Fashion Sakala left Africa to pursue his dream of becoming a professional footballer and is determined to continue inspiring youngsters in his homeland of what can be achieved given dedication and hard work.
The Zambian striker scored his first competitive goal for Rangers during a 1-1 draw against Motherwell on Sunday, despite manager Steven Gerrard stating afterwards “We haven’t got a leading goal scorer jumping out or a leading assister.”
The 24-year-old is one of several attacking players at Ibrox that have been challenged to find their ruthless streak in front of goal with the Gers struggling to hit the heights of last season so far this term.
Sakala knows all about the expectation levels of playing for Rangers but has proved in the past that he is more than capable of dealing with a bit of pressure.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s Premier Sports Cup quarter-final clash against Livingston, he said: “It’s all about the dedication, discipline and commitment to the work.
“Looking at my journey to reach here, I think I have gone through a lot, but I have always tried to stay positive and to keep working hard.
“It has been a tough journey, but at the same time I’m very proud of it. I still have the belief that there is more to come. I just have to keep on working hard and continue being positive.
“Looking at where I have come from, people didn’t think a footballer would come from there. I’ve made it to reach this level which I believe I’m still going.
“Being a role model in my country is something that helps me to keep going. It gives me belief and keeps me committed to the work, so that I continue inspiring a lot of people from my country.
“That gives me more courage and confidence to work extra hard and be that role model for a long time.
“It’s a very big responsibility and I think it’s helping me because if I didn’t consider it as a responsibility, maybe I would’ve been acting badly or not committing myself to the work or being positive.
“That responsibility I’m carrying on my shoulders makes me stay on positive course.
“It was a good feeling to score my first goal. Unfortunately we drew the game which at Ibrox feels like a defeat for us.
“Before I made the decision to sign for Rangers, I followed their progress, and I knew coming to this club you are expected to win so it is a good pressure to have.
“I know the fans were disappointed on Sunday but as a striker I know my mission and that is to help the help the team by scoring goals. I think I have a lot to offer to the club.
“All the strikers are working together to make sure we deliver. We know what we want to achieve and we’re always working hard in training to give the team results.”
The summer arrival from Belgian club KV Oostende has coped with adversity in the past after swapping the African sunshine for sub-zero temperatures in Russia.
The former Spartak Moscow player admitted: “When I went to Russia, it was very difficult to adapt.
“The weather was different because in Zambia it is always hot, but in Russia it was minus 20 degrees.
“It was a very big culture change going from 40 degrees to minus 20, but at the same time I tried to be positive.
“We had three players from Africa there and they complained about the weather but I worked hard then made the move to Belgium which was a very good step.
“I felt it was the right time for me to go to Russia because maybe if I came to Scotland directly, I would have been complaining about the weather here as well.
“But I’ve played in Russia so coming here is actually a bit easy compared to that!”