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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Kabwe Warriors (Zambia), 1972

After their segregation from the UK in 1964, soccer in Zambia (formerly known as Northern Rhodesia), really took off in the early seventies. On club level, Kabwe Warriors was the first Zambian club entering the African Champions Cup in 1972. That same year, 1972, Kabwe Warriors took all the silverware on the national level. With special thanks to forward Godfrey 'Ucar' Chitalu, who certainly made some headlines of his own.

In 1972 Zambia had two big clubs. Mufulira Wanderers had won the championship five times: in 1963 (before independence), 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1969. Kabwe Warriors, the other powerhouse, claimed their first title in 1968, and were champions again in 1970 and 1971. Both had excellent players, Mufulira concentrated on a tough defense with Dickson Makwaza, Dick Chama and the three Nkole-brothers Abraham (goalkeeper), Patrick and Edward. Kabwe Warriors were spectacular upfront with Boniface Simutowe, Sandy Kaposa and Godfrey Chitalu.
How spectacular, is rather difficult to say. Statistical records in Zambia were for the whole season, it didn't matter much if it were league goals, cup goals (much easier to score, particularly in the first rounds with poor opposition) or even goals in friendly club matches. The player who totalled the most goals, was crowned top goalscorer of the year. Evidently, you had to score a lot, as is shown beneath:

 
Year
Player(s)
Club
Goals in all matches
1968
Godfrey Chitalu
Kitwe United
81
1969
Robertson Zulu
Sandy Kaposa
Boniface Simutowe
Mufulira Wanders
Kabwe Warriors
Kabwe Warriors
64
54
53
1970
Sandy Kaposa
Boniface Simutowe
Kabwe Warriors
Kabwe Warriors
58
55
1971
Godfrey Chitalu
Kabwe Warriors
41

International debut

Godfrey Chitalu, in 1978
Kabwe Warriors started the season with their debut in the African Champions Cup, which also was a first for Zambia. Majantja from tiny Lesotho was no match, although the first match (2-2) suggested otherwise. Godfrey Chitalu scored both goals. At home Majantja was trashed 9-0, with Chitalu scoring an amazing seven, Sandford Mvula and Boniface Simutowe adding the other two.
Madagascar's St. Michael was the next opponent. At home, Warriors only managed a 2-1 victory,  Fred Mgulube and Chitalu scoring. Away in Antananarivo it was much easier: 3-0, with goals from Oliver Musonda (2) and Chitalu. This mighty adventure ended in October, when Kabwe Warriors faced Ghana giants Hearts of Oak. In Accra, the team got trounced 7-2 (goals by Simutowe and Chitalu). Their performance at home wasn't good either, losing 1-2. Of course, Chitalu scored again and was crowned top goalscorer of the tournament with thirteen goals.

National league 1972

At national level, Kabwe Warriors didn't win the league by a landslide. For starters, they lost heavily, twice, against Rokana United, 2-6 and 1-4. Most of the season they were forced to chase Nchanga Rangers. Halfway in November, Kabwe Warriors were behind in matches and in points (34, trailing the 39 of Nchanga). By winning all their remaining matches, Kabwe Warriors eventually did clinch their fourth league title. Godfrey Chitalu scored no less than 49 goals during this league campaign, leaving teammates Sandy Kaposa (14) and Boniface Simutowe (11) far behind. The other Warriors-goals were scored by Sandford Mvula (7), Gibby Zulu (6), Oliver Musonda (4), Fred Ngulube (1), M. Mlbangwe 1, Edward  Musonda (1) and Richard Stephenson (1).

Cup Tournaments 1972

The Kabwe Warriors team of 1972 is legendary in Zambia because they not only won the league, but also the Charity Shield and all cup tournaments. They started off the domestic season with a 1-0 (goal by Chitalu) victory in the Charity Shield against Kitwe United in February. The Challenge Cup and the Chibuku Cup were won in October, the Castle Cup in November.


