“You’re Having A Laugh, Lionel!” – Zambian FA Claim Local Player Holds Goal Record, Not Magical Messi

Alan Duffy

12th, December 2012


By Alan Duffy

See? It’s written on the ball, so it must be true!

Working in football statistics as I do, in addition to with my humble contributions to dear Pies, one of the most difficult things to accurately quantify is international goalscoring records. With so many official/unofficial/semi-official games taking place around the world, it’s damn difficult to find definitive figures, particularly when dealing with records from outside Europe, where record-keeping can be a less than exact science.

It is within this vague arena, that the Zambian FA have challenged Lionel Messi’s much-publicised record of scoring the most goals in a calendar year. The Argentinian superstar was reported to have beaten Gerd Muller’s long-standing record by bagging his 86th goal for club or country in a calendar year recently. However, according to the Zambian FA, it is not Messi but one Godfrey ‘Ucar’ Chitalu who holds the record with the Zambian striker hitting a whopping 107 goals back in 1972.

A spokesperson from the Zambian FA 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 whichever game or tournament they were scored in. “

“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 actually an African. It’s actually Godfrey Chitalu.”

Chitalu, who passed away in 1993, was a five-time Zambian footballer of the year and is reported to have warmed up for his record-breaking feat by bagging 81 goals for Kitwe United in 1968 before ultimately smashing that tally four years later. Alas, Chitalu’s record was never acknowledged by FIFA, which may be down to a genuine scepticism over the stats or maybe even an inherent racism. Who knows!

Anyway, in many ways, I hope Chitalu is eventually awarded the record. After all, surely Messi has received his fair share of adulation and awards already?

Photo courtesy of ukzambians.co.uk

Posted in International football

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  1. Anonymous says:

    There is also a claim that Zico had the record with 89 goals in a year.
    The interesting part is that this is all coming out, when someone is breaking Muller’s (the official???) record.
    Also, Florentino Perez wants to sign (even though he is dead) Chitalu for Madrid.

  2. Steve says:

    @Alan Duffy

    “Anyway, in many ways, I hope Chitalu is eventually awarded the record. After all, surely Messi has received his fair share of adulation and awards already?”

    Are you serious? Alan, you have received your paycheck at the end of each of the last 11 months. Surely you don’t need the 12th one, do you? Idiotic.

    “Chitalu’s record was never acknowledged by FIFA, which may be down to a genuine scepticism [sic] over the stats…” If true, does this not end the argument then?

    “or maybe even an inherent racism.” Oh, nope, there’s the race card. Argue away then. But, ‘inherent’ racism from who? Zambians to Zambians? FIFA to Zambians? In 1972? When Pele, an Afro-Brazilian and that era’s best player, was retiring (briefly)? Would these inherent racists not work to make his achievements invisible too?

    Humble contributions indeed. And use a spell-checker.

  3. Alan Duffy says:

    @Steve – Jaysus! Glad you got that off your chest! But why the “sic” after “scepticism”?

  4. sloth says:

    LOLOLOL Steve’s pompous spelling-fascism just outed himself as a Yank!

    I don’t often agree with Mr. Duffy, but I do here, and that was a hilariously butthurt response from Mr. Steve.

    I think if the Zambian league was FIFA affiliated in 1974 (the Zambian FA joined FIFA in 1964, so probably), and the goals are on record (questionable), Chitalu should be given the record. It makes a nice story and a good piece of trivia.

    As for inherent racism, that seems a little harsh, but there is definitely discrimination against the football played in poorer countries where the quality is lower, and record keeping standards are more slack.

    However, records are records. Australia’s 31-0 win over American Samoa is not particularly impressive, but it’s the record nonetheless. Likewise, Chitalu’s goalscoring record isn’t all that impressive because he played in Zambia, but it’s still (maybe) the record.

    Can’t we just say Messi scored the most goals of any player based in a European top flight? Is that not good enough?

  5. Steve says:

    @ Alan Duffy

    My mistake on the ‘scepticism’, apologize for that. Glad to see you fixed the others though….

