If Fashion Sakala plays for the badge on the front of the Rangers shirt, then the fans will undoubtedly love the name on the back.
But before a football has even been kicked in the summer signing’s Ibrox career, he’s already begun stealing hearts in Glasgow.
Zambian international forward Fashion Sakala has a remarkable rags-to-riches story that will see him journey from extreme poverty in Southern Africa to the stands of Ibrox Park.
At one point the family hunter – a necessity in order to help those around him eat – a young Sakala would use dogs to help secure food for his village.
Football was always this likeable player’s passion and despite the difficulties – in his early days, Sakala even played barefoot – his family and prominently his father helped turn his dream into a reality.
Fast forward years later and the striker has made it to Rangers – a move even more poignant given the player’s first club was Zambian side Nchanga Rangers.
With a stop off at Zanaco in between, a year with Spartak Moscow would follow but his first spell in Europe would not be without major difficulties.
“During matches we sometimes received racist noises and one of my comrades responded by kicking hard balls towards those people,” said Sakala [HNB via Glasgow Times].
“Eventually my African teammates also thought that we were not getting promoted to the A-team for racist reasons, but I didn’t believe that.
“Then why had Spartak brought us from Africa? I continued to train on my own, while my colleagues watched in a chair, playing with their cell phones. Yeah, then you bash yourself.
“I wanted to be ready for another team and all of a sudden Oostende called. I couldn’t get on the plane fast enough.”
However, the spell at KV Oostende could barely have gone any better for the 24-year-old forward across a three-year stint.
Taking the first year to find his feet outside of Zambia and in Europe, Sakala steadily improved season-on-season before scoring a record 16 Pro League goals for the Belgian outfit.
Not only that, but the humble striker never forgot his roots with his wage at Oostende helping to maintain the upkeep of the village from where he comes from.
That outstanding season had clubs from all over the continent eyeing up a move for Sakala and the striker had no shortage of suitors as his contract in Belgium reached its conclusion.
However, despite reported interest from the likes of French Champions Lille and Newcastle United and West Ham in the Premier League, the forward’s heart – and Steven Gerrard’s assurance – told him to move to Rangers.
“I have the chance to choose again, I would still choose Rangers and I believe this is the perfect decision that I’ve made,” said Sakala [DJ Showstar TV].
“I had meetings with the Premier League teams. I had meetings with teams in France and in LaLiga.
“These big teams put in a lot of money in but I’m not looking for money. The money I’ll be getting for Rangers… my life will be secure.
“Playing for Rangers is better than playing for some Premier League teams. Playing for Rangers is better than playing for some teams in France.
“This is a very big team, one of the most successful in terms of trophies. They have a rich history and great fanbase.”
The humility from this man is remarkable and watch either of those video interviews above to get a flavour of what Fashion Sakala is all about.
Genuine, clear and honest, Sakala is clearly someone who appreciates transparency and this is why his gut drove him towards Steven Gerrard.
“Gerrard talked to me like a man,” explains Sakala.
“With my qualities, he said he believes I can make it to the top. At that time I felt cold but I didn’t tell him I felt cold like ‘This is coming from Gerrard’.”
Without even kicking a ball, the reaction to all these soundbites from the Ibrox faithful has been particularly telling and Rangers fans everywhere are excited to bring this character into the club.
If Fashion can get underway quickly in Scotland, and score some early goals, his potential as a fan favourite might be realised quicker than he could ever have imagined.
You never know, some might be singing Sakala’s name after only one match. After all, some already are, and he hasn’t even kicked a ball.