Zambia international Christopher Katongo was on Monday announced the 2012 BBC African Footballer of the Year, succeeding Ghana’s Andre Ayew who won the award last year.
The 30-year-old striker of Chinese side Henan Construction bested contenders Demba Ba, Didier Drogba, Younes Belhanda and Yaya Toure to become the first winner from southern Africa.
Katongo, who led the Chipolopolo to clinch their first Africa Cup of Nations title early this year, received over 40% of the votes from fans who participated online or by text message.
“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,” he told BBC Sport.
“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.
“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,” he added.