    @ Sloth

    You succinctly did for me what I was going to anyway by contradicting yourself and proving your own point useless.
    “there is definitely discrimination against the football played in poorer countries where the quality is lower…”
    Ok, be that as it may, surely FIFA would not let this stand in the way of a great record. Would they?
    But these league’s football “record keeping standards are more slack.” Oops.

    “It makes a nice story and a good piece of trivia.” I can go over how idiotic this is again if you’d like.

  6. MJ says:

    @Steve: you don’t get it, do you? what sloth and alan duffy say is (as far as i’m concerned) that he should be given the record if it is proven that he scored the most goals in a calendar year. because, this record is given to…right, the person who scored the most goals in a calendar year.

  7. Steve says:


    How do you come to this conclusion? Where do either say this? Copy and paste their quote of them saying it.

    I’ll save you the bother. Alan Duffy said he should get it because “surely Messi has received his fair share of adulation and awards already” and Sloth said he should get it because “It makes a nice story and a good piece of trivia.”

    Also, MJ, beware the inherent racists lurking about.

  8. adwew says:

    cmon let’s be serious chitalu or whatever he’s called can score 125712059712059710 goals in a year in ZIMBABWE but let’s see that guy in europe, i mean when messi is breaking muller’s record guys that scored more are popin out like mushrooms, it would be soooo much cooler for real madrid fanse and AS(sports magazine) readers to admit that he’s the BEST player ever than to resort to this BS

  9. Wayne Lloyd says:

    I grew up knowing this mans feat all my life. He is THE legend.
    His nickname is UCAR was from a famous battery in Africa that kept going and going. Rest in peace great man. Now the whole world knows your contribution to sport.

  10. porcelain sandwich says:

    Christ almighty, Steve, did you have nothing to do tonight? Did you really feel that a trivial story on how a Zambian player might be the record holder on a relatively unknown website would benefit from your relentless criticism? As it goes, I consider this to be an interesting story, let’s just leave it at that.

    and adwew, while I’m arguing – don’t be such an insensitive cretin.

  11. Berts says:

    @ Steve

    Do you have even a basic grasp of sarcastic humor mate?

    “surely Messi has received his fair share of adulation and awards already” – SAR – CASM

  12. Karl says:

    It ASTONISHES me how many moppets actually think Messi is a GRAND footballer? He’s played for Barca…spanish league…HES RUBBISH. Won what? everything in Spain has he? lets see him move then. AND ONLY THEN can you talk…ahhaha would love to see this midget man up against the likes of Stoke..or within the Bundesliga even..without any of his buddies over at the pisshole that is Catalan.

  13. Rambunctious Defend says:

    @ Steve

    The writers might just be having a laugh, take a chill pill.

  14. David Taylor says:

    If he scored the most goals in a year he should be given the record – Fact.

    Fifa is a corrupt organisation which has been proven! Giving a world cup to Qatar shows that it for what it is… They care more about sponsors than real life issues, you only have to look at the fines issued for racism against Bendtner’s boxer short stunt for proof of this.

    [N.B. I apologise if I have made any spelling/grammar errors, I can’t be fucked checking it but internet spelling nazis should find a new hobby]

  15. Tiss says:

    @ Karl

    Won what?

    The champions league. Easily. Sick guy

  16. TravisKOP says:

    Funny how this is barely coming up when messi breaks mullers record. where was all the bloody uproar when muller was given the record to begin with? its all PR rubbish i say, give it to messi

  17. Wesley says:

    So you scored 107 goals in Zambia?

    Please tell me how that is in any way comparable to Spain and International football.

  18. Jim Dundar says:

    Actually I hold the record. I netted 117 times in my Sunday league back in 2007. I reckon my Sunday league in on a par with Zambia’s league in 1972. When will FIFA recognise me!

  19. David Taylor says:


    It does not matter if it is comparable? It is a record for who has scored the most goals. Das ist alles.

    You could even make some arguments between comparisons between Messi and Mullers goal scoring record (Muller never took penalties, Messi has played more games) but it is all irrelevant… The record is the record.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Why all of a sudden? Come on, look at local African soccer. I’m Malawian,African too, but I feel the Zambian record isn’t worth recognizing. If u were to bring a player like Messi, Ronaldo, RVP to Africa…how many goals do u think they would score annually? 200?250? that’s how good they are. Let Messi shine. He’s the best ever

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