His goals and leadership has taken Zambia to their third Africa Cup of Nations final and Christopher Katongo says he and his teammates are ready for one more battle. On Sunday 12th February Katongo will lead his side onto the field to contest the final against Ivory Coast and he told Cafonline.com that hardwork and teamwork has been the cornerstone of their success so far.
Cafonline.com: How are the preparations for the final going?
Katongo: Training is going on well and as you can see the boys enjoy preparing for matches and we are all excited but focused ahead of the final. We just will just wait and see on Sunday but we all know this is the biggest game of our lives.
Cafonline.com: Having beaten Ghana how do you guard against complacency for the next game?
Katongo: I think there will not be any complacency from this side. We won’t relax because we have beaten so-called big teams along the way but instead we will continue to work hard. Our match against Sudan, a team without big names was the toughest we have played here at the finals. The guys want to make a name for themselves and if we can beat the so called giants and playing well, it’s a huge international stage so there won’t be any room for complacency
Cafonline.com: Is reaching the final already a victory for Zambia?
Katongo: Certainly not, we know it has been a great run to get this far but we are not here to cheer Ivory Coast to the trophy. We firmly believe in our ability and the quality we have. After all nobody can tell which way it will go on Sunday, There were many predictions before the tournament with Ghana and Ivory Coast called co-favourites. In our group some said it would be Senegal and Libya going through, so a lot has been said but we are in the final to win it.
Cafonline.com: Ivory Coast with big name players will start as favourites to win, is it fair to say so?
Katongo: That might be so when you look at it but the 90 minutes will tell. We respect Ivory Coast and yes they have quality players but it be 11 men against 11. You must know however that football is not played in the media or verbal, yes their big names but at the end of the day they have to prove it on the pitch by beating us and to prove that they are a big name team they will have to defeat us on the field and that will not be easy for them
Cafonline.com: You have been in fine form and scoring when some thought your best days were behind you, what have you done differently?
Katongo: No I still have energy to play and l only turn 30 this year and l know there have been these stories about my demise but that not true. I scored 3 goals in 5 qualifiers and for me that a good strike rate but there will always be doubters out there. I don’t see myself retiring soon and I still have more to give to the national team. People who know me should not be surprised. I am a consistent player and so expect more from me.
**Published in "CAF ONLINE"