We caught up with the striker and spoke about the start to his career at Stevenage...
It’s not been an easy start to Calvin Zola’s career at Stevenage. Injuries have meant that Zola has played only 16 minutes this season, as one knock after another has kept him out of the first team squad and in the physio room.
Heads were turned back in June when Zola signed, a striker with real pedigree in the Football League and his arrival was met by much excitement from the fans.
We caught up with Zola after training last week and he explained his frustrations at not being able to get out on the pitch.
“Obviously it’s not been a very good start. It’s not what I dreamt of when I first came here but I’m trying to get fit as quickly as possible. It’s not easy at the moment but I’m sure there are better times ahead and hopefully that’ll be soon.
“All I’m thinking about at the moment is getting my head down, working as hard as possible and trying to get out on the pitch. That’s my main priority.
“I’ve got complete faith in Paul, who’s been doing an unbelievable job with myself and the other injured players and I’m sure it’ll be pretty soon.”
After a difficult season last year, Zola arrived at Stevenage determined to get back to doing what he does best; scoring goals and playing games. Although it’s not happened to him yet, the season is long and there’s still plenty of football to be played.
“I came here from Aberdeen last season where my chances were limited, although I was fit all season. For one reason or another which was out of my hands, I didn’t get to play as much as I want.
“Me, as a player, I’ve always believed working hard pays off but I thought to myself, ‘Why should I stay and just sit on the bench? I’m not just here to pick up the money’. My only interest is to play football so it wasn’t good enough for me.
“So I spoke to the gaffer and his ideas really spoke to me, I thought this is the place to be and coming here I really wanted to show what I was capable of. Obviously it’s been frustrating as I haven’t had any game time but it’s a difficult situation and I really do care about this football club.
“Watching the game from the stands you can not only watch the game but you can also watch the people’s reactions, and I must say the fan base at Stevenage is amazing the way they get behind the players.
“To me that means a lot. As a player, I came here to do a great job for the team and to make the fans happy. It’s really frustrating for me as I haven’t had the chance to that. Of course I know others will be the same and will ask questions but there’s not much more I can do and I’m sure that the faith that the gaffer, coaching staff and everyone at the football club has shown in me will be repaid.
“I think this is the perfect place for me because if you see the work that the gaffer and coaching staff put in, if I’m being honest I’ve been in football for over 12 years and I’ve never seen anything like it. Everything is there to be successful.”
Zola had plenty of praise for gaffer, Graham Westley who’s been supportive throughout this tough time.
“Sometimes when you’re in a bad place you need somebody to see something differently. He’s a unique manager and even during the bad times, he’s got the right message and he knows how to support you."
So has Calvin Zola got a point to prove? You bet.
“Yes, I came here to prove a point and I’ve now got even more of a point to prove. I’m absolutely determined to come back fitter, stronger and better for the most important part of the season where it really does matter.”