Zambia: Katongo Lands Free Medical Services

CHIPOLOPOLO captain Christopher Katongo has landed himself free medical services for life at Victoria Hospital for winning the 2012 British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Player-of-the-Year award.

Hospital director Janesh Naik, son of former sports administrator and FAZ business manager Harish, said the gesture to give Katongo free medical services was a way of showing appreciation to the player's exemplary leadership skills on the pitch.

Naik also said the hospital also decided to offer free medical services to all Chipolopolo players to ensure that the squad had a clean bill of health before the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals kicks off next month.

"We understand that medical services can be quite expensive in Zambia and this is why we have decided to offer the national soccer team players this free medical check up as a way of lessening the burden on FAZ. We have also decided to give Chris free medical checkups for life as a way of appreciating his good works," he said.

Naik, who together with his father are Green Buffaloes supporters, urged other corporate entities to follow suit and see how best they could help the national soccer team in its quest to retain the AFCON title.

Meanwhile, former Republican President Rupiah Banda has congratulated Katongo saying his feat is a befitting follow-up on what was achieved by Kalusha Bwalya when he exhibited rare courage and commitment in the rebuilding of the national soccer team following the tragic 1993 Gabon air crash, leading to his being crowned the 1994 BBC Sports-Personality-of-the-Year.

"Through you, Honourable Minister, I wish to convey my hearty congratulations to the captain of our national football team, Christopher Katongo, for scooping the 2012 BBC Footballer-of-the-Year award.

I am thrilled that just months after leading the Chipolopolo to our first-ever African Cup of Nations victory, Katongo has again won more accolades by becoming the first player from southern Africa to be voted BBC African-Footballer-of-the-Year," he said in the letter also copied to Katongo and FAZ president Kalusha Bwalya.

The former head of State says he was happy to note that Katongo had displayed similar qualities like Kalusha in guiding his teammates to success, and it is his desire to see upcoming players emulating such a high level of patriotism and hunger for success.

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