The importance of Chester Football Club to it’s supporters was laid bare to debutant Offrande Zanzala on Saturday.
The 20-year-old forward only signed on-loan for Marcus Bignot’s side on the morning of Saturday’s FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie at Kidderminster Harriers, coming on as a second-half substitute in the Blues’ disappointing 2-0 defeat but showing some nice touches and strength to shrug off the hosts’ defenders during his 30-minute cameo.
Having progressed through the youth academy at Derby County since 2008, Zanzala is used to playing Under 23s football at empty stadiums, and the trip to Aggborough, in which the travelling Blues supporters made their feelings known at full-time, was a sign of how different playing National League football is going to be for the youngster.
“It’s totally different,” explained Zanzala, who was born in Congo but emigrated to the UK in 1999 as a result of the Civil War in his home country.
“Coming here and playing National League is very different to under 23s football.
“It’s always good, it’s a change of environment, a change of team, style of play, it’s different because playing for the under-23s at Derby, it is important but coming here at Chester, it means a lot, the three points and the fans behind you, you need that in your career so it’s good to come here for the experience.
“In the under 23s you have a lot of young players coming through with a lot to learn and they are still finding their feet. You’re building technically, tactically and physically every day. But coming here you are playing against men and the football is different. It’s quicker, the game means more. The fans are going to get behind you whether that’s good or bad.
“It is that importance of knowing how much the football means to the fans, the manager and the players around you and I’m loving it.”
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