Zambians laud national soccer team skipper for winning BBC awardSouce:Xinhua Publish By Dustin Updated 19/12/2012 5:38 am in Sport / no comments
LUSAKA, Dec. 18 — Zambians have commended skipper of the national soccer team Christopher Katongo for being crowned 2012 British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) African Footballer of the Year award, saying it is a morale booster as the team goes to defend the Africa Cup of Nations title next year.
The Zambian skipper was on Monday crowned the winner of the award, becoming the first southern African player to win it. He got over 40 percent of the votes to stave off competition from Cote d’Ivoire players Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure, Senegal’s Demba Ba and Morocco’s Younes Belhanda.
Daniel Kaoma, a soccer analyst said the win is good, especially that the player played a pivotal role in Zambia’s winning of its maiden Africa Cup of Nations title early this year.
“It is good for the whole team because it will give them morale as they go towards defending the Africa Cup knowing that their captain has been honored,” he told Xinhua in an interview.
He said winning the award was not an easy task as he came up against some of the continent’s big names such as Drogba and Toure, adding that Zambia will go to the 2013 Africa Cup finals riding on a good high in African football.
Head coach of the national team, Herve Renard said he is proud of his captain for being crowned winner, adding that it will boost the morale in camp.
The Frenchman said his captain as been exemplary to other players both on and off the pitch.
The president of the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) Kalusha Bwalya commended Katongo for winning the award, saying he has continued the legacy of the national team’s jersey 11 well. Kalusha also used to put on the Jersey 11.
Katongo has become the third Zambian player in the southern African nation to win a continental award after Kalusha Bwalya won the CAF African Footballer of the Year in 1988 and Clifford Mulenga the 2007 African Young Player of the Year.
Katongo, 30, who plays for Chinese side, Henan Construction, scored three goals on Zambia’s route to win the 2012 Africa Cup title. He also played a pivotal role in the team’s qualification for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals to be held in South Africa starting on January 19 next year.