Cup
Opponent in final and score
Goalscorers Kabwe Warriors
Chibuku Cup
Rokana United 5-3
Chitalu (4), Simutowe (1)
Challenge Cup
Ndola United 3-1
Chitalu (2), Kaposa (1)
Castle Cup
Kitwe United 6-1
Chitalu (3), Mvula (1), Kaposa (1), Simutowe (1)

Godfrey Chitalu

Kabwe Warriors probably wouldn't have won all these trophies, if it wasn't for Godfrey Chitalu. By Zambians he is considered their best player of all time, way ahead of better known players for example of the nineties, like Kalusha Bwalya and Charles Musonda. As a youngster at Kitwe United, Chitalu had some trouble with his temper, receiving red cards and suspensions. But his ability was never doubted. Nicknamed Ucar after an longlasting battery, he seemed unstoppable. He is the only Zambian player who was elected Footballer of the Year five times, no-one else accomplished this more than once.

Chitalu with his record,
107 goals in all competitions in 1972 

World record

Chitalu scored an unbelievable amount of goals in his career, 1972 being his best ever season. In fact, while Lionel Messi was banging in goals for Barcelona and Argentina in 2012, people in Zambia remembered the goals Chitalu scored in 1972. Back in those days, the Zambian FA had already acknowledged his record, giving him a football with the number 107on it, being his goaltally that year.
Zambian historian Jerry Muchimba even counted 116 (the first round of the African Champions Cup had been left out, because the 1972 season hadn't officially started yet), of which eleven weren't official. That still leaves 105, better than Messi (91) and Gerd Müller (85, also in 1972). Of course it's not really fair to compare these totals, and to announce one of them world record holder. Either way, it's a great record for Chitalu, who also holds the record for most goals scored (74) for the national team of Zambia.
After a long career, Chitalu became a manager. He died on the darkest day in Zambian soccer. As the teammanager he also crashed into the sea with the Zambian national team on April 27, 1993. He was 45 years old.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Champions of 1913: Rapid Wien (Austria)


Captain of Rapid Wien until 1929: Richard Kuthan
One hundred years ago Rapid Wien won their second national title in Austria. They've always stayed on top of things, although nowadays the likes of Red Bull Salzburg and Austria Wien make life a bit more difficult for Rapid compared  to the old days.

 After winning the first Austrian championship in 1911/12 by a tiny margin (Sportclub ended the 18-match season with one point less), Rapid Wien was the main candidate for the title in 1912/13. The team had a somewhat bumpy start, with two wins and two draws, but then won twelve times in a row to put themselves out of reach for their rivals. Rapid won for example 7-0 against Simmering, 5-0 against Florisdorfer AC, and 5-0 against Sportclub. In their last match of the season, Rapid Wien also trashed Rudolfshügel 5-0.

This is how the 1912-13 season ended at the top:

Rapid Wien
18
15
3
0
33
59 - 17
WAF
18
12
2
4
26
39 - 21
Sportclub
18
10
1
7
21
45 - 24


And these were the players of Rapid Wien, hundred years ago:

Player
Year of birth
Matches
Goals
Josef Klima
Unknown
18
0
Fritz Brandstetter
1892
18
6
Heinrich Krczal
1893
18
6
Richard Kuthan
1891
18
15
Leopold Grundwald
1891
17
8
Josef Brandstetter
1891
16
3
Gustav Blaha
1888
16
13
Eduard Bauer
1894
14
4
Josef Kaltenbrunner
1888
13
0
Josef Hagler
Unknown
12
2
Josef Jech
Unknown
10
1

Other Rapid players that season: Franz Balzer (6 matches/0 goals), Vinzenz Dittrich (5/0), Josef Koceny (5/0),Johan Kowarik (4/1), Josef Schediwy (3/0), Rudolf Kühn (1/0), Gustav Putzendoppler (1/0), Franz Schediwy (1/0), Josef Tauschinsky (1/0) and Anton Wegscheider (1/0).

