Zola ready for '2nd career'
By Ben Blackmore
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Calvin Zola has revealed his delight at being allowed to play football once more.
Calvin Zola has more reason than most to be looking forward to the 2005/06 football season.
If an offside decision goes against him, or a shot rebounds off the inside of a post, Tranmere Rovers forward Zola may well accept his fate just a little easier than the average footballer.
For there was a time when Zola thought his footballing dream had come to end, as the striker lost his right to work in the UK.
Zola described the frustration of the situation on the club's official website: "All I ever wanted to do was concentrate on my football.
"These issues off the field did not allow me to play and looking back there were times when I thought I would never see the light, never play in England or for Tranmere again."
The 20-year-old had sought asylum in England as a youngster, but last season he found a circumstance developing that forced Zola back to Africa to apply for a visa.
"There was an official from the Congo government there to help us get through the procedures at the airport. If we had gone through the normal process, standing in line, that's where trouble could have started.
"We were taken to somewhere safe to wait but I still had a feeling of unease, not knowing what would happen.
"Then we were taken to a hotel for a day or two while we waited for the visa. It did not happen all that quickly."
Minister for Sport Richard Caborn eventually made arrangements for a swift return for Zola, and the striker could not wait to restart his life and career back at Tranmere.
"When I finally got the visa in my hands, it felt like the most important thing ever. I was so happy, but I did not celebrate until I was back in the UK and safe, and knew for certain that I had every right to be here."
Tranmere have since given Zola a two-year contract, and now both parties will hope that they can put the last six months behind them, by gaining promotion to The Championship.