Published: December 11, 2012
With the euphoria surrounding Lionel Messi’ ‘so called’ recording breaking 88 goals in one calender year, most fans in Zambia are surprised that Zambian legend Godrey Chitalu’s amazing feat which saw him hit 107 goals in 1972 not being mentioned.
As usual, the European media have been claiming that Germany great Gerd Muller held the record but contrary to that there’s the great ‘Ucar’ who hit a 100 plus goals for both club and country.
Below, Zambianfootball.co.zm‘s historian and researcher Jerry Muchimba takes a lot look at how Ucar scored his goals for Kabwe Warriors and Zambia.
Godfrey ‘Ucar’ Chitalu needs no introduction in Zambian football circles. Widely regarded as the greatest Zambian player in history, Chitalu was voted Footballer of the Year a record 5 times. In 1972, he rewrote the record books by scoring 107 goals in a single season and it is this amazing feat that will be examined more closely.
Chitalu was born on 22nd October 1947 in Luanshya and first played football for school and welfare teams before joining Kitwe United in 1965. He was the first winner of the Footballer of the Year and Top Scorer awards in 1968 with 81 goals. He won the Challenge Cup with United in 1970, the season in which he won his second Footballer of the Year award. He would go on to win it 3 more times in 1972, 1978 and 1979. He moved to Kabwe Warriors in 1971 and a wrangle over his transfer fee meant he missed the first 6 games of the season but still ended the season as joint top scorer with 41 goals.
In 1972, Chitalu accomplished an astonishing feat by scoring 107 goals in all competitions, a Zambian scoring record which still stands today and looks unlikely to be broken. Soccer fans today still talk about the 107 goals feat but few people know exactly how he accomplished this. Research was recently carried out based on press reports of the matches he played in 1972, to shed more light on this awesome accomplishment. Shockingly, Chitalu scored more than 107 goals but the reason why only that figure has been recorded will be revealed shortly.
Chitalu kicked off the season by scoring a brace when Warriors drew 2-2 with Majantja FC of Lesotho in Maseru in the Africa Clubs Champions Cup on 23rd January 1972. He followed this up with a lesson in clinical finishing, scoring a whopping seven goals when Warriors overwhelmed the Sothos 9-0 in the second leg on 6thFebruary 1972 at Dag Hammarskjoeld Stadium in Ndola. Although the newspaper report of the match stated that he had set the pace on the National Football League (NFL) scoring charts with nine goals in the competition, the goals were later scratched off because the two matches were played at a time when ‘the season had not started.’
Chitalu scored the winner when Warriors beat Kitwe United 1-0 to win the season-opening Charity Shield and scored twice when Warriors trounced Zambia police 5-2 in their first league game of the season at Railway Stadium in Kabwe. He scored a hat-trick when Warriors beat Maseru United 7-1 in an international friendly at the same venue in March and 4 goals in a 14-2 thrashing of Norco Rangers in a Chibuku Cup first round match to pull away from the rest of the field. He was also on target for Zambia in an international friendly against Sheffield United in May.
When Zambia met Lesotho in a World Cup qualifier in June, he struck twice in a 6-1 victory and was also on the score-sheet in friendly matches against Union Espanola of Chile. Chitalu scored a brace when he captained the All Stars to a 4-3 victory against The Rest on 14th August, taking him to 71 goals for the season.
The Goal-King scored twice in the Challenge Cup final when Warriors beat Ndola United 3-1 and scored in another final two weeks later, this time in the 5-3 defeat of Rhokana United in the Chibuku Cup final. In the process, he surpassed his own record of 81 goals that he had set as the inaugural winner of the top-scorers’ award in 1968.
At the end of October, Chitalu had amassed 92 goals with a gap of 57 goals between him and second placed Bernard Chanda of Wanderers and Warrior’s team-mate Sandy Kaposa. There was no stopping him as he went on to score in 17 consecutive matches for Warriors, including two when they were knocked out of the Africa Club Champions Cup 9-3 on aggregate by Ghana’s Hearts of Oak, 5 against Buseko FC in a Chibuku Cup tie, 5 against Roan in a Castle Cup semi-final and 7 against Mufulira Wanderers in two league games including 4 in a 5-1 demolition at Shinde Stadium.
He scored in yet another cup final when Warriors crushed Kitwe United 6-1 in November to lift the Castle Cup, with Chitalu grabbing a hat-trick and taking his tally for the season to 99 goals in a 9-2 whipping of City of Lusaka and only needed one more to reach the magical figure of one hundred goals.
The hundredth goal soon came in a 4-2 victory in a league game against Kalulushi Modern Stars at the Independence Stadium in Kalulushi, when he scored a hat-trick.
He scored twice in Warrior’s final league game of the season, a 4-0 bashing of his old club Kitwe United in Kabwe.
Chitalu was not done as he scored 3 goals in the two legged match of Midlands XI vs Copperbelt XI for the NFL trophy in December to reach the magical figure of 107 goals.
At the end of the season Warriors had swept all the silverware on offer, an unprecedented haul which included the Footballer of the Year and Top scorer awards, which of course went to Chitalu who attributed his success to the good support from his teammates who in his own words were ‘selfless.’
For his remarkable achievement, Chitalu received a special yellow ball from sponsors Rothmans which had his name and number of goals inscribed on it.
His goals of which 49 came in the league are shown below and by the rules in force then, these included international friendlies, Midlands vs Copperbelt and All Stars vs The Rest matches. (Chitalu’s teams’ score is shown first)
[Information sources: Times of Zambia, Zambia Daily Mail from 1972]