Patson: This is for you, Changwe Kalale

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Chipolopolo striker Patson Daka has dedicated his 2017 CAF Youth Player of the Year award to his former Zambia Under-17 teammate Changwe Kalale who died last month, three years after a road traffic accident left him paralysed below the waist.

And Daka has challenged young African players to “work extra hard” and change the face of African football.

Speaking after receiving the award at the Aiteo CAF Awards Gala 2017, held at the International Conference Centre in Accra, Ghana on Thursday night, Daka said he was dedicating the award to Kalale, Zambians and his club Red Bull Salzburg.

“I dedicate this award to my late brother and friend Changwe Kalale and the people of Zambia and my club Red Bull Salzburg and everyone who supported me to achieve this award. I want to thank you for the support,” Daka said.

“And to my fellow young players, I would like to encourage you that this is the beginning of better things to come, let us keep on working extra hard and change the face of African football for we are the future of African football.”

The late Changwe Kalale

The 19-year-old hitman saw off competition from Senegal’s Kreppin Diatta and Mali’s Salam Gaiddou to become the second Zambian to scoop the award after Clifford Mulenga who bagged it in 2007.

Daka always looked like a shoo-in for the award after a sensational 2017 for both club and country in which he inspired the Zambia Under-20 and the Red Bull Salzburg youth team to the Africa Cup and UEFA Youth League titles respectively.

He was also instrumental in the Zambia Under-20 side’s historic run to the quarterfinals of the 2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup before scoring against African giants Algeria and Cameroon in the senior Chipolopolo’s ill-fated Russia 2018 qualifying campaign.

The latest award comes barely a week after he was voted 2017 Zambia Sportsman of the Year.

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