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from ARNOLD MULENGA in Lusaka, Zambia
LUSAKA, (CAJ News) – BY declaring his interest in running for the presidency of the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ), Christopher Katongo joins a growing list of former African players keen on running their football federations.
Katongo, the retired striker who spent a major part of his 16-year career in the South African topflight, has ended weeks of speculation by confirming his availability to contest the top job.
FAZ’s next elections are scheduled for 2025, after incumbent, Andrew Kamanga, secured a second term during polls last year.
Kamanga defeated former defender, Emmanuel Munaile, for the post.
It looks likely Katongo (39) will contest the next election after his confirmation this past weekend.
“My plan is to one day stand and contest as Football Association of Zambia President,” he stated.
“It’s been my dream and I will achieve together with the people of Zambia who want to see the betterment of the football industry in Zambia.”
Katongo first hinted at campaigning for the FAZ presidency in his recently-launched book, “The Story Behind the 2012 Victory.”
Launched in March at the National Heroes Stadium in the capital, Lusaka, it mainly covers Zambia’s historically winning the Africa Cup of Nations.
The 8-7 penalty shootout win in Gabon was the most emotional in the tournament history, as Chipolopolo won the tournament at a venue close to the scene of a plane crash that killed the entire Zambian team in 1993.
Katongo captained the team that ended years of agony that saw the Zambians finish runners-up twice and attaining three third-place finishes.
The ex-skipper has been a busy man since hanging up his boots at Green Buffaloes in 2017, following previous spells at Bidvest Wits, Golden Arrows and Jomo Cosmos in South Africa, and earlier stints in China, Denmark, Germany and Greece.
He maintained despite the interest in the FAZ presidency, his focus currently was establishing his academy.
Registration of players in Lusaka is to begin soon at a date yet to be confirmed, before expansion to other province.
“So, for now, let’s focus on building young players who will represent the nation at both local and international level with good football skills, discipline and hard work,” Katongo said.
Should he win, he would be the second legend after compatriot, Kalusha Bwalya, to lead FAZ. Bwalya led the association from 2008 to 2016.
Some legends of the game have in recent times intensified campaigns to lead their national associations.
In December, former striker, Samuel Eto’o (41), won the presidency of the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT). His appointment of his former national team captain, Rigobert Song, as coach of the Indomitable Lions, paid dividends after he guided the side to the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar.
Fellow former African Footballer of the Year, Didier Drogba (44), is in the running for the presidency of the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) at elections set for Saturday.
He is among six presidential candidates cleared to vie for the top seat currently occupied by Mariam Dao Gabala.
In Zimbabwe, former national team striker, Alois Bunjira, is eyeing the presidency of the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA).
Bunjira starred for several clubs in a ten-year stint in South Africa until 2009. Former colleague failed in a similar attempt for the ZIFA presidency.
– CAJ News