Important players

More than half the team played internationally for Austria, Josef Brandstetter leading the way with 42 caps (2 goals). Midfielder Brandstetter was enormously important for the team, picking the ball up from defense and providing the attack. Captain of the team was forward and leading goalscorer Richard Kuthan. Not a selfish player at all, he was the captain a team could only wish for. In 1929 Kuthan (by then 38 years old) won his 8th championship with Rapid Wien.
Eduard 'Edi' Bauer
Among the other players Eduard (Edi) Bauer was the benjamin of the team. Just nineteen years old at the end of the season Bauer was an elegant player, with great technical skills. In this season he only scored a few league-goals, in 1917 and 1918 he was the leading goalscorer in the country. Kuthan and Bauer of course were also capped for the national team, with quite similar statistics: Kuthan played 24 international matches and scored 14 times, Bauer managed one less in 23 matches.  

Other important players were goalkeeper Josef Kaltenbrunner (11 caps for Austria), Josef Jech (2 caps) and Heinrich Krczal (also known as Körner) (7 caps). Defender Fritz Brandstetter was Josefs younger brother, who promised to be just as talented. Unfortunately, a knee-injury in 1915 cut short his soccer career, in which he was capped just once, in 1912.

Life after 1913

Rapid Wien has from the start been the team to beat in Austrian soccer. Most of the players of 1913 were champions four, five times, as Rapid again clinched the title in 1916, 1917, 1919, 1920, 1921.and 1923. From the twenties until the sixties Rapid collected more titles than everyone else, with Austria Wien as their main rival. It temporarily came to a hold during the seventies, as Rapid couldn’t add a title from 1969 until 1981. After that, the drought was stopped, but championships were less frequent. Still, the last title in 2007-08 was their 32nd in history. 
Rapid Wien is still a household name in Austria, but they now are equal competitors to Red Bull Salzburg, Sturm Graz and archrival Austria Wien. 
It's about time they get title number 33, though.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cork Hibernians, 1970-71


Cork Hibernians played nineteen seasons in the League of Ireland, from 1957 until 1976. One time they were crowned league champion, back in 1971. Player-manager Dave Bacuzzi and Miah Dennehy were their main assets to clinch that title.


Soccer in Cork has a turbulent and somewhat confusing history. In 1957 Cork Hibernians replaced Cork Athletic in the League of Ireland. Before that Cork was represented in the League of Ireland as Fordsons (1924-1929), Cork FC (1930-1938) and Cork City (1938-1940) - all the same club. Then Cork United (1940-1948) replaced Cork City that went bust in February 1940. Cork United was very successful, winning the league in 1941, 1942, 1943 and 1945. Cork United folded in 1948, lack of money got in their way. With much of the same players a new club, Cork Athletic, was founded and replaced United in the League of Ireland. They also had magical moments, taking the title in 1950 and 1951. So Cork Hibernians (previously an amateur club) had big shoes to fill in 1957, when Cork Athletic resigned from the league because of - there it is again - financial trouble.

Mediocre seasons

In a league with twelve clubs, Hibs at first didn’t perform up to expectations. In their first season they suffered a record defeat (2-8 against Dundalk) and came in last, without being relegated. After that, a fourth place in 1964-65 was their best result. During that season Cork Hibernians did score the most goals in the league (41), with Jack Fitzgerald (9 goals), John McCole (8) and Donie Wallace (8) getting the headlines.

Things get better

From 1968-69 onwards Cork Hibernians claimed a place at the top of the league. In that season they were third, a feat they repeated in 1969-70. Hibs had a talented team, with players like John Herrick (born in 1947), Englishman Tony Marshden (1948), Miah Dennehy (1950) and David Wigginton (1950). Attendances at their homeground Flower Lodge rose, more than 10,000 was quite normal.

