Ladies and gentleman...we have ourselves a controversy.
When Lionel Messi broke Gerd Müller's goals scored in a calendar year record last weekend, the soccer world rejoiced. Everyone's favorite Argentine wonder kid had added yet another item to his ever growing list of amazing accomplishments. The joy was a palpable, at least everywhere but Zambia.
The Zambia Football Association announced on Wednesday that it will present evidence to FIFA proving that Messi does not hold the record. According to their statement, Kabwe Warriors striker Godfrey Chitalu scored 107 goals in 1972, thus trumping Messi's latest record.
"We have this record, which has been recorded in Zambian football, but unfortunately it has not been recorded in world football," a Zambia FA spokesperson told the Zambian website Soccer Laduma. "Even as the world has been looking at Lionel Messi's record, breaking Gerd Müller's, the debate and discussion back here has been why Godfrey's goals are not being recognised."
The Zambia FA has put together an independent commission to "go back into the archives and record minute-by-minute each of those goals," with the ultimate goal of appealing to the Confederation of African Football and FIFA.
One can't help but wonder what the Zambia FA has been doing for the last 40 years while Müller has been recognized as the greatest calender year goal scorer of all-time. Considering this particular FA has existed since 1929 and was affiliated to FIFA in 1964, there's really no excuse for them not saying anything for the past 40 years.
It's also fishy that Chitalu's record just happens to appear now. Did they now know about it? Did they not care? Is this a cheap ploy for media attention. It seems possible, especially since Chitalu apparently beat out Müller in the same year the previous record was set.
Sadly, Chitalu himself won't be able to speak to this controversy as be passed away in 1993 when a plane carrying the Zambia national team crashed near Gabon. If he did in fact set the record this it absolutely deserves to be recognized, but the timing of all this lends itself to suspicion.
Perhaps Messi or someone in his family has at some point wrong the people of Zambia and this is a carefully crafted revenge plot to try and ruin this amazing achievement.
Only time will tell.