Robson Sharuko — Senior Sports Editor
WHEN Cristiano Ronaldo smashed the record, for the number of league goals scored by a Real Madrid player during a La Liga season, it’s certain his feat must have attracted Moses Chunga’s attention.
After all, the Portuguese superstar scored 46 goals in 2012, exactly the same number of goals which the Zimbabwe football legend also scored, during a red-letter season in Dynamos colours, in 1986.
Thirty five years later, Chunga’s tally remains a benchmark, for goal-scoring excellence, in the domestic Premiership.
And, in the context of today’s goal-shy forwards, it’s a reminder of a time when the domestic game featured some genuine sharpshooters.
It’s not the highest number of goals, scored by an individual in a season, in the local top-flight league, as the late Peter “Thunderboots” Nyama, scored 62 goals for Chibuku Shumba, during the 1970 campaign.
However, Chunga’s tally is the highest, after Independence and, as the country prepares to mark the 41st anniversary of Uhuru, it’s important that such milestones should also be celebrated.
“It always feel great to know you have a record somewhere that is still intact, but I also see this challenge to us as coaches,” Chunga told The Herald.
“And, this is why I agreed to go into development because we have to teach the mind, and players also need to know that they are as good as they train.
“Our strikers cannot reach 15 goals and it is something that worries me and I think we ought to sit down and question this as a nation and find solutions.
“Before I reached 46 goals, I was third top scorer with 19 goals. I then improved the following season and I was the second highest with 22 goals and, due to extra work, and more concentration on my game I scored 46 goals the following year.
“So, you can also see that there is an element of continuity, and progression, and this comes with determination when you say to yourself I want to do better this year than last year.
“You put in extra hours, either by going to training earlier before it officially starts, or staying behind after the session to work on some areas.
“We used to stay behind and to practice on areas like dead ball situations, the spin, balance and speed of the ball, which must all come together at the same time in order for you to take some great free-kicks.”
His tally included 10 occasions, when he scored twice, in a match, and three occasions, when he fired home hat-tricks.
Chunga won the Soccer Star of the Year, in the same season he set his goal-scoring benchmark and, that he was only 21, back then, put his talent, into proper perspective.
That same year, in December, he was invited by one of the legendary coaches, the late Brian Clough, for trials at Nottingham Forest.
Back then, Forest were a major force, both in English and European football, having been crowned champions of England in 1978, and finished as runners-up, the following year.
They also won the League Cup in 1978 and 1979 but, more importantly, were crowned champions of Europe in 1979 and 1980.
This meant that, for Chunga, to even get a chance to go for trials at such a club, spoke volumes about his talent.
The story, though, didn’t have a happy ending, amid reports Clough felt Chunga, despite his natural talent, wasn’t yet ripe for the strict regime, where everyone played to instructions, at the City Ground.
But, it’s when Chunga’s record-breaking goal-scoring blitz of ’86, is put into comparison, with what entire clubs have scored, in the era of the domestic Premiership, which started in ’93, that a light is cast on his special achievement.
In the 26 league championships, which have been held since the domestic top-flight league emerged from the ashes of the Super League, in ’93, Chunga’s former club, Dynamos have, as a team, only managed to beat his tally of ’86, in just NINE seasons.
Only the Dynamos teams of ’94 (66 goals); ’95 (54 goals); ’96 (57 goals); ’97 (78 goals); ’99 (57 goals); 2000 (56 goals); 2002 (50 goals); 2012 (58 goals) and 2017 (55 goals) managed to score, as a team, more goals in a season than Chunga scored, as an individual, in that landmark year.
This also means the Dynamos teams of ’93 (37 goals); 2001 (44 goals); 2003 (45 goals); 2004 (40 goals); 2005 (38 goals); 2006 (41 goals); 2007 (41 goals); 2008 (41 goals); 2009 (44 goals); 2010 (43 goals); 2011 (42 goals); 2013 (43 goals); 2014 (43 goals); 2015 (36 goals); 2016 (29 goals); 2018 (28 goals) and 2019 (28 goals) scored fewer goals, as a team, than Chunga, as an individual, in a season.
When one considers that only 26 league games were played, when Chunga scored his 46 league goals, compared to the 30 games, which have been played, for the better part of the domestic Premiership, the 38 games, at the turn of the millennium and the 34 games, now being played, it shows why his tally remains very special.
Their two biggest rivals, Highlanders and CAPS United, who form part of domestic football’s Big Three Club, have not been spared, either, as only SEVEN times, in the era of the Premiership, have Bosso, as a team, scored more goals, in a season, than Chunga did, as an individual, in ’86.
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In one season, Bosso, as a team, found themselves scoring 46 goals, matching Chunga’s tally, as an individual, while on 18 occasions, the Bulawayo giants, as a unit, failed to beat the number of goals, which the former Dynamos talisman scored, in that record-breaking season, in ’86.
CAPS United haven’t fared any better, as they have only beaten Chunga’s record of ’86, as a team, only on SIX occasions, in the era of the Premiership, twice scoring 46 goals, to match that tally, and on 18 occasions, scoring, as a team, fewer goals than the legendary forward did, during his record-breaking season.
Only on 15 occasions, out of the 26 seasons, in the era of the domestic Premiership, have the clubs, which were crowned champions, scored more goals, as a team in the season they won the league, than Chunga did in ’86, while on 11 occasions, the winners came short.
During the 2017 season, 16 of the top-flight clubs scored fewer goals, than Chunga scored on his own, in ’86, and in 2016, no club scored more goals, as a unit, compared the 46, which the former Zimbabwe captain scored, in his record-breaking season.
Chapungu and Tsholotsho, in that campaign in 2016, scored a combined 45 goals, which means that the two clubs, collectively, scored fewer goals than one man did, during his record-breaking campaign, in 1986