CHIPOLOPOLO skipper Christopher Katongo hopes to win the 2012 BBC African Footballer of the Year award after falling off the CAF Footballer of the year award shortlist.

Katongo said he is grateful to be recognised among the best players on the continent.

Katongo was among the initial top ten nominees for the 2012 Confederation of African Football Player of the Year awards, but failed to make it to the top five shortlist.

"I thank the people that have recognised my work. I am still a player, I have to keep on going despite being left out," Katongo said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday.

Ghanaian Dede Ayew, Senegal's Demba Ba, Didier Drogba, his Ivory Coast teammate and title holder Yaya Toure, and Cameroun's Alex Song complete the entirely West African players list contending for the continent's coveted individual title.

The 30-year-old forward is hopeful of bagging the "motivating" BBC Africa Player of the Year award.
"The BBC nomination is motivating; it is more likely to push me forward," said Katongo.

Katongo expressed optimistism that either Stoppila Sunzu or Rainford Kalaba would scoop the CAF African Player of the Year based in Africa award.
"They Sunzu and Kalaba are my family, I wish them good luck," Katongo said. "I will be happy if the guys can achieve something.''

The Chipolopolo duo battles it out against Egyptian Mohamed Aboutreika for the award reserved for African players campaigning on the continent.

And Katongo said it was disheartening for his Chinese club to be relegated to lower tier when he was being considered among Africa's best players.
Katongo's team Henan Jianye finished bottom of the Chinese league.

"It's a bad feeling for a top player in Africa to go into relegation," said Katongo. "I try my best for the team to be among the best in China but I can't do it alone. We blame ourselves, we don't point fingers at each other."
He, however, said he had no immediate intentions of leaving the club.

"I have one year contract with my club; if it means going back there, I have to go back," said Katongo. "I have to respect the contract. Right now, I am thinking about the Africa Cup then later we will see where I will go or where I will stay."