Rangers star Fashion Sakala has been ruled out of an upcoming World Cup Qualifier due to not being fully vaccinated, according to Football Association of Zambia general secretary Adrian Kashala.
Sakala made his senior international debut back in 2017 but hasn’t represented his country in some time.
He was excused from international duty just prior to joining the Gers in the summer and then missed a pair of World Cup Qualifiers in September due to injury.
He took to Twitter earlier this week to express his delight at being called up for a double-header against Equatorial Guinea.
GOD BLESS 🙏🏿
I’m very proud and happy to be called for national team and it’s one of my biggest dreams to represent my country 🇿🇲
I really appreciate your support and I’m very confident of the future 🙏🏿❤️
LET’S GO CHIPOLOPOLO BOYS🔫
FS10 DREAMS DON’T DIE 💪🏿👊🏿
Read: Exodus 12:2🙏🏿 pic.twitter.com/SI6HZoKkQ3
— fashion sakala jnr (@fashionjr10) October 5, 2021
However, it has now emerged that he’s only set to play the first of the matches in Equatorial Guinea’s capital, Malabo, on Thursday.
The 24-year-old can’t play in the second fixture in Zambia on Sunday as the southern African nation is on the UK’s red list and he isn’t fully vaccinated.
“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,” said Kashala [Africanfootball.com]. “Regrettably, our two [UK-based] players (Patson Daka of Leicester City and Sakala) are not fully vaccinated and cannot travel to Zambia for Sunday’s match.”
It’s a blow for Zambia, although they will still fancy their chances of securing the full six points against an Equatorial Guinea side ranked 46 places below them in the FIFA World Rankings.
The news is something of a boost for Rangers, though.
Sakala will be able to return to Auchenhowie early and fatigue should be less of a factor after less travelling and playing time.