Manager Alexander Blessin believes his KV Oostende side are a poorer team after losing star striker Fashion Sakala to Rangers over the summer, as he told Sport Voetbal Magazine.
So far, Sakala’s finest moment in a Gers shirt came in a match which, despite setting tongues wagging north of the border, ultimately counted for nothing in the end.
A 2-1 victory over 13-time European champions Real Madrid was always going to go down in Ibrox folklore, regardless of whether it took place in the Champions League or merely during a pre-season tour.
Let’s not forget, it is only a few years since Pedro Caixinha was stood knee-deep in shrubbery pleading with supporters after a humiliating defeat to the fourth-best team in Luxembourg.
Sakala’s opener, battered into the back of the net to cap a performance in which he stretched and strained Real’s defence with his relentless perpetual motion, was one way to make an impression on his new supporters.
Unfortunately for Sakala, that was about as good things have got for him in Glasgow. So far, at least.
In 12 competitive games for Steven Gerrard’s side, Sakala’s scored just once – in a 1-1 draw with Motherwell – with Kemar Roofe and Alfredo Morelos largely restricting him to cameo appearances off the bench.
It already feels unlikely that Sakala will match the tally of 16 he produced during his final season at an Oostende side who have slipped down the Jupiler League table since his summer departure.
Will Fashion Sakala come good for Rangers?
“I don’t think we are as strong as last season, we’re not where I want to be yet,” said Blessin, who nearly took over at Sheffield United before sticking around at the Versluys Arena.
“For example, we miss the speed of Fashion Sakala. So now we have to play differently and work hard. If everyone is aiming for their best level and we don’t end up in the relegation zone, we will have done a fantastic job this year.”
Sakala’s goals led Oostende to a fifth-placed finish in 2020/21. Without him, De Kustboys are tenth, albeit with a comfortable cushion between themselves and the drop zone.
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