France-based Katongo scored on 32 minutes to take the Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets) three points clear of second-placed Swaziland in Group 11 and leave Germany 2006 qualifiers Togo in danger of elimination. Swaziland can regain top spot by winning the final fixture in Togo next month, but Zambia would almost certainly progress anyway as one of the best eight runners-up from the 12 second round mini-leagues.
Togolese hopes of making the 2010 tournament in South Africa rest on overcoming Swaziland at a neutral venue to be decided and snatching one of the runners-up berths. They are barred from playing at home after post-match violence during an African Nations Cup qualifier last year injured Mali star Frederic Kanoute and a team-mate.
The group winners and best runners-up will be divided into five groups of four with the winners joining the South Africa at the first FIFA World Cup™ to be staged in Africa.
Togo suffered two blows ahead of the match at Konkola Stadium with the resignation of French coach Henri Stambouli followed by the refusal of Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor to leave Lome. Adebayor was sorely missed with Togo not having a single shot on target and their problems worsened ten minutes into the second half when goalkeeper Cedric Mensah had to be replaced after a Rainford Kalaba shot struck him in the face.