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Katongo takes over from Ayew as 2012 BBC African Footballer of the Year

Published on: 17 December 2012

Christopher Katongo has won the 2012 BBC African Footballer of the Year award succeeding Ghana's Andre Ayew. 

The 30-year-old Zambia captain beat off competition from Demba Ba, Didier Drogba, Younes Belhanda and Yaya Toure to become the first winner from southern Africa in the history of the award.

Katongo told BBC Sport: "This is a fantastic moment for me. I thank the people who voted for me. It is something I will never forget in my career.

"This means a lot for the young people and the young players who look up to me. I could not have achieved this without the support of my team-mates."

The shortlist for the award was drawn up by football experts from every country in Africa, who based their choices on players' skill, technical ability, teamwork, consistency and fair play.

And a record number of people nominated their favourite online or by text message with just over 40% of the votes going to Katongo, who plays his club football in China for Henan Construction.

While all the players on the shortlist have enjoyed a superb year, with four of the players picking up silverware, it is Katongo whose performances and achievements have been considered by African football fans to be the greatest.

"I think the things that they (the fans) like about me is my discipline and that I am the kind of player who can fail one day but pull up his socks and keep going. I think that is why they voted for me," added Katongo.

"To be among the top players who have won this award, I will go to sleep with a smile on my face.

"I did my best and the people have spoken. That's the beauty of this award."

Katongo, who is also a soldier in his home country, was inspirational as he led Zambia to their first Africa Cup of Nations title in February.

He scored three goals en route to the final of the tournament in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon and then struck a successful penalty in an 8-7 shoot-out victory over favourites Ivory Coast to lift the trophy in Libreville.

It was an emotional moment for Zambia, who had suffered a tragic air disaster 19 years previously, when a plane carrying most of the national team crashed when only 500m offshore from Libreville, killing all 25 passengers and five crew.

Seven months after leading Zambia to glory Katongo was again his country's talisman, this time in a 2013 Nations Cup qualifying tie when he scored the only goal of the game in his side's final-round first leg match against Uganda.

And it proved to be a vital strike as Chipolopolo lost the return leg 1-0 but made it through to next year's tournament in South Africa by winning 9-8 penalty shoot-out.

In between those Nations Cup heroics, Katongo also provided the spark that lifted Zambia out of a difficult phase in their 2014 World Cup qualification campaign.

Zambia suffered a 2-0 defeat away to Sudan in Khartoum in June  - a result remains in doubt  while Sudan are being investigated for allegedly fielding an ineligible player - and they desperately needed a result against Ghana a week later.

Yet again it was Katongo who stepped up and scored the winner, putting his side's campaign back on track.

And if Katongo can continue the form that has helped his country to new heights, as well as earning him individual recognition, he may well propel Zambia to the biggest stage of all in Brazil in 18 months' time.


