Sakala sets sights on senior Zambia call-up

Fashion Sakala
Fashion Sakala (right) competes for the ball in the game against Italy on Monday

Fashion Sakala has set his sights on promotion to the senior national team following Zambia's elimination from the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in South Korea.

The African champions are back home after their 3-2 quarter-final defeat to Italy in Suwon on Monday.

Despite the Junior Chipolopolo's elimination, hopes are high that Sakala will kick on and justify all the hype around him.

"I know they [Zambians] expected us to win the trophy but I'm not going to get frustrated or discouraged by this," Sakala told the BBC.

"I just have to stay focused and make the future beautiful. I know I can do well if I believe in myself.

"I think there will be lots of games for me to prove what I can contribute in football."

While football fans generally tend to hyperbolise, the excitement around Sakala is not without foundation.

Technically gifted and comfortable in possession, he scored four goals in the five matches that Zambia played in South Korea.

He was on target against Portugal, Iran, Germany and Italy.

Zambians are now hoping that the 20-year-old can develop into the kind of potent forward their national team can rely upon for years to come.

Sakala is yet to make his senior Chipolopolo debut but the fact that he has already sampled life in the first team at Spartak Moscow points to a promising future.

He made the big move to Russia's top flight from Zambian Super Division side Zanaco after helping his country win the African U-20 title early this year.

Possessing a fine first touch, bags of skill and an accurate finish, Sakala can play anywhere along the frontline but prefers the No.10 role.

"There are a lot of games for me; there are games for the senior national team ahead," he said with an eye on Zambia's upcoming 2019 Africa Cup of Nations campaign.

Having proved that he is a lethal finisher, it seems a matter of time before he breaks into the senior national first team.

With Zambia looking to put the disappointment of missing out on the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations behind them, the emergence of the exciting 19-year-old forward is most convenient.

With a name like Fashion, expectations that he will turn the art of scoring into a show are perhaps inevitable.

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