Monday Jul 26, 2021. 14:00
Glasgow Rangers coach Steven Gerrard has described Fashion Sakala as a rough diamond and believes there is more to come from him after the Chipolopolo striker scored in Sundays’ 2-1 pre-friendly home victory over Real Madrid at Ibrox.
Sakala sparked the Scottish champions rally with the equalizer early in the second half after the Spanish giants and record 13-time European champions had taken a 1-0 halftime lead via Rodrygo’s 8th minute goal.
“There is still loads to come in terms of fitness and in terms of getting up to speed and in terms of the information we are giving him,” Gerrard told Rangers TV.
Sakala joined Rangers in early July from Belgian club KV Oostende on a four-year deal.
“But one thing that I will say is that he has come in with an incredible attitude and he has been an absolute role model to everyone where he has come from in terms of his country,” Gerrard said.
“He is coming in with energy, he has been bright, he’s been wanting to learn and picking up every bit of information, he is smiling and he is enjoying it and he is grateful to be here.
“He has been an absolute pleasure to work with in the opening weeks-ten days but there is loads more to come.
“You can see he is exciting. We still need to help him and polish the diamond but hopefully he will go on to be the player that we all expect from him.”
Sakala started for Rangers and struck in the 55th minute after a fine run from halfway inside Madrid’s own half to beat goalkeeper Andriy Lunin.
He was substituted five minutes later and his magic rubbed off on his replacement Cedric Itten who scored the winner in the 77th minute.
This was Sakala’s first start for Rangers after making his debut as a 62nd minute substitute just 24 hours earlier at the same venue in their penultimate pre-season friendly against Brighton that ended 0-0.
Rangers now switch to the serious business of defending their Scottish Premier League title on July 31 when they host Livingston.