Player focus: Wilfred zaha standing tall against racism

Zaha was born in Abidjan, ivory coast, Wilfred zaha moved with his parents and eight siblings to London when he was four. He grew up down the road from selhursr park stadium, home of crystal palace. He joined palaces academy at age 12.

At 18, he made his senior debut for palace and quickly became a crucial player. This earned him move to Manchester United in 2013, becoming sir Alex Ferguson’s last signing.

But a year later, after his United stint did not go as expected, he was back his boyhood club ready to cement himself as a palace legend.

Zaha represented England at youth level , and in 2012, he was called up to the senior team.

After playing only 2 friendlies with England , he decided to represent the ivory coast national team.

Wilfred zaha in 2019:
I’m proud because my country’s known for players such as Yaya toure, kolo toure, Didier drogba.
For me, personally I feel like I made the right decision (I’m choosing ivory coast). Because I am trying to leave a legacy for my country.

Since his first wage payment, zaha has given back 10% of his salary to charitable causes. He helps to fund an orphanage run by his sister and created the zaha Foundation,which aims to help, encourage and built on the development of areas and communities in the ivory coast.

Wilfred zaha in 2019:
I am just a normal guy who’s managed to make it from nothing , managed to become a footballer ,realize my dream and help back home.

He has also led the way in revealing how much abuse black athletes face online. In 2020 , he shared screenshots of racial abuse he had received on social media, which he was later shocked to find out came from a 12 year old boy. The boy was arrested and police found he also abused other black athletes. Zaha told CNN he believes social media platforms “have to be held accountable”.

Zaha has continued to stand up against injustice. In march 2021, he became the first premier league player to stop taking the knee, believe that the action in itself is no longer sufficient given continued racist abuse and said he instead prefers ” to stand tall against racism”..

Wilfred zaha:
“As a society, I feel we should be encouraging better education in schools and social media companies should be taking stronger action against people who abuse online not just footballers.

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