hand to toss a larger stone in the air. Before catching it, they use the same hand to move one of the smaller stones into the hole. The winner is the girl who finishes the game without making a mistake.

  Did you know?
On April 17.1993, seventeen members of the Zambian World Cup team died when their airplane crashed into the sea off Gabon. The team was on its way to a World Cup qualifying game in Dakar, Senegal. Zambia still mourns the loss of these talented players.