This article has 51 comment(s), give your comment
  • obbie says:
    December 18, 2012 09:42 am
    You are gentleman Ghanaman,to be frank even us Zambians like Ghana so much. Its just bad that we are in the same group for 2014 WC qualifiers, we needed to see both Zambia and Ghana in Brazil. So sad to think that Between Zambia and Ghana, one will not go to Brazil.
  • Joshua Jere says:
    December 18, 2012 09:07 am
    Am greatly thrilled to see this on this site. I remember really crying after some heavy insult exchanges between the Zambia and Ghana fans, from then i told myself never to comment on this site and prayed for atleast some moderation. thank you my Ghanaian friends for the restraint and for supporting Katongo for this award. it's such a beauty to see such comments. am so happy the site is clean.
  • Jimmy says:
    December 18, 2012 08:23 am
    Oh he got the replica of the disappointed AFCON awward! clap !!! useless player.
  • Zed says:
    December 18, 2012 07:48 am
    Thumbs up to african fans 4 voting this gallant chipolopolo player.go chipolopolo go & shame on corrupt issa hayatou the so called CAF president or i forget is a francophone president.
  • Zed says:
    December 18, 2012 06:55 am
    Time will tell bro...bit early to start counting yo chicks!!!
  • Blakroze GH says:
    December 18, 2012 12:21 am
    Haha, I never knew a day would come when we'd actually join forces and go back to our original rivals....the Nigerians!! Hehe I really hope they'd be glad to fight against us again....cos now we come bringing a well sharpened mouth and. Current african champions behind us....anyway Zambians, don't rest on your laurels cos we plan on attending that CONCACAF meeting in brazil next year...(Get my drift?)
  • GH FUO, THINK BIG!!! says:
    December 17, 2012 11:22 pm
  • CAF Critic says:
    December 17, 2012 11:17 pm
    We talking about the 'TEAM OF THE MOMENT' and all the goodies coming with it .....ZAMBIA!!!
  • bond says:
    December 17, 2012 11:03 pm
    KATONGO, sounds like a rebel name than a footballer,he somehow deserve it-out of sympahty after the snub from the CAF award- but the fact is Yaya is the best.Zambians should celebrate this one but should not flood this site dissing because Sammy Kuffour, Asamoah Gyan, Dede Ayew and his dad have all won this award before. The fact still remains Ghana and Ghanains are the pace setters and are still the best in Africa.NO 2 WAYS. sup selfmade.
  • The truth says:
    December 17, 2012 10:24 pm
    As much as I dislike the zambia, Katongo deserves this award. No one else but him deserves the award. Congrats
    December 18, 2012 08:11 pm
    @nana i'm not tryin 2 take away anything from anybody,i'm not that kind of person.Yes Abedi Pele ws a great player & so was Weah,Miller &kalusha Bwalya.Thanx 4 the enlightment on the BBC awards.
  • Seanpaul says:
    December 17, 2012 09:46 pm
    So you chaps can be friends, why were u insulting each other like that? Anyway u are crazy soccermaniacs. Gudnite
  • bullmaan says:
    December 17, 2012 09:15 pm
    You did well to become a Zambian proud of you former Ghana citizen.
  • bullmaan says:
    December 17, 2012 09:10 pm
    ghanian fans where the one who invaded the Zambian website with all kinds of insults and boasting about how they were going to beat Zambia in the semi finals.After beating you out of our site with facts we then chased you til you had no place to hide.Truth be told without the Zambians this site would have been closed like kickoff ghana.Zambians give life to this site.At the moment even the nigerians are all over zamfoot
  • Kwame Jack says:
    December 17, 2012 09:05 pm
    Chris Katongo is a good man and deserves this award. He carried the Zambian team from start to finish and is still doing it. I am happy for Zambians. Enjoy Chris - you deserve it. A ghanaian will win it again in 2013.
  • Master Dribbler says:
    December 17, 2012 08:43 pm
    I am pleased to see my country men and Ghanaians exchanging notes normally and not those insults we have come to be accustomed to over the past few months. I personally respect Ghana as a great footballing nation. I would like to invite Ghana fans to our number 1 football website in Zambia -
  • obbie says:
    December 18, 2012 05:34 pm
    @9geria, you are right. Let us just draw and advance. for sure Nigeria has been supporting our chipolopolo so much. Let us just differ in the final, not in the groups. I like Nigeria for sure but i do not like Martins as a player. He usually runs out of ideas in front of goal. Uche brothers and Musa Ahmed are the players.
  • kuukuphilly says:
    December 17, 2012 08:38 pm
    Ayekoooo to katongo.well deserves.
  • Mr Muz says:
    December 17, 2012 08:34 pm
