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Zambia, Brazil dispute Lionel Messi mark

December 12, 2012
By ESPN.com news services

The Zambia Football Association and the Brazilian team Flamengo both said Wednesday they plan to appeal to FIFA and challenge Lionel Messi's newly minted record of 86 goals in a calendar year.

The Zambia Football Association on Wednesday said it will present evidence to show FIFA that Kabwe Warriors striker Godfrey Chitalu scored 107 goals in 1972, thus beating Lionel Messi's mark for most goals scored in a calendar year, according to reports.

Meanwhile, officials from the Brazilian team Flamengo contend that Zico scored 89 goals in 1979. According to the Brazilian website Lancenet, Zico scored 81 times during the 1979 Flamengo season.

Team research and statistics coordinator Bruno Lucena also told Lancenet that Zico scored seven times for the Brazil national team and once for a Rest of the World XI against Argentina. He missed two months of that 1979 season due to injury.

"We are upset. Messi has not passed his record," Lucena told Lancenet, as quoted in Sambafoot. "If he had played the whole year, it is a certainty that he would have more than 100 goals."

Messi scored two goals at Real Betis this past Sunday to give him 86 goals and best Gerd Muller's officially recognized 40-year-old record of 85. He extended his record tally to 88 goals Wednesday when he scored his 21st 2012 double in Barcelona's Copa Del Rey win against Cordoba.

The Zambian FA said it will challenge Messi's record before FIFA.

"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 spokesperson said the Zambia FA has commissioned an independent team to "go back into the archives and record minute-by-minute each of those goals," to appeal to the Confederation of African Football and FIFA, according to a report published in The Guardian.

Chitalu, played for Zambia's national team, before becoming a national coach. He died in 1993 when a plane carrying the team crashed near Gabon.