By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
English Premier League giants Manchester City have dismissed any links with Warriors’ unheralded player Tinotenda Chibharo who was recently called up to the senior national soccer team by coach Sunday Chidzambwa as fears of influential player intermediaries mount.
Chibharo, now turning out for Serbian Second Division outfit FK Sloboda Užice, is part of the 28-member squad that is expected to troop into camp next week in preparation for a crucial Total African Nations Cup Group G qualifier away to Congo Brazzaville on September 7.
Recent reports claimed that Chibharo captained Manchester City’s Under-21s in 2012, with the player himself claiming in an interview with a local weekly that playing for City was a great experience for him.
“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. If you were once part of the Citizens, you will always be a Citizen! It’s great to see how the players are playing and doing so well as a team. Even though the other part of me wishes I was still part of it, but I’m sure more will come my way. I will never stop pushing myself to reach greener pastures,” Chibharo is quoted by the local weekly.
However, inquiries by Chronicle Sport as part of profiles of players called into camp by Chidzambwa revealed that the English champions never had Chibharo on their books.
“This is absolutely false,” said Alex Rowen, Manchester City’s media relations manager, in an emailed response to Chronicle Sport yesterday.
Contacted for comment from his Serbian base, Chibharo first demanded to know where Chronicle Sport got his contact details before referring questions to his handler Kennedy Chihuri, who said he was too busy to respond to questions.
“I’m busy at the moment, can you call me on Saturday,” said Chihuri.
National team call ups have of late been shrouded in controversy, with talented and in-form players that have no “connected” handlers being overlooked for mediocre and well connected players.
Chidzambwa this week told our sister publication The Sunday Mail that he can’t please everyone in national team call-ups.
“You will never pick a squad that pleases all; it’s common all over the world. I am a human being, whose view might differ from others, so naturally I cannot please everyone. That’s how life goes. I believe we have done our best as the technical team to call in the players we think can do the best job in Congo. There are a lot of factors that are looked at when selecting the national team,” Chidzambwa said. The Chronicle