Leo Messi fans may have rejoiced too soon at his shattering of Gerd Muller’s world goal scoring record.The mercurial Argentinian scored twice at Real Betis on December 9th and in doing so overtook German Gerd Muller’s official 40-year-old record of 85 for a calendar year.
He then scored both in a 2-0 win at Cordoba and two more in a 4-1 home win over Atletico Madrid.
He added one more at Valladolid last Saturday to complete the Barcelona 2012 and take his total to 91.
However the Zambian Football Association have poured water on his fire and say they hold evidence of the real record holder in their archives.
They have vowed to provide evidence to FIFA that Kabwe Warriors striker Godfrey ‘Ucar’ Chitalu scored 107 goals in 1972.
According to the Daily Express, a Zambian spokesman said:
“We have this record. We have commissioned an independent team locally to go back into the archives and record minute by minute each of those goals. We will then send that to CAF [Confederation of African Football] and FIFA so that we can show that, while Messi’s record is there, while Muller’s record is there, the actual record holder in terms of goals per calendar year is an African. It’s actually Godfrey Chitalu.”
Chitalu was born in 1947 in Luanshya, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and died at just 45, one of 30 victims in the Zambian Aircraft Crash Tragedy of 1993.
The Zambian side was flying to Senegal for a World Cup Qualifier for the USA World Cup of 1994 when it crashed over Gabon. Five crew and 25 players and staff perished. Chitalu was the head coach.
He was voted Zambian footballer of the year five times.
According to Zambian football website ZamFoot, Zambian football historian Jerry Muchimba presented the Football Association of Zambia with evidence that Chitalu had in fact scored 107 goals in 1972.
ZamFoot goes on to state authoritatively:
The breakdown puts to rest any doubts that Chitalu is the rightful record holder of the most goals by any player in one calendar year.
With the findings, the much talked about Lionnel Messi record of the most goals is therefore only in respect of the European football record.
They further quote Muchimba as saying:
“This work has been undertaken over a long time. We have looked at the 1972 league games, local cup games, African inter club championships and Zambia national team games. We are not just looking at mere speculation. These matches were played and recorded and Ucar scored.
It’s interesting that this comes at a time when there is a record being talked about and we thought we should present to FAZ our facts. The world record for most goals by any player in any calendar year belongs to Ucar, not Messi.”
FIFA at present do not recognise Chitalu’s feat but FAZ spokesman Eric Mwanza told the BBC:
“We are sending communication to the Secretary General of Fifa, Mr Jerome Valcke, to look again into the matter of Godfrey Chitalu.”
FIFA has so far refused to take a side, a strange stance for an organisation normally so keen on records.