There has been a raging debate ever since current FA Chief Andrew Kamanga was quoted saying that effective next season, the Zambian Super League will introduce foreign player policy or quotas. A number of prominent managers in the league have also been quoted voicing their opinions on the said pronouncement from the FA. Even a prominent player in the league has also been on record of voicing his opinion on the policy.
The question still stands does Zambia need the foreign player policy or quota? Well, answering this question requires an understanding of the policy and why it is being tutored for adoption in the league.
Foreign quota players is a term in sports referring to the limit of foreign players on a domestic team. This means that teams are only allowed to register a certain number of foreign players on their team. The league organizers are charged with the responsibility of setting a limit of foreign players in the league for each team. This has mainly been necessitated by the teams neglecting or overlooking local talent.
The sole aim of introducing this policy in countries that have it is to promote local talent. Apart from that, the aim is also to attract the best foreign talent to the local league in order to increase the competitiveness of the players in the teams and the league at large.
It must be pointed out that it is a dicey policy to implement when it is rush and not carefully thought through. It is also a good policy once it is effectively implemented. In most leagues around the world, the introduction of the Foreign Players Quota has come with it another policy which is implemented sided by side with the foreign player’s policy and this is the Homegrown Players Rule.
The Homegrown Players Rule is an initiative to allow for more domestic players to be developed from an earlier age in the hope of nurturing more homegrown talent. The implementation of this rule requires that the country has well-organized academies from which the nurturing of homegrown talent begins. This now means as well that each team in the Super League needs to have a running academy from which the team will pick its homegrown talent and promote it to the first team.
It is this rule that helps to qualify the foreign player’s policy. This is because it states clearly what it means to be homegrown talent. The homegrown rule doesn’t state the nationality but clearly puts out that any talent from any nationality provided they have been in a local academy for a period of not less than 3 years.
The league organisers have a serious task of making the clubs understand the importance of the foreign player’s policy and clearly defining the terms of the policy. The league organisers need to categorize how the registration of players should be for teams by stating the number of slots for homegrown talent on the team and the number of slots for foreign players.
They also need to state how many foreign players are allowed on each team on the match-day and how many homegrown players are allowed on each team on the match-day. The league organisers can even go beyond by segmenting the foreign player’s policy into different regions of the continent in order to widen the pool for talent search by the clubs.
The foreign player’s policy has much to do with the taxation policy of the government. In some countries, in order to promote homegrown talent, players classified as foreign players upon registration are taxed differently from the homegrown players. Usually, the homegrown players enjoy a lower tax band as compared to their foreign counterparts.
The foreign player’s policy needs a lot of education before it is implemented. Football stakeholders need to come to an understanding of why the policy should be implemented in the Zambian Super League.