THE GODFREY CHITALU FACT-FILE

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Continued from yesterday

UCAR

Today, the value of a brand new land Rover at Zambia’s authorized dealers Pilatus, fetches

K600, 000, meaning, Chitalu’s 1972 domestic transfer fee, between clubs, still remains unbeatable.

The following season, 1972, Chitalu made unprecedented history by smashing his previous goal-scoring record of 1968 when he plundered a world record 107 goals in all competitions – 49 of them coming in league matches of the mandatory 26 games. The match against Mufulira Blackpool was not played while that with Roan United was abandoned. The venue for both matches was the Railways Ground (renamed Godfrey Chitalu Stadium). The latter match fell on Chitalu’s birthday – October 22, 1972 – the day he turned 25. God knows how many goals the goal-king would have helped himself with.

Of the 95 goals Warriors scored in the league, 49, as already alluded to, were netted by Chitalu. The rest were scored by nine different scorers: Sandy Kaposa (14), Boniface Simutowe (11), Sandford Mvula (&), Gibby Zulu (6), Oliver Musonda (4) and Richard Stephenson (2).

Three players scored a goal each: Morris Mabengwe, Edward Musonda and Freddie Ngulube. In essence, the aggregate of the nine scorers – 46 – were three shy of Chitalu’s 49 goal tally.

To the present, Ucar’s 107 goals scored during the 1972 season is the standing record in a single season in all competitions while Barcelona and Argentina midfielder Lionel Messi’s 92 goals of the 2011-12 season makes him second to the incomparable Zambian goal-scoring machine’s feat.

On the other hand, former Bayern Munich and West Germany striker Gerd Muller comes in third place on 85 goals for his 85 goals feat of 1972 in all competitions.

Chitalu meanwhile shared the Golden Boot award in 1973 with Mufulira Wanderers’ Bernard “Bomber” Chanda. Both score 39 goals each in all competitions that year.

Still on a personal note, Ucar won the 1972 Footballer-of-the-Year award and would win it twice more in 1978 and 1979 to make it three times while with Warriors.

With the team, Chitalu won the top-flight title in 1971 and 1972. In addition, he would also win the Charity Shield in 1972, 1973 and 1974.

Elsewhere, Chitalu and company, during the same season of 1972, would win the Heroes and Unity Cup, the Castle Cup and the Shell and BP Challenge Cup (BP Top 8) to cap a most glorious season, Ucar’s most memorable season ever domestically.

Worth mentioning is the fact that Chitalu scored in all of Warriors’ cup finals to record a clean sweep of the 1972 domestic scene in final matches: the Charity Shield, the Castle Cup, the Chibuku Cup (Heroes and Unity Cup). That is a record that is unlikely to be repeated anywhere in this world.

To score in five cup finals is simply next to impossibility. Only Ucar has ever been associated with such an incredible feat in global football. Since he set that record 45 years ago, no player, domestically, continentally or indeed globally, has replicated that feat; not Messi, not Cristiano Ronaldo, not Ronaldo the Brazilian and not Gerd Muller. Chitalu stands out like the leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy or the Great Wall of China in this regard.

It was Chitalu who scored one of the two goals in the 2-1 defeat of his former club Kitwe United in the 1972 Charity shield final at Dag Hammarskjold Stadium, and would also contribute a goal in Warriors’ 3-1 win over Ndola United in the Shell BP Challenge Cup final.

Elsewhere, Ucar netted a famous hat-trick in the famous 6-1 demolition of Kitwe United in the Castle Cup final played at Ndola’s Dag Hammarskjold Stadium. Emment Kapengwe scored his team’s consolation.

Yet again, Chitalu scored a brace in the Chibuku Cup final of 1972 to complete a most glorious season at individual as well as club level.

Chitalu also went on to win the Chibuku Cup in 1980 with Warriors.

International career

Chitalu was capped 108 times for Zambia between 1967 and 1980, scoring 78 goals in between, making him the country’s second most capped player after defender Joseph Musonda of the Zambia 2012 African Cup of nations winning team.

Ucar was part of the famous 1974 Zambia squad to the Egypt-held continental showpiece at which his team emerged runners-up to Zaire (DR Congo). Most memorably, Chitalu scored with a header (heading was not his forte) in the 3-1 defeat to the host nation in a Group A encounter.

Tough part of the 1978 Ghana AfCON tournament, Chitalu injured himself in training and was not featured in all three of Zambia’s group games against Upper Volta (Burkina Faso), Ghana and Nigeria. Zambia, sadly, was booted out in the first round after one win, one draw and one loss.

Elsewhere, Chitalu is fondly remembered for his goal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics with Zambia going down 3-1 to the then United Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) now simply called Russia.

At the regional CECAFA tournament, Chitalu has set larger-than-life records.

During the 1978 Malawi-held Confederation of East and Central African Football Associations (CECAFA), he scored 11 goals in 6 matches. He netted a hat-trick in Zambia’s 9-0 destruction of Kenya and would also score all four goals against Uganda in his country’s 4-0 thrashing of the so-called Cranes in the semi-finals.

That Chitalu was of the mercurial breed, like (Bernard) Chanda and Boniface Simutowe, is for sure.

Individual honours

He is on record of having won the Zambia Footballer-of-the-Year award five times in 1968, 1970, 1972, 1978 and 1979 – making him the only individual to be associated with such a lofty accomplishment in Zambian football. The only player to have won the individual award more than once is former Mufulira Wanderers’ striker-turned-defender Ashios Melu, himself, a winner of the coveted honour in 1983 as a striker and again in 1987 as a defender.

Chitalu, fondly nicknamed Ucar, also emerged Zambia’s topscorer in 1968 while playing for Kitwe United and would be the national topdog with Kabwe Warriors in 1971, 1972, 1977 and 1978 to further cement his legacy as a leading forward in Zambian football.

Coaching career

After having hang up his football boots as a player in 1982, Chitalu became a coach for his former club Kabwe Warriors and guided the team to the 1987 Premier League title. He also helped the team win the 1991 BP Challenge Cup, as his troops destroyed Konkola Blades 7-0 in the final, with fellow Gabon air disaster victim Timothy Mwitwa notching in a quartet.

There was contagious belief that had Chitalu and his assistant Alex chola’s lived on, the duo would have made rare history by qualifying the Zambia national team for the first time to the world Cup, the 1994 US-held championship being a case in point

Legacy

It goes without saying that Chitalu’s mighty legacy is very much embodied in the fact that he is the world’s leading top scorer for his unrivalled record of having scored 116 goals in a single calendar year in all competitions, relegating Argentine Lionel Messi into second place with 91 goals, a record he registered during the 2011-2012 season as a Barcelona player.

Elsewhere, he is the world’s fourth leading topscorer for country career goals scored after Iranian Ali Daeli (109 goals), Hungarian Ferenc Puskas (85) and Portugal legend and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo whose tally stands at 81.

And for having won the nation’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award five times, is monumental in the true sense of the word.

Personal life

Chitalu married twice during his colourful career. With his first wife Christine, he fathered three children who included the late Christine who was born in 1972, a true spitting image of the goal-king, despite being a woman. Chitalu’s other children are Dennis (late) who tried to imitate his father at some point by playing football but faded. Musonda, a nurse, is married to former Zanaco FC player Martin Daka whose career took him to Angola and later Nchanga Rangers and Kabwe Warriors, the club that his more famous father-in-law played for.

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