Should Messi’s Record Be Held By An African?
11 December 2012
The world recently saluted Argentinian footballing genius, Lionel Messi, when he surpassed Gerd Muller’s record of 85 goals in one calendar year, but he still has a way to go if he is to beat Zambia’s Godfrey Chitalu, who scored 107, ironically in the same year of Muller’s tally.
The Siya crew were informed of Chitalu’s exploits and decided to look into the career of the former Kabwe Warriors hitman.
Chitalu, a five-time Zambian footballer of the year, began his fine form in 1968 when he reportedly scored 81 goals for Kitwe United, four years later he dwarfed Muller’s 85 goal tally by hitting the back of the net 107 times in all competitions, though his record was never recognised by football’s governing body, FIFA.
The crew spoke to the Football Association of Zambia who explained that they are currently trawling through their archives in order to get the late striker the credit that they feel he deserves.
They said, “We have this record, which has been recorded in Zambian football, but unfortunately it has not been recorded in world football. Even as the world has been looking at Lionel Messi’s record, breaking Gerd Muller’s, the debate and discussion back here has been why Godfrey’s goals are not being recognised. What we are doing is, we have commissioned an independent team locally to go back into the archives and record minute by minute each of those goals. The team that we have put together is going to calculate all of those goals, recording which ever game or tournament they were scored in, we will then send that to CAF 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 actually an African, it’s actually Godfrey Chitalu.”
The crew also contacted FIFA and asked them about ‘Ucar’, his record, and why he hadn’t been credited. They explained that they were looking into the matter, saying, “We’ve heard about it, and a colleague of mine is working on it, we’re currently checking on it internally.”
Chitalu, who was given an ‘Achievement Recognition Award’ by FIFA following his retirement in 1982, went on to become the head coach of his country, but tragically died in the 1993 plane crash that wiped out Chipolopolo’s golden generation of stars.