    I wish to express my gratitude to all you Ghanians brothers and the entire Africa who overwhelmingly for Chris. I have frequented this site and it pains me to see so much insults being traded by both sides whenever there is an article on Zambia. But I know deep down that we are bothers. God bless Ghana and Zambia
  • Lusaka says:
    December 18, 2012 04:27 pm
    No match- fixing please guys!!
  • SADC says:
    December 18, 2012 04:30 pm
    Everyone is entitled to their opinion....but i believe George Weah was the GREATEST.
  • @9geria says:
    December 18, 2012 04:21 pm
    Zambians, please spare us Nigerians next year for the 2013 AFCON. Just a draw will make the two of us qualify to the quarterfinals. Lets just hammer these two teams in our group. We have supported Katongo throughout and finally he wins. We do not want to be shocked like you did to Senegal, Ghana and Ivory Coast. You are our friends, please, please!! Let's just meet in the Finals and then you can do what you want to us. We shall assist you in eliminating Ghana and Ivory Coast so that we meet in the finals. Let's work together as one.
  • sim2 says:
    December 17, 2012 08:14 pm
    @9geria you are wonderful. Tell them
  • Former Ghana citizen now proud zambian says:
    December 17, 2012 08:14 pm
    Issa hayatou mst resign wit immediate effect. Hw possible tht song nd Ba cn sneak into th final shotlist hvng nt won anythng?? Anyway congrate mr katongo i cnt wait to see u castrate kwarasey at Afcon 2013. Ths is a strng message to ghanian camp. Withdraw frm Afcon or 31yrs no trophy win. Jst fire tht kumasi unqualified baboon coach b4 he gets fired by zambia.. He hs failed ghana alrdy by dropping quality players. Othrwise u wl all end up suckng hs ass.
  • sim2 says:
    December 17, 2012 08:05 pm
    Nice and objective article.Its nice dat Ghana supoted us! In my vision I saw A Gyan vote for Kenedy Mwene as best keeper in Africa. Is this true my finished ghana friends?
  • Zambiaman says:
    December 17, 2012 08:02 pm
    There's nothing like flooding your or our website. You dont know that internet has no borders? Otherwise put aside your jealous atitude. Ghana is one of the best teams in Africa zambia is equally the best you must leave by that fact. Gooo CHIPOLOPOLO lets see what happens in SA come january
  • @9geria says:
    December 17, 2012 08:05 pm
    Hey, shut up Ghanaians, we the Nigerians told you that we shall vote for Katongo and he shall win. Hasn't the truth comes true? Now it will be Nsunzu and Renard on Thursday to carry the day and finally Zambia as the 2012 African team of the year to close the year 2012. Remember, one of the world magazine has voted Zambia has the second national team of the year after Spain in the world!!!
  • Chibesa says:
    December 17, 2012 08:00 pm
    Hostilities between rival fans will never end as long as the beautiful game remains as emotionally sapping as it is.So amazingly captivating is football that even an increase in the price of fuel few days before a crunch match will go unnoticed.I am not the mad type of a fan myself although i am a keen follower of the game.However i enjoy the spectacle of the always confident fans clad in all manner of costume dancing in anticipation of victory of their team as they troop to the stadium.Over the years I have learnt that you never argue with these die-hard fanatics even if you have a valid observation.
  • nana says:
    December 18, 2012 03:45 pm
    @AUTHENTIC CHIPOLOPOLO FAN mate before you attempt to correct somebody maybe you should be 100% correct. Abedi Pele(the greatest african player of all time) did win this award, es you are right in saying this award was introduced 11 yrs ago, however before that it was known under the title of african player of the year created by the frencg fotball magazine before in the early 90s bbc took over the award. So he did win it, so please do not try and downplay Ghana players achievements.
  • Kanda says:
    December 17, 2012 07:49 pm
    We're brothers and sisters, let football unit us even further and not divide us because the essence of it is uniting people. We love u Ghana!!!!
  • Zambian says:
    December 19, 2012 07:45 pm
    Just watching zambian musical awards, guess who the guest of owner is..... Some ghanian diva
  • NEZA says:
    December 17, 2012 07:30 pm
    thank u ghanaman
  • Ghanaman says:
    December 17, 2012 07:21 pm
    No no no! YOU started it by flooding this site and belittling our near 60 year history of success in Africa and on the world stage.. If you had shown some RESPECT I am sure many would not have had a problem with Zambians....
  • Papa says:
    December 17, 2012 07:22 pm
    I am sure you also know that Zambians respect Ghana and acknowledge that we have some way to go before we can match Ghana's exploits. We were just enjoying our moment even though we may have rubbed you the wrong way.
  • Ndola says:
    December 17, 2012 07:11 pm
