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Interviews

INTERVIEW: What I've been through has made me what I am

The second part of our interview with Ozzy Zanzala

11 January 2021

In the second part of our interview with new arrival Offrande Zanzala he spoke more about what he wants to get from his time with the Blues as he gears up to do as much as he can to contribute to the current buzz around the club.

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Explaining more on what he brings to a team, he commented: “Of course strikers get judged on goals, I understand that, I get that, but I think it’s also about the hard work and effort you put in that you’ll get from me, but that people tend to forget about.

“It’s sometimes just about taking responsibility for making sure things happen in the final third, maybe by bringing others into play and things like that.

“I’m a player who is on it and who will always give the maximum, and if I’m needed to defend or help out anywhere, I’ll do it. You can always improve, whatever you do in life, and that’s the same for every player.

“There’s no doubt that coming here is going to improve me and make me a better player, and I’m excited about that. I want to do well for this club.”

Having already stated that he feels he’s at an age where he wants to make a mark, he added: “I’m very hungry for this challenge. I know it’s a simple thing to say but I just want to play football.

“I’m very determined to show the world what I’m capable of doing. I feel like I haven’t been exposed in the way I wanted, and in the way I would have liked to have been, and I think that coming here is going to give me the best chance to do that.

“That’s why this feels like a great step for me to have taken and a good decision that I’ve made. I just want to kick on now and show everybody the real talent I feel I have inside me. Obviously knowing that I’ve got the backing of the manager and the staff is helping with me knowing I’m now in a good place.”

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Looking back at his career, and his first step into the game with Derby, he told us: “I was with Derby for a few years and it was really good for me there.

“That all seemed to happen quickly because I was scouted when I was playing park football and suddenly I’m with a club like that.

“I had some great moments with them and it was where I learned my trade. They thought a lot of me but it was when I went to Accrington when they were in League Two that I felt I learned about the game.

“We won the league and to be involved in something like that is fantastic. Being at the age I was it made it an even better experience, and it showed me what can come from hard work. Being around a team that’s doing well is also a huge lift for your confidence.

“That’s why coming to a team that’s going for promotion when I’ve been in this situation before will hopefully mean I can help more. Every player wants to be going for the big trophy of winning the league and that’s what I want to be doing again here.”

Life as a child for United’s new striker was anything but plain sailing as he found himself uprooted at a very young age as a fierce and brutal war hit the Republic of Congo.

“That has affected me quite a lot,” he admitted. “It’s made me who I am as a person and it put humbleness in me, and that’s always been the case.

“We had a good life, we were quite wealthy, I suppose, then things got really dangerous as the war intensified. We went from living in Brazzaville to having to hide out in the jungle, and it was hard. It was going from living in the biggest city in my country to almost living off the land.

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“When I look back, if we didn’t get out of there - we went to Austria - I have no idea how different my life would have been or what I’d have ended up doing.”

“Arriving in Austria, I think we all just felt really angry more than anything,” he revealed. “Our life had been ripped from us and we were suddenly in a strange place where we didn’t know the language, and we had to adapt quickly.

“That’s where the determination to make something of any situation I find myself in came from. I’m always willing to learn and I will always go the extra mile if I need to.

“With those experiences from the past it’s definitely helped me to strive got greatness. Just that in itself is massive for me and I’ll definitely be showing it on the pitch.

“It’s given me a real desire inside and a bravery and passion to never give up. I suppose ‘never give up’ is a phrase that’s been used quite a lot but it’s definitely very true. You never where you will end up or how bright the future can be and, having had my experiences, I’m so happy and privileged to be where I am today.

“I’ve just signed for Carlisle with a chance of being able to go and win League Two again. It’s brilliant to be in such a great team and, like I say, I want to be scoring goals and showing everyone what I’m capable of doing.”

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Also a big part of his personal life is his faith and belief that everything happens for a reason.

“As we’ve said, I’ve gone through a lot of stuff which is hard to even imagine, I guess, and God has always been at the centre of my heart,” he commented. “God has been a massive part of life for me and my family and I’m proud to say that I’m a big believer.

“Without God I wouldn’t be here today, I wouldn’t be signing for Carlisle, I know that for a fact. With what I’ve gone through God has been a miracle to my life and my family and a blessing to myself.

“I can’t think Him enough and just the opportunities He’s given me in my life. To me, I’m a winner already, no matter what happens, and God has definitely had his hand on my heart and I’m just grateful to be able to be a vessel for Him to do what he’s called on me to do, which is to play football and enjoy the life I’ve been given.”

The only downside to the signing is the fact that it’s been completed just at the time when football has returned to being played without fans in attendance.

“We all know that when fans are in the stadium it brings a different atmosphere,” he told us. “When they’re chanting their songs and playing drums or cheering you on, it’s all positive and it helps you to keep going.

“It’s disappointing with everything that’s going on that they won’t be here to witness my debut, and things other players are doing, but hopefully they’ll be back with us sooner rather than later. We all want them to be able to experience and be part of what’s happening here.

“We want them to see the goals that are going in first-hand, and not just through social media, so I’ll definitely be missing them. I’ve only heard good things about the fans at the club and it’ll be good when they do come back.”

As for his targets for this season, he said: “My target is 15 goals and, of course, getting promotion. I think that’s my personal goal and also a team goal.

“It’s something I think we’re definitely capable of doing with the way we play, which I’ve studied, and the backing of the staff.

“I can’t wait to get on with it, but definitely 15 goals for the season and promotion for Carlisle.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Offrande Zanzala on iFollow United now.

Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.


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