Confusing Story Of Zimbabwean Footballer Tinotenda Chibharo Who Claims To Have Played For Manchester City
In the mid 90s Ali Dia became famous for tricking then Southampton manager Graeme Souness to sign him but after one match he was soon found out. Zimbabwean footballer Tinotenda Chibharo is a modern Ali Dia with some confusing twists.
In an age before YouTube allowed us to watch pretty much any player we want, and check their highlights package, Ali Dia's manager managed to fool Souness that he was George Weah and told the Scot to sign Dia, and that was enough for him to get the move to the south coast.
Dia even got on the bench for the Saints in a game. In a match against Leeds in November 1996 he came on as a substitute for Matt Le Tissier, played 32 minutes and was so bad he got subbed back off and released soon after.
But that was then and, unlike the song Three Lions, surely it couldn't be again? Well maybe it has been because of the confusing story of Tinotenda Chibharo, the Zimbabwean footballer who reportedly captained Manchester City's under 21s and possibly got a new team based on what seems to be a lie.
A quick Google of Chibharo will uncover a YouTube video of him playing for City, his Wikipedia page which claims he was signed for City and articles from Zimbabwean sites that claim he captained City's young side (The Wiki page has been edited since I started writing the article).
However there is literally no trace of him when it comes to City. We did some digging at it appears this is something that's been asked before when fans have come across the player.
So we asked the question of the experts who let us know how Chibharo might have been involved with Ctiy's academy in some way:
But the story runs so deep that in an interview with a Zimbabwean outlet in 2012, when he was reported to have played for City, his agent Denford Mutashu said, "He has received attention as far as Spain and France.
"Other bigger clubs from within the English Premier League and lower divisions are hovering around. Personally I would like him to stay at City," Mutashu said.
"Ever since he got into the Man City system, he has proven to be one of the best young lads there. They are impressed with him. We would want him to be a model to young kids across the country.
"As a young man who against all odds broke into Man City, a team which is highly regarded the world over, is not a joke."
These are some serious lines about a kid who, evidently, was never signed by City and would have only ever played on the Right to Dream academy side.
But it doesn't stop there. According to his Wikipedia page the 25 year old also played for Scottish side Kilmarnock, but equally no one has any memory of him playing for Killie either.
And that's what happened next. It seems that Chibharo has now actually got a side in Siberia, although lord knows if that's even true, and signed for them back in January.
An article in the Standard continues to talk about his time with City and cites him signing for Kilmarnock before getting released. In the interview the player says, "Playing at Manchester City was a great experience which developed me as a player and as an individual. It also allowed me to share the stage with some phenomenal players. They taught me many lessons which made me the player I am today."
Speaking about his time in Serbia he added, "The football standards are nice, the game play is really physical but just been doing my best to adapt to their type of play. Luckily, having played for many teams, it didn't take me long.
"My targets, especially this last half of the season, is to play more games. Secondly I want to continue working really hard and hoping for the best to come my way because I believe if you work hard, good things will follow you. Also want to learn more of the language so I can communicate easier."
Clearly press in Zimbabwe love this story, first of one of their own signing for one of the biggest clubs in the world and then on fallen star turned good but there's plenty of holes in it.
What seems to be clear is that Chibharo was never signed by City or Kilmarnock, no matter what some articles suggest but did he use these fake facts to get him the gig in Serbia? We'll never know.