CHIPOLOPOLO skipper Rainford Kalaba says he will bounce back despite losing the CAF African-based Player of the Year award to Ugandan goalkeeper Dennis Onyango.
Kalaba, who led DR Congolese side TP Mazembe to a CAF Confederation Cup trophy and was the competition’s top scorer with eight goals, however, said he was hurt by the outcome of the competition.
He emerged third in a vote, trailing Onyango’s Mamelodi Sundowns’ teammate Kharma Billiat at an awards gala night in Abuja, Nigeria on Thursday.
Onyango, who garnered 252 votes, had a strong case after conceding only two goals in six Africa Cup qualifying matches, consequently leading Uganda to its first AfCON finals since 1978.
The Sundowns shot stopper also helped the South African glamour side to win the 2016 CAF Champions League trophy.
Billiat, who polled 228 votes, was Sundowns star player in the Champions League and also helped Zimbabwe qualify to the Africa Cup. Kalaba got 208 votes.
In a brief interview after the awards ceremony, a disappointed Kalaba said he had expected to win especially after emerging top scorer in the continental tournament.
“I am hurt but I will bounce back. The top scorer in the Champions League is always the winner, that’s what I know,” said Kalaba.
Sundowns’ Pitso Mosimane won the Coach-of-The Year award, beating two other contenders.