    I feel you bro,but Ghanaian fans are the ones who started this beef thing prior to that W/Cup qualifier nd your players put the icing on the cake after losing, breaking Cameras for the sports journalists...otherwise its just a sport we all love.
  • Mike says:
    December 17, 2012 07:07 pm
    COngrats Katongo, You have proved that CAF is nothing but a bunch of headless chickens who still think football is only found in west africa. Thanks Africa (including Ghanians) for proving that Zambia is the deserving Champions of Africa 2012 and hopefully 2013, let the medals and awards continue flowing! It feels nice to be Zambian!
  • tank God we are not zambians says:
    December 17, 2012 06:24 pm
    i knew dis asshole,congrats niggro
  • NEZA says:
    December 17, 2012 06:25 pm
    u are a fool so u are telling us that your so called 20yrs player are being outplayed by an old man shame on them.
  • NEZA says:
    December 17, 2012 06:27 pm
    u are fun
  • Papa says:
    December 17, 2012 06:31 pm
    @Ghanaman, I never thought I would see the day when you would be gracious to a Zambian. So, you can be a gentleman Ghanaman.Lol!
  • Ghanaman says:
    December 17, 2012 06:39 pm
    My current girlfriend is a Zambian so I can't type too many negative things :) :) On another note, I will be honest and admit I was rooting for Zambia to BEAT the Ivory Coast as the Ivory Coast is one of our main rivals! I am sure most Ghanaians were doing the same :) What annoyed me most is how the Zambian fans flooded our site to insult us and even tried to belittle our accomplishments even-though very few if any African team will ever be able to match it!!! I had no real beef with Zambia and neither do Ghanaians in general!
  • Master Dribbler says:
    December 18, 2012 04:48 pm
    I agree with you @9eria. Help us eliminate all the arab teams and also the other threats like Ghana and Ivory Coast. In our group, lets make sure we beat both Burkina Faso and Ethiopia but then we should play for a nil - nil draw. Once done we shall both meet either an arab team of west african opposition. Then we can meet in the finals and sort each other out. Mind you we still have bitter memories about the AFCON '94 2-1 loss
  • Ghanaman says:
    December 17, 2012 06:11 pm
    38 year old captain Katongo a Forward in the Chinese 2nd division rigged the election. They award is voted for by fans who made numerous calls in. Either way, he deserves it and well done to him! hahahahahahahahahahhaha
    December 18, 2012 01:30 pm
    @bond u r a joke!!All pipo in Ghana but you know that This award ws introduced in 2000 & Katongo is the 11th player to win it.When did Dede Ayew's dad win it????Do a little research,learn 2 giv credit where it's due,get a life,get laid & then get 2 this site & type th truth about African soccer [email protected] GHANAMAN PEACE B WITH YOU THIS FESTIV SEASON!(THAT'S IF U R A XTIAN)
  • neatlicker says:
    December 18, 2012 02:40 pm
    nigeria be aware of wats going to happen.we will destoy u.
  • Bonaventure Mutale says:
    December 18, 2012 12:36 pm
    Am a Zambian and I love AFRICAN FOOTBALL! All of you should stop having a parochial view of the African game. Thats why you insult each other. People like me who loves the African game would never insult anybody because we analyse the game with an open mind. When I watch Ghana, or Nigeria, or Benin or even Lesotho play, I look for strengths and weaknesses commend where necessary. INSULTING EACH OTHER FOR WHAT? We are not enemies but adversaries. At the end of the game, we should shake hands and not call each other names! One Love!
  • Master Dribbler says:
    December 18, 2012 04:50 pm
    in my immediate previous post regarding @9geria, I meant to say we can both either meet an Arab team or a west african team
  • Master Dribbler says:
    December 18, 2012 04:52 pm
    To me the favourites for the forthcoming AFCON are Ghana, Zambia, Ivory Coast and Nigeria in that order
  • Secretrival says:
    December 18, 2012 12:56 pm
    Cote D' Ivoire fans are coweds, they don't say anything. What is the problem with the Elephants.....Honestly being a Zambian I love Ghana and Nigeria from West Africa, but for Gabon, Senegal I hate with passion,(These two killed our Zambian team in 1993, even if people hide the truth, they know). I will revenge single handedly for what they did. Today we would be boasting of one world cup trophy (1994) and six AFCON trophies (1994,1996,1998,2000,2010 and 2012) Coacroches....
  • KKAYS says:
    December 18, 2012 01:02 pm
    Zambians are lazy but very peaceful people, when Ghana wins at SA 2013 AFCON, Zambia will be the first to congratulate you. No jelousy at all. Even when you beat us 4-0 WILL will shake hands. For now Zambia reigns for sure!
  • selfmade says:
    March 10, 2013 12:21 am
    Sup bond......