Zambia say Chitalu scored more goals than Messi

World football’s governing body has said that they were unable to check whether claims that an African footballer and not Argentina star Lionel Messi was the record holder for the most goals scored in a calendar year.

“Thanks for the questions about Godfrey Chitalu. Our official stats are limited to FIFA competitions, so we cannot verify this ‘record’,” FIFA’s communications department said on its Twitter account @fifamedia.

“We keep records for all FIFA competitions,” it added.
Barcelona forward Messi was hailed by many after he scored twice on Sunday to beat the 40-year-old record of Germany’s Gerd Mueller and take his tally to 86 for 2012.

But claims emerged that he may still in fact be well short of Zambia legend Chitalu, who netted 107 times — 49 in league matches for Kabwe Warriors and 58 in cup and internationals — between January 23 and December 10, 1972. A black and white photograph of a smiling Chitalu, dressed in a suit and holding a ball inscribed with “1972 Godfrey Chitalu 107 goals” has been widely circulated on the Internet.

Chitalu died with the whole national football team when their airplane crashed off the coast of Gabon in 1993 on the way to a World Cup qualifier in Senegal. He was head coach at the time.

A similar challenge had already been contested on Wednesday by Brazilian club Flamengo, who insisted that their former player, Zico, scored 89 times in the 1979 season.

Comments (+)