In 1974, Zaire became just the third African nation to take part in football’s World Cup. Having been crowned African champions earlier that same year, the team known as the Leopards had big hopes for a successful tournament in West Germany. However, their campaign is predominantly remembered for a 9-0 defeat and a moment viewed by many as something comedic. Mwepu Ilunga’s decision to run out of a defensive wall and smash the ball downfield as opponent’s Brazil prepared to take a free-kick has become part of World Cup folklore, but the true reasons behind the defender’s apparent rush of blood to the head are likely to be less amusing. Ian Williams speaks to Mohamed Kalambay, part of Zaire’s 1974 squad, to try to discover the truth of it all.
(Photo: The Zaire team line up to face Brazil in their final group game of the 1974 World Cup in Gelsenkirchen, West Germany. Credit: Getty Images)
Kuwait at the 1982 World Cup
With the the Middle East's first football World Cup underway this week, we look back to when Kuwait made its first and only appearance at the World Cup in 1982. The amateur side put in respectable performances against France and England. But, press attention focused on the Kuwaitis’ team mascot, a camel called Haydoo, who became such a fan favourite that he even inspired a hit song. Sumaya Bakhsh talked to Kuwait's captain at the tournament, Saad al-Houti, about how Haydoo came to represent national pride for a team that had been dismissed by the foreign media as a bunch of camel-herders. This programme was first broadcast in 2021.
(Photo: Kuwait players celebrate during the 1982 World Cup. Credit: Getty Images)
When Diana Ross missed a penalty at the World Cup
In 1994, the USA hosted the FIFA World Cup for the first time. The choice of host nation was a controversial one because, at that time, the US didn't have an active professional football league. Alan Rothenberg was the man in charge of organising the competition. He decided to book Motown legend, Diana Ross, to headline the opening ceremony in Chicago. Her penalty miss in front of 67,000 fans became an iconic moment in World Cup history. Alan has been sharing his memories of the tournament with Matt Pintus.
(Photo: Diana Ross performs at the World Cup opening ceremony. Credit: Getty Images)
The Golden Girls of Zimbabwe
In 1980, the newly independent nation of Zimbabwe was invited to enter a women's hockey team at the Olympic Games in Moscow. Despite their unfamiliarity with the pitches - and each other - the players won an unexpected gold medal and were nicknamed the Golden Girls. In 2016, Claire Bowes talked to Liz Chase, one of the victorious Zimbabweans.
(Photo: Zimbabwe's women's hockey team display their gold medals. Credit: Patricia McKillop via Alamy)
Tonton Zola Moukoko: The best Championship Manager player ever
For millions of gamers all over the world Tonton Zola Moukoko is a cult hero. The Swedish-Congolese footballer found fame as a brilliant player in the computer game series Championship Manager. But in the real world, things were very different. He never managed to break into Derby County’s first team and in his personal life there were moments of immense tragedy. He has been sharing his story with Matt Pintus.
(Photo: Tonton in front of screenshot of Championship Manager. Credit: Tonton Zola Moukoko)