The Executive Committee of Kabwe Warriors Football Club (KWFC) has followed with keen interest the on-going debate about whether the 107 goals scored in the 1972 season by its striker, the peerless Godfrey ‘Ucar’ Chitalu (now deceased) should be recognised as a world record by world football authority FIFA.
To begin with, KWFC, its generous and faithful sponsors Zambia Railways and its fans are delighted that this debate is happening at this time as it coincides with the club’s 50th anniversary of its founding, for which plans are at an advanced stage to celebrate the milestone.
This year also marks 40 years since Godfrey Chitalu scored the 107 goals that have now ignited this very interesting global debate about whether he should now be recognized as the world record holder for the most goals scored in a calendar year.
While there has never been any debate about the legitimacy of Chitalu’s 107 goals in Zambian football, an achievement for which he was duly awarded by the FAZ at the end of the same season, KWFC is grateful to FAZ and the thousands of fans who are now championing the campaign for FIFA to recognise the feat as a world record.
For the record, it is not as though FIFA has been totally unaware of Godfrey Chitalu’s record. In 1982, FIFA did award him, along with other notable international stars, for his contribution to the promotion of the world’s number one sport, at a ceremony held in France.
We are therefore confident that the FAZ, armed with all the statistical evidence needed to press the case for Chitalu’s 107 goals, will do its best to ensure that justice is done.
As a club, KWFC has worked assiduously to safeguard its history and we are happy the Chitalu has now received international recognition whether FIFA accepts the record or not. While Chitalu holds a special place in the hearts of Zambian soccer fans, it is particularly heartening that support for him to be awarded the record for his 107 goals has come from all over the globe.
There is no debate about the fact that there are now a few millions more people out there who now know about him, about Kabwe Warriors and about Zambia than did a week ago.
As part of our club’s programme to celebrate 50 years of existence, the executive has already taken the decision to rename its home ground, Railway Ground, after its record goal scorer, to be known as the Godfrey ‘Ucar’ Chitalu 107 Stadium. Also, a statue of him is to be erected at the stadium and t-shirts bearing Chitalu’s name and ‘107 goals’ are to be printed to help raise funds for the club and for his surviving family, some of whom continue to be avid supporters of KWF.
It is to be appreciated that during the days Chitalu was at the peak of his game, football was not as commercialised as it is today and, like most of his generation, he played for the love of the sport as well as honour for the country. It is amazing that 20 years after his death, his name has potential marketing power and it is only right that this value should accrue to his family and Kabwe Warriors Football Club.
In this regard, KWFC would like to warn that it is aware that a merchandising line bearing the name Chitalu and ‘107’ goals has gone online and that this is in breach of the rights that are currently held by the club and the Chitalu family. Our lawyers in London have been advised to look into the matter.