HARARE – Zimbabwean Tinotenda Chibharo’s meteoric rise at English Champions Manchester City has attracted interest from a far afield as a France’s Ligue 1 and Spain’s La Liga.
Now he has set his sights on playing for the Warriors. Interim Warriors coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels will want to use everything at his disposal and by virtue of current form, Chibharo may be one of the pieces in the rebuilding puzzle.
“Well if I get a call up, I will come,” Chibharo said reaffirming his loyalty to his fatherland.
But the 19-year-old Manchester City Under-21 captain is determined to stay at Manchester City for a while longer and try to break into Roberto Mancini’s first team. “He has received attention as far as Spain and France,” Chibharo’s manager, Denford Mutashu told the Daily News on Sunday.
“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.”
Chibharo says he is enjoying life at City.
“The sky is the limit as long as God is on my side. For now I just love being here though it’s very cold here,” Chibharo said. On his future he said: “Well I’m not thinking much about that but I just want to be one of the Africans who made it up there.”
Back home, the Zimbabwe national team is on a rebuilding phase with the Under-23 team expected to be the core of the side. Born 19-years ago in Harare, the youngest of a family of 11, Chibharo never imagined he would one day hog the limelight.
“Being the youngest, you get all the favours and you get away with everything,” Chibharo says of his upbringing. Football though would become his great escape and he fell in love with the beautiful game at an early age. He would go on to make his mark at Waterfalls’ Lord Malvern School as a utility player.
It was however, at Prince Edward School where Chibharo’s talent would really blossom. Together with Qadr Amini, now at FC Platinum, Russell Madamombe, now with Monomotapa and Tapiwa Machingauta, now based in the United States, Chibharo was a part of a formidable PE Under-17 side.
So potent was that crop of players that they went on to lift the Matafi Schools championship back to back in 2007 and 2008.
Their victory in 2007 was perhaps the most memorable as they beat a Lord Malvern side in the final, made up of the likes of Khama Billiart, now with Ajax Cape Town and Knowledge Musona, now with Augsburg in the German Bundesliga.
It is however, interesting to note that despite such bountiful talent in this generation there was never a time that Chibharo, Billiart, Musona, Madamombe, Amini and Machingauta played in the same Zimbabwe youth team, exposing the defectiveness of the Zimbabwe selection process.
Chibharo’s springboard to international stardom came through Maningi Football Club who are part of the High Glen Junior Football League.
The former PE and Lord Malvern football star was picked by American scouts in a trial run at Maningi FC, a move which opened the door to study in Winthrop University in United States. Chibharo had to stop midway his Business Management degree when Manchester City came calling.
Prince Edward School football coaches Jacob Chavungama and Norman Taruvinga, who were influential in bringing Chibharo from Lord Malvern when he was in a Form Two, say they are not surprised by his progress.
“One of hisgreatest attributes was his work ethic, he was determined and exerted himself in training, and he was very reliable on match days,” said Chavungama.
He added: “I was not surprised that he has impressed at those levels, he is one player who can make an impact even in the Zimbabwe Under-23 side.” Daily News