At the end of the 1970-season, the board assigned 30-year old former Arsenal and Manchester City player Dave Bacuzzi as playermanager. He instantly struck gold.

Champions in 1970-71

The 1970-71 season had six serious contenders, who at the end just had five points between them:


Cork Hibernians
26
12
11
3
35 : 17
38 - 17
Shamrock Rovers
26
14
7
5
35 : 17
49 - 38
Waterford
26
13
8
5
34 : 18
49 - 34
Bohemians
26
12
9
5
33 : 19
38 - 25
Cork Celtic
26
11
9
6
31 : 21
44 - 27
Finn Harps
26
13
4
9
30 : 22
54 - 42

Led by Bacuzzi and goalkeeper Joe O’Grady, Cork Hibernian had the best defense by far. Their 38 goals were scored by Dave Wigginton (8), Carl Davenport (8), Tony Marshden (6), Donie Wallace (5), John Lawson (3), Miah Dennehy (2), Walter ‘Sonny’ Sweeney (2), John Herrick (1) and Jim Murphy (1). Two goals were scored by opponents.

Play Off at Dalymount Park

On goal difference Hibernians would have won the league, but the Irish Association decided there should be a Championship Play Off.  On April 25, Cork Hibernians met Shamrock Rovers at Dalymount Park, the home of Bohemian Dublin. A crowd of 28,000 people saw Miah Dennehy opening the score for Hibs with a shot from eight yards. Mick Leech equalized for Rovers in the second half. After a John Lawson corner, Miah Dennehy scored his second. Dennehy also provided the third, running past two Rovers-defenders, with Dave Wigginton needing two attempts to beat Shamrock-goalkeeper Pat Dunne.

Top 5 top scorers

Within their history, the squad of the 1970-71 season stood out. To prove this: while competing in the league for nearly twenty years, the five all-time top scorers of Cork Hibernians all played in that famous 1970-71 season:

Player
First season
Last season
Total league goals
Dave Wigginton
1968-69
1975-76
73
John Lawson
1969-70
1975-76
41
Tony Marshden
1970-71
1974-75
38
Donie Wallace
1961-62
1970-71
33
Miah Dennehy
1968-69
1972-73
31




Playing against Borussia Mönchengladbach

So Cork Hibernians were champions of Ireland, and as a reward, they were to play Borussia Mönchengladbach in the European Champions Cup. They’d already played Valencia (0-3 and 1-3) in 1970 in the Fairs Cup, but the Germans, with Günter Netzer and Jupp Heynckes in blended form, were a far better opponent. Hibs lost 5-0 at home on September 15, 1971, two weeks later it ended 2-1 in favour of the Germans. In the domestic league of 1971-72 Cork Hibernians came in second, four points behind Waterford. Hibs had their revanche in the FAI Cup-final. On that day, Waterford was no match for Miah Dennehy, who scored all three goals (the first hattrick in Cuphistory, started in 1922) in a 3-0 victory.

Hibs got into trouble

After that, Cork Hibernian stayed a top five team, until things got wrong in 1976. Since the early seventies, the people in Ireland could watch English matches from the First Division on the tv. It crashed attendances at home, causing financial catastrophy. On top of that, Hibs made the very unwise decision to engage Rodney Marsh, who was far too expensive. One thing led to another, and Cork Hibernian withdraw from the league in 1977.

Medals and trophies

Winning just the one league title makes Cork Hibernians something of a one hit wonder. On the European continent, that is. National cups hardly count. Back in Ireland national cups do count. Cork Hibernians won quite a few:

 FAI Cup, 1972 and 1973;

- League of Ireland Shield, 1973;

- Blaxnit Cup (Cup competition between four clubs from Eire and four from Northern Ireland), 1972;

- Dublin City Cup, 1971 and 1973;

- Munster Senior Cup, 1961, 1965, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973 and 1975.