The increased number of players flocking into the country to try their luck with top-flight league teams has prompted FAM to ponder the possibility of introducing foreign quota.
Currently, 13 players from Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania are undergoing trials at ambitious Lilongwe-based TNM Super League outfit Masters Security while three others from Cameroon, Nigeria and Zimbabwe were also on trials at Silver Strikers last week.
Last season, there were four foreigners in the league with the Central Bankers and Masters Security each having two in their fold. Silver had Nigerian defender Yunis Sherrif and Ghanaian Mike Tetteh while Masters had Babatunde Adeboye and Eric Atsiga from Nigeria and Ghana, respectively.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) compliance and licensing manager Casper Jangale yesterday said if the number of foreign players continues to grow, they will consider introducing a foreign quota.
“For