Zambia challenge Messi's goal record; claim Chitalu scored 107 in 1972

Published: Dec 13, 2012, 18:40 IST | AFP |

Zambia's Football Association is planning an official challenge to Lionel Messi's record for the most goals scored in a calendar year -- claiming striker Godfrey Chitalu scored 107 goals in 1972.

Zambia's Godfrey Chitalu, not Argentina's Lionel Messi nor Brazil's Zico, scored most goals in a calendar year, local football bosses claimed here Thursday.

Barcelona's Messi was credited with the new record after going better than German legend Gerd Mueller's best of 85 goals in 1972 with a first-half brace that sealed his side's 2-1 win over Real Betis on Sunday.

But Zambian researchers disagree.

"Godfrey Chitalu scored 49 goals in the league matches and 58 in cup and international matches between January 23 and December 10, 1972.

"The number of goals scored during this season goes to 107," local commentator Musonda Chibulu told AFP.

Brazilian club Flamengo who claimed their former player Zico scored 89 goals in the 1979 season. Pic/AFP

Chibulu and fellow researcher Jerry Muchimba compiled their proof from daily newspapers Times of Zambia and the Zambia Daily Mail, as well as the national archives.

The southern African nation's football federation intend to try and get Chitalu's tally ratified by football's governing body.

"We are planning to take the evidence to FIFA," association spokesman Eric Mwanza said.

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.

Lionel Messi scored two more goals on Wednesday, this time in the Spanish Copa del Rey knockout competition against second division side Cordoba, to take his tally to 88. File Pic/AFP

Messi's record had already been contested on Wednesday by Brazilian club Flamengo who claimed their former player Zico scored 89 goals in the 1979 season.

Messi added to his 2012 haul on Wednesday night with a brace in Barca's Spanish Cup win over Cordoba putting the Argentine maestro on the 88 mark. 

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