By Adefunmiloye Alani

6th Oct, 2021 | 7:10pm

Fashion Sakala will not travel to Zambia for World Cup qualifiers

Rangers forward Fashion Sakala will miss Sunday’s World Cup qualifiers between Equatorial Guinea and Zambia due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The 24-year-old will feature in Thursday’s first-leg in Malabo, but he will not be able to travel to his home country for the return leg as it is currently on the red list.

Sakala has not been fully vaccinated, so he does not qualify for the waiver FIFA secured with the English FA that exempts players who have travelled to red-listed countries from the mandatory 10-day quarantine upon their return to the UK.

Football Association of Zambia general secretary Adrian Kashala said (via Africanfootball.com): “FIFA has secured a conditional waiver with the English FA for players travelling to red-listed countries that they will be exempted from the 10-day mandatory quarantine on condition that they are fully vaccinated.

“Regrettably, our two players (Patson Daka and Sakala) are not fully vaccinated and cannot travel to Zambia for Sunday’s match.”

Blow

The Rangers forward missed last month’s qualifiers against Mauritania and Tunisia due to injury, and he would have loved to be involved in both games against Equatorial Guinea, but he has to be ready to quarantine upon his return to Scotland if he travels home.

Sakala has not been fully vaccinated, and he has the right to that choice.

Unfortunately, that will see him sacrifice some international games going forward, and that is not likely to do him any good.

He has struggled to hit the ground running since joining Rangers from KV Oostende on a free in the summer.

Injuries and selection decisions have limited him to just 10 games across all competitions so far, with a goal to his name.

He was not involved in action as Steven Gerrard’s side secured a 2-1 win over Hibernian at Ibrox on Saturday and will now be hoping to get on the pitch when they face Hearts after the break.

Sakala has the quality to become a key player for the Bears going forward, and he will be aiming to keep working hard and eventually force his way permanently into the starting XI.

In other Rangers news, SPFL duo are under pressure to ban Bears fans after major development.