We haven’t touched too much on Fashion Sakala lately – after that incredible two goals one assist performance at Hibs, the Zambian’s form has been a little more patchy, drawing a blank v Raith and then having, aside a miracle genius goal v Motherwell, a rough time at Fir Park as well.
But there’s no question this guy is a complete enigma, and his stats for his nation are not actually that great – 6 goals, including a recent one on this break v Lesotho, but in 19 caps with 3 assists, is alright but not sensational, while we look at his domestic numbers this campaign and they’re almost the same.
7 goals in 31, but 8 assists – the notion he’s a different player since Michael Beale took charge seems false, but then the details confirm the evolution:
Prior to Beale, one goal one assist all season, then it’s 6 goals 7 assists in 17 which is clearly very good.
So as he scores for his country, is his domestic form seeing a real change?
See, Sakala isn’t really a new player, it’s more that, like with Ryan Kent, Michael Beale is playing him a free centralised winger position, a position which gets him much more in the box, behind Morelos or Colak, and more into the heart of the attacking play.
It doesn’t always work because the boy is hot and cold – he’s not so much a better player now, it’s just that Beale is playing him to his strengths and we’re seeing a bit less of the dumb runs, the stupid offsides and the overall bad play.
But he’s still self-centred. Fashion Sakala would sooner take a stupid wild shot than square it for an open player. He wants the glory for himself, and we rarely to never hear him talk about his team mates or his team.
He talks about himself. He wants to be praised, loved and admired, and he wants to score goals.
So while Beale is polishing a bit of the rough gem, he won’t be able to shelve all of the negative stuff.
In terms of contribution, it’s hard to really fault Sakala’s product – aside those offsides, bad runs and wild shots, his input has clearly gone up – he’s been one of the most improved players statistically under Beale, but the flip side is he’s as wildly capable of absolute dross as he is of brilliance.
He’s either a waste of a shirt or scores a sensational brace or even more – there’s little middle ground with the Zambian.
We think that right now is the best form he’ll produce in his life – a good solid stats run, some goals for his country and that’s about that.
There’s probably not much more to get from him which is no bad thing we suppose.
But as things stand he’s a mainstay in the team and he will continue to be so. As much due to the fact there’s no alternative on the right bar Scott Wright as anything else.
But anyone thinking Sakala is a ‘work in progress’ is probably wrong – the work is done and the great and the garbage is going to continue from him as it has done in the past few months.
Thankfully Beale has managed to reduce the latter a fair wee bit.