PRESIDENT Michael Sata has described 2012 as a great sporting year for Zambia.
In his address to the nation on New Year's eve yesterday, President Sata said the Chipolopolo did the nation proud by winning the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) for the first time in Zambia's history.
The President said Chipolopolo were also voted second best in the world after World and European champions, Spain and as Africa's Best Team of the Year.
"On the sports scene, 2012 has been a great year for us as a nation. I would like to recognise the Chipolopolo Boys not only for winning the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in this nation's history but also for being voted as both the best second team in the world after Spain and as Africa Team of the Year," President Sata said.
Zambia stunned the continental football powerhouses by winning the 2012 AFCON title after beating bookmakers' favourite, Ivory Coast in the final on February 12 in Libreville, Gabon.
The World Soccer Magazine readers voted Zambia as the second best globally while the Confederation of African Football (CAF) awarded the Chipolopolo as National Team of the Year.
Coach Herve Renard also won the CAF Coach of the Year while midfielder Rainford Kalaba and defender Stoppila Sunzu were voted second and third best for the Africa-based Footballer of the Year award which was scooped by Egyptian, Mohamed Aboutreika.
Chipolopolo skipper, Christopher Katongo, who was also 2012 AFCON Most Valuable Player, was voted the British Broadcasting Corporation African Player of the Year.
And President Sata also expressed satisfaction for the nation's successful staging of the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa (SCSA) Zone Six Under-20 Games where Zambia reaped 41 medals.
Zambia finished third overall behind South Africa and Namibia.
"I also want to express my satisfaction for our country's successful hosting of the Zone Six Games where Zambia reaped 41 medals and was third in overall standings," he said.
It was the first time that Zambia was hosting a major international sports spectacle in history.