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Football | Zambia

Chris Katongo @ SS com

Katongo wins top BBC award

Christopher Katongo has been crowned the 2012 BBC African Footballer of the Year.

The captain of reigning African champions Zambia was presented with the award at a ceremony in Lusaka by Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili and FAZ president Kalusha Bwalya.

"On behalf of the BBC, I am pleased to give this award and invite the president of the Football Association of Zambia Kalusha Bwalya to present it to Chris Katongo," the BBC's Farayi Mungazi said before handing over the trophy to Kalusha.

"I'm speechless. I don't know what to say but my heart is rejoicing. I am grateful to the people who have spoken through their democratic vote," Katongo said after becoming the first East, Central and Southern African player to win the BBC annual player accolade.

Faz chief Kalusha -the only player in the sub-region to win the coveted African Footballer of the Year in 1988 - commended Chris on the accolade.

He said Kalusha had carried the legacy of the greatness of the Zambia national team number "11" shirt very well.

"Well done Chris. This is a fantastic achievement in a year that we continue to achieve lots of success. You have stood out as leader and captain of the team. Ben would have been very proud of you because when we said no to retiring the number 11, we said Chris can continue with the great legacy of the shirt. You have done very well. Congratulations too to your team colleagues, Herve Renard and his staff and all the people that continue to support us," Kalusha said.

"You have continued the great legacy of the number 11 shirt. I'm sure you will remember the late Ben Bamfuchile who gave you your first national team game. When Ben was there, we discussed the shirt and when giving you that number 11, we said that this shirt can score goals on its own. The number itself scores the goals and you have lived up to it."

Kambwili dedicated the award to the rest of the team.

"It's wonderful that we continue winning. You would not have been able to do it on your own that's why I would like to dedicate this award to the whole national team," Kambwili said.

Katongo saw off the challenge of Didier Drogba, Demba Ba, Yaya Toure and Youness Belhanda to win his first continental award.


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