As expected Fashion Sakala’s name was the ‘replacement’ for Alfredo Morelos as Rangers hosted Livi at Ibrox yesterday, and following his brilliant start to life in Govan against Real, we looked forward to his energy, running, and vigour.
Sadly, what we got was a lost lamb, who got just 16 touches of the ball (lower than any starter on the pitch) and whose off-ball movement was a million miles away from what we need from a Rangers striker. Indeed, he didn’t feature in the club’s official match gallery even once.
Gary Lineker once said, as a striker, he was never concerned about missing chances, because at least he was getting the shots in, but if he wasn’t even getting the ball never mind the shots then he was a tonne more worried because it questioned his movement.
Sakala had absolutely appalling movement and simply did not work the space, channels or defenders in the slightest.
From the highest of his magnificent debut in the jersey, to the low of this truly painful competitive equivalent, Sakala has a tonne to learn about how the SPL works if he’s to be a success for this club.
Now, let’s not be harsh – we all remember how slow and out of it Alfredo was at the start as well. He really struggled against Progres Niederkorn, looking slow and ponderous, and wondering where he was. But he did start life in the domestic league strongly, scoring 6 in his opening 6 matches.
So Sakala has (some) time to figure out when to make his runs and when not to.
It’s true that of course Livi sat in and compressed the space, but that’s not an excuse – that’s how they play and we have to adapt ourselves to counter it.
Sakala did not adjust to this one at all and 5 good passes and 4 offsides summed up his disappointing afternoon. It was no surprise he got hooked with Kemar Roofe taking his place.
One of the most common retorts we heard at full time was the regaling of Alfredo Morelos’ qualities, and it’s absolutely true he causes fear in the hearts of all SPL defences.
Sakala could get there too, but yesterday was a brutal introduction to his new career.