By Ian Malcolm
The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) say they will trawl through the record books to prove that Godfrey Chitalu is in fact the record holder for the most goals scored in a calendar year.
Lionel Messi is the official holder of that title after he netted his 86th goal in 2012 in the 2-1 win for Barcelona over Betis in La Liga last weekend. That beat the mark of the German Gerd Muller set in 1972.
But FAZ claim that Chitalu netted an astonishing 107 goals for Kabwe Warriors, also in the 1972 season, though they had never shown any real interest in publicising the fact before the media adulation received by Messi.
FAZ say they will now set up a committee to ‘prove’ to Fifa that Chitalu hit the mark in official matches, though this is likely to prove difficult.
Record keeping in domestic football in Zambia 40 years ago was haphazard, it remains so today in fact, so pulling together the evidence could prove impossible.
But FAZ president Kalusha Bwalya, who says Chitalu was his hero and who played under him in the Zambian national side, has no doubts.
“It is fact that he scored 107 goals in a single year, it is a well-known fact in Zambia. I remember too that he was honoured in France for the feat, there was a ceremony in his honour," Bwalya told Goal.com.
“We will do our best to get his 107 goals into the official record books. He was a great player and should be recognised for his achievements.”Chitalu competed in four competitions in 1972 – the Zambian Premier League, the Zambian Cup, the Zambian Challenge Cup and the African Cup of Champions Clubs. And was also Zambia's Player of the Year five times.