CAF nominates 4 Zambian players for African Player-of-the-year-award


Katongo, Kalaba, Sunzu, Mayuka

FOUR Zambian players, among them Africa Cup winning captain, Christopher Katongo have been shortlisted for the 2012 African Player-of-the-Year Award.

Katongo, Emmanuel Mayuka, Rainford Kalaba and Stoppila Sunzu have made the 34-man shortlist for the continent’s finest player alongside Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba and 2011 winner, Yaya Toure.

It will be the first time since Zambian legend, Kalusha Bwalya, current Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president, won the 1988 African Footballer-of-the-Year award that the nation has players shortlisted for the prestigious accolade.

However, Kalusha, the only player to date from southern Africa to have ever won the prize, was later nominated for the continental award during his illustrious career.

Clifford Mulenga is the only other Zambian player to pick up a continental award when he was voted 2007 African Young Player-of-the-Year.

According to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, Kalaba and Sunzu have also been named on the African Player-of-the-Year based in Africa nominees list with compatriot, Given Singuluma.

The selection of the players was based on performances for club and country.

CAF will announce the top 10 nominees for the African Player-of-the-Year and the top five African Footballer-of-the-Year (based in Africa) finalists later this month after voting by relevant continental standing committees – media, technical and football.

The names of the respective finalists for both awards will be sent to national associations’ head coaches and general secretaries to select the top three.

The 2012 CAF-Glo Awards Gala will be held in Accra, Ghana on December 20.

Katongo of Chinese side, Henan Construction, led the Chipolopolo to the historic AFCON title at the 2012 Gabon-Equatorial Guinea finals.

The Chipolopolo skipper, who was voted 2012 AFCON Player-of-the-Tournament, has continued scoring crucial goals for Zambia in both the 2013 AFCON and 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

Mayuka won the Golden boot as top scorer at the 2012 AFCON finals with goals that propelled Zambia into the final match against Ivory Coast.

It was Mayuka’s sweetly-struck shot that knocked-out pre-tournament favourites, Ghana in the semi-finals.

The England-based Southampton striker had an equally stellar 2011-12 season at his former Swiss club, Young Boys where he scored crucial goals in their Europa League campaign.

Kalaba, the architect of Zambia’s build-ups at the 2012 AFCON, was part of the winning Chipolopolo side.

Apart from orchestrating play and assisting creating goals, Kalaba of DR Congo, TP Mazembe, delivered a vital winning goal for the Chipolopolo against Senegal at the 2012 AFCON.

The nimble-footed Kalaba also replicates his influential role for the Chipolopolo with Mazembe where the Congolese side has reached the 2012 CAF Champions League semi-final.

As for Sunzu, the versatile defender converted the Chipolopolo’s winning penalty against a star-studded Ivory Coast, giving Zambia the first- ever continental crown and shut out Drogba and company.

Sunzu is a regular at Mazembe where he has helped the Lubumbashi-based team qualify to the semi-finals of Champions League.

Apart from Drogba and Toure, the four Zambians will also compete against the likes of Nigeria’s John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses, Demba Ba and Papiss Demba Cisse of Senegal, Cameroon’s Alexander Song, Kwadwo Asamoah of Ghana and Malian, Seydou Keita.

For the African Footballer-of the-Year (based in Africa) award, Kalaba, Sunzu and Singuluma, who is one of the best performers for Mazembe, will face clubmates in Congolese Tresor Mputu, Samatta Mbwana of Tanzania, Egypt’s Mohamed Abou Treika and Edward Sadomba of Zimbabwe among the 32 nominees.

Chipolopolo AFCON-winning coach, Herve Renard is also expected to be among the finalists for the Coach-of-the-year award with the Chipolopolo also in the running for the National Team-of-the-Year accolade.

Other awards on offer will be Most Promising Talent of the Year, Club of the Year, Women’s Footballer of the Year, Women’s National Team of the Year, Referee of the Year, Legend Award, Fair Play Award, Platinum Award and Africa Finest XI.

The Glo-CAF Awards Gala will be held in the Banquet Hall at State House in Accra.

Source: Times of Zambia