Crystal Palace hero and south Londoner Wilfred Zaha talks about the importance of his local community in an exclusive film from Carling.
Wilfried Zaha appears in a film that features notable influencers from his life, past and present, from his old primary school teacher who spotted his ‘perfectionism’ from an early age, to his best friend, ‘Jordz’ who still teases him on his ‘moany’ moments on pitch, which he witnessed back when they were boys.
The Crystal Palace winger was speaking in a new film made by Carling about why he is so proud to be from South London and how his close network of family and friends, and other influences, have played a key role in his life.
Carling believes that everyone can make it where they’re from. The brand’s Made Local campaign is about championing and supporting people who are making a positive impact in their local communities – just like Carling in Burton-on-Trent and just like Wilfred Zaha in South London.
As part of the Made Local campaign, Carling has committed to a multi-million-pound investment over the next three years into its Made Local Fund – a community bursary fund designed to celebrate a generation’s ambition to make things happen in their own backyard, funding local projects that bring people together over shared passions and create opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise exist.
Talking about why staying local has had a significant impact on his career, Wilfred Zaha said: “I’m around my friends, I’m around my family and one thing that’s special to me, the main thing about being local and near home, is that I can reason with my dad after games.
“We will actually sit and go through my game, what he liked and what I liked, and what I should have done better.”
The Ivory Coast international also reveals how staying in the South London community helps him be close to his dad after he had a health scare.
“My dad had a stroke. He lived away from me, but as soon as he had a stroke it was an eye opener that I need to keep him close. He’s not as young as he was before! Now, on a Friday before games, he tends to pray with me, before the games. If I wasn’t home, I wouldn’t be able to do that, so it makes a massive difference.”
The short film offers a candid glimpse into Zaha’s everyday life as he walks us through his hometown, revealing the people and places that have helped shape him into the individual and footballer he is today, including a visit to the house he grew up in.
The 26-year-old talks about the importance of his community and staying grounded, as well as why he is proud of his Croydon roots.
“I’m proud to be from here and I’m glad that I’m still here because it’s like, I’ve reached my dream. Obviously, there’s so much I want to do in football, but I’ve managed to become a professional footballer and I’m still in the area where I made it. I’m still around my people, still around my friends, so I feel like you can do it too, you know what I mean? That’s why I’m proud to be from here.