OZZY ZANZALA simply can’t cease smiling — and you’ll perceive why after listening to his extraordinary story of survival.
Right now he’s residing the dream as a footballer having in some way escaped the horrors of civil warfare again house in DR Congo.
His household had been amongst 300,000 who desperately fled the capital Brazzaville within the late 1990s trying to find security.
They usually ended up being compelled to cover within the jungle to flee being killed by authorities rebels.
Zanzala’s father lastly managed to get Ozzy, his mum, three brothers and sister to sanctuary in Austria.
However there they battled towards racism and it was solely when the Zanzala household moved to England that they discovered peace.
And Ozzy — or Ofrande, to present him his full title — then constructed a life for himself by soccer after being snapped up by Derby earlier than becoming a member of Accrington Stanley.
The striker, 21, admitted: “It’s wonderful I’m at The Membership That Would Not Die once I noticed a lot loss of life round me.
“It was a miracle that me and my household survived. And a miracle I used to be there within the second half of final season as Stanley had been promoted as League Two champions.
“However miracles occur. I do know this as a result of I’m alive and so are my household. It’s why I at all times smile, why I really like each second — as a result of I’ve seen so many horrible issues.
“So what if an enormous defender is attempting to kick you. So what in case your automotive breaks down, like mine did final week on the best way to our recreation with Bradford.
“When you might have seen what I’ve seen, and are available by it to get the alternatives I now have, in fact you smile!”
Zanzala’s miracle journey started as a toddler. He defined: “Through the civil warfare in 1999 I witnessed quite a lot of loss of life.
“I used to be solely two or three however you always remember, regardless of how younger you might be, as a result of it was so scary.
“We needed to flee into the jungle as a result of the rebels had been simply killing anybody.
“We spent a number of months within the jungle, residing in huts, with folks dying round us by what they ate or drank.
“By God’s grace, all of us stayed alive however we had been shot at and on daily basis we had been preventing for our lives.”
Throughout their time within the jungle, Zanzala’s father was attempting frantically to rearrange for them to hitch him in Austria, the place he labored as a journalist.
Zanzala added: “He struggled to contact us after we had been within the jungle and that point was arduous as a result of he didn’t know if we had been alive.”
After his dad succeeded in getting the household to security, Zanzala admits they struggled to make a life in Austria.
He defined: “It was nonetheless troublesome. We skilled hardship due to our background. It was arduous to play soccer as I wasn’t accepted in lots of groups.
“It was arduous for my mother and father to get jobs that paid good incomes, in order that they moved us to England to present us the very best probability of an training.
“That’s once I began enjoying soccer and bought picked up by Derby at 12.”
Zanzala spent the second half of final season on mortgage from the Rams earlier than becoming a member of Stanley completely this summer season.
His experiences make him decided to maintain residing his footballing desires.
Zanzala, whose facet journey to Peterborough right now, stated: “I’m happy with what I’ve achieved but it surely’s not the tip objective.
“Coming from the place I used to be, you are taking nothing as a right. Being a footballer is a blessing. After what we went by, that’s one thing I can’t overlook.”