Fifa can't verify Messi record

2012-12-14 17:41

Switzerland - World football's governing body on Friday 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 as the greatest player ever in the game 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 on Thursday 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.

Yet there have also been claims that his name was raised by jealous supporters of Barca rivals Real Madrid to prevent the record going to a Barcelona player.

Zambian commentator Musonda Chibulu and fellow researcher Jerry Muchimba, who compiled their data from daily newspapers and the southern African country's national archives, had said they would try to get Chitalu's tally ratified by Fifa.

The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) also said it wants recognition for the player, who is considered one of the best to have played for The Copper Bullets, who are the current holders of the Africa Cup of Nations.

"Kabwe Warriors, for whom Godfrey Chitalu played, is a legendary team in our country," FAZ president Kalusha Bwalya was quoted as saying on the BBC Sport website.

"Their front line had Godfrey Chitalu scoring all the goals – and even for the national team, this man did a lot. So I think it would be important for people to recognise his feats."

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.


  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-12-14 18:14

    I think the world should take note that no longer ago than this year I scored 234 goals in the first two months and then stopped counting. My boy also didn't want to play anymore so my quest for a personal best was halted in an untimely fashion but just imagine the heights I might have reached. Fifa will do well to consider my record. I also must say that all these other guys crawling from under the rocks challenging my first en Messi's second spot is seriously boring...

  • john.musa3 - 2012-12-14 18:15

    Why is ths chitalu surfacing nw when the German Muller was the record holder no one from FAZ complained nw because is Messi they all complaining, why, ths is got Real Madness writen all over it, i am also dissapoited with Kalusha.

      shooshyu.tu - 2012-12-14 20:17

      @john my sentiments as well, for 40 years nobody complained nor laid claim to Gert Muellers record of 84 goals, now all of a sudden there are these 2 pretenders for the crown. Real Messi if you ask me.

      ssegaetsho - 2012-12-14 23:54

      Issue didn't surface now, the record was always there. The media is only highlighting it now.

  • Marandi Msimango - 2012-12-14 19:46


  • Prince Kgwale - 2012-12-14 20:09

    Why they bring chitalu's tally now? Messi is the record holder and let's forget about those ghost records

      meshack.letswalo - 2012-12-14 20:27

      True about ghost records. FIFA has also never endorsed so-called 1000 goals by Pelé. He scored them in friendlies against his kids's kindergarten team when he used to score 20 goals in a match. He wants those counted, silly old man just like this Zambian record. If they were so prolific, why didn't they win anything with those goals during African competitions?

      tinotenda.panashe - 2012-12-15 07:46

      You guys, why are you obsessed with European mentality? Is it a colonial mentality? I thought what your argument would be is that why do we only take European records as gospel. Chitalu is the record holder - full stop. Zambia is part of Fifa and not Europe only. It is disappointing that most of Chitalu rubbishing is coming from black South Africans mostly - why???

  • omolajaolanreewaju - 2012-12-17 00:37

    messi is d 1 collect world champion of dis season

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