Everyone has a birthday. A joyful day for receiving presents from family and friends, for blowing out candles on a cake as you celebrate your arrival on this earth.
Some people even have two, such as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II -- one to mark the date of her birth, and one to celebrate the anniversary of her coronation.
But soccer player Chancel Mbemba Mangulu can top that. He appears to haves four "birthdays" -- and it has caused him a lot of problems. So much so that football's world governing body FIFA has now started an investigation.
"We are currently analysing all the documents at our disposal and investigations against the relevant entities are on-going," FIFA told CNN on Thursday. "In view of this, we cannot comment any further."
Mbemba was part of the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) squad for the Africa Cup of Nations -- considered one of the toughest, and most entertaining in events world soccer -- but, before that, confusion over his date of birth almost put an end to his dreams of a career with a top European club.
Mbemba was registered by his two first Congolese clubs as being born in 1988, according to documents obtained by CNN. Yet for a Cup of Nations qualifier in June 2011, his year of birth was listed as November 30, 1991.
Meanwhile, the birth date recorded by his Belgian club Anderlecht is August 8, 1994.
Just to complicate matters, Mbemba himself, thinks he was born in 1990.
The movement of African players to Europe is long established. As many as 137 European clubs from 26 different UEFA member associations have released players for the Cup of Nations. Out of the 368 footballers competing in the tournament, over 50% play in European leagues.
European clubs generally regard African players as athletically and technically gifted. Arguably just as importantly they are relatively cheap to buy, with the added potential that clubs can make a large profit if they are sold in the future.
For the players, the idea of becoming of a professional footballer in Europe holds the promise of a better life for themselves abroad and their families back home.
But the issue of age is no trivial matter in football's high-stakes world.
Key tournaments involving national teams, such as the Olympics and the Under-20 and Under-17 World Cups, have age limits for participating players. An over-age player brings the advantage of having increased physical development as well as more tactical training and experience at a high level on the pitch.
In professional leagues, as a player ages, Father Time becomes the enemy. A player who is older is perceived as closer to being past his prime -- and clubs tend to be less willing to invest in him by offering them a lucrative contract.
Born in the Congolese capital of Kinshasha, Mbemba had more reasons than most to try and play in Europe.
Despite the nation's wealth in natural resources, the country's citizens are among the poorest in the world, and it has seen more than its fair share of violence over the decades. Civil wars -- most recently in the 1990s through 2003 -- have left millions dead across the country and displaced entire generations.
"I want to go there," Mbemba kept repeating as he dreamed of following in the footsteps in one of Kinshasa's most famous sons -- former Real Madrid, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Claude Makelele. "Our family was very, very poor," he added in an April interview.
Recent attempts to contact Mbemba to shed light on his unusual story have gone unanswered.
While Mbemba's dream has become something of a bureaucratic nightmare, his story also highlights the continuing issue of age fabrication in football.
In 2009, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) was embarrassed in the run-up to the Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria when FIFA introduced MRI scans to ensure teams were not fielding overage players.
Wary of the tests, Africa's competitors ran their own tests to discover a handful of The Gambia's African championship-winning side were overage, while Nigeria was forced to drop over a dozen players from its proposed squad.
'We needed him'
Age fabrication allows nations to field stronger teams in youth tournaments. The age of player is also important for the buying and selling club as it has implications for their salary and future sell-on value.