15 December 2012

Zambia: Katongo Treasures Afcon Gold Medal

Felix Malunga — ZAMBIA skipper, Christopher Katongo says he greatly treasures the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) gold medal, an accolade which some top African football stars like Didier Drogba can only buy from shops.

Katongo said he worked hard with the Chipolopolo to earn an AFCON gold medal this year and that it was something which keeps bringing smiles to his face.

In an interview with pay-television SuperSport which was aired during Thursday's Soccer Africa programme, Katongo said the likes of Drogba, the Ivory Coast skipper, had played football at the highest level in the world but still failed to win an AFCON gold.

"To have an AFCON medal is not easy. The likes of Drogba have played at the highest level of football. They have been fighting to have this medal but to no avail. They need this medal (AFCON gold) and can go to shops to buy it. But as for me, no one can get it (medal) from me," he said.

On his seclusion from the top three for the coveted 2012 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Player-of-the-Year award, Katongo said despite his hard work for the nation, it was something that could not be changed now.

He said it had always been his dream to be top and get recognised as among the top players in Zambia.

"I played all our games in the qualifiers (AFCON) and the (2012) AFCON finals where I was MVP (the Most Valuable Player). The past two years have been good for me to contest for the CAF award," the China-based striker said.

Katongo pledged to continue working hard and prove himself again that he was a performer.

About Zambia's chances at the 2013 AFCON finals, Katongo said the Chipolopolo would head to South Africa to enjoy themselves and that it would not be a surprise if the trophy returns to Lusaka.

He said the Chipolopolo would not be under pressure in South Africa to defend the AFCON title.

"We were under pressure before we won the AFCON this year. Now we will go there (South Africa) and enjoy ourselves with no pressure. It will not be a surprise for us to win the AFCON," said Katongo, who is among the five shortlisted players for the 2012 British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) African Footballer-of-the-Year award.

Voting for the BBC African Footballer-of-the-Year award closed on Thursday and the winner will be announced on Monday evening.

Apart from Katongo, others who made the shortlist are the Ivorian duo of Drogba and Yaya Toure, Senegal's Demba Ba and Younes Belhanda of Morocco.

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