Rangers player makes waves at home as model as TV coverage begins
In a summer transfer window that has also seen international teammates Enock Mwepu and Patson Daka move up to the English Premier League with Brighton and Leicester City respectively, Sakala is also aware of the responsibility that comes with suddenly enjoying a much more profile. raised in his native country. .
“Looking at where I’m from, I’ve been a role model for a lot of people in Zambia,” Sakala said.
“People just didn’t think a (better) football player would come from there. But I managed to reach that level, and I think I’m still going. And being a role model is something that keeps me going.
“I believe I have to stay disciplined and I have to stay engaged in the job – and work really hard – so I continue to inspire a lot of people from my area around the country.
“It gives me more courage and confidence to work very hard, to be this model for a long time in my country.
“It’s a very big responsibility and I think it helps me because if I didn’t have to see it as a responsibility then maybe I would have done wrong and I wouldn’t engage in it. hard work or that I wouldn’t be positive.
“Before coming here we didn’t have Scottish League TV coverage in Zambia. But as soon as I signed for Rangers they gave us access to the Scottish league.
“So the responsibility that I carry on my shoulders keeps me on a positive straight line, to keep moving forward and to keep working really hard. “
Sakala’s trip from the Nchanga Rangers in the copper mining region of Zambia to Glasgow’s more famous version at Govan was one of great decisions and personal sacrifice.
He left his family to move to Spartak Moscow in 2017, surviving a system shock in terms of culture and climate that saw others around him falter. Sakala’s persistence earned him a move to Ostend in Belgium where his development over three seasons persuaded the Rangers to give him a four-year contract this summer.
“It’s all about dedication, discipline and commitment to the job,” added the 24-year-old.
“Looking at my journey to get here, I went through a lot. But I always tried to stay positive and keep working hard. It has been a difficult journey.
“But at the same time, I’m very proud of it and things are bright and positive. I still believe that there is more to come in the future. I just have to keep working hard and keep being positive.
“I just believed in travel. When I went to Russia at a young age, it was very difficult to see the weather. In Zambia it is hot and in Russia at this time it was minus 20 degrees. So it was difficult for me to go from 40 degrees to minus 20.
“It was a really big culture change, but at the same time I was trying to be very positive. I went with three other players from Africa and the other players kept complaining about the weather.
“But I stayed positive and worked hard and moved to Belgium and it was a perfect step.
“Going to Moscow hardened me. I felt like it was the right time to go to Russia and maybe if I had come to Scotland directly from Zambia I would have complained about the weather too!
“But I went to Russia and coming to Scotland is a bit easy compared to that.”
Sakala scored his first goal for Rangers in their 1-1 Premiership draw with Motherwell at Ibrox on Sunday and believes he is adjusting to the demands placed on him by manager Steven Gerrard.
“I’m trying to adapt to the Rangers style,” he said. “I also try to bring what I know. With the quality of the players we have here, I can get better. It’s the process for me to learn how the Rangers play and how the coach wants me to play.
“The goal was the start of my self-confidence. It was a good feeling but unfortunately we drew. And drawing in Ibrox is like a loss for us.
“As a striker, I know my mission and the mission is always to help the team. It’s something we always do in training. All of the strikers are still working together to make sure we deliver.
“Since I arrived here, I have been very happy, very excited. Everything seems bright. I had an injury a few weeks ago. This is the only problem that frustrated me a bit. I’m back in great shape and regaining my self-confidence. I have a lot to offer the club.
Sakala is also hoping to add to his 14 caps for Zambia, having missed their World Cup qualifiers earlier this month.
“Looking at the situation now with Covid, it’s a bit difficult because Zambia is a red zone country,” he said.
“I can’t go to Zambia to play there, but we have a game in Equatorial Guinea next month and I can go because it’s a green zone.
“I have to make sure I’m performing and working hard for the Rangers. If I continue to work well here, it will be easier for me to play for the national team.
Fashion Sakala was speaking at a Premier Sports Cup event. Premier Sports is available on Sky, Virgin TV and Premier Player. Prices start from £ 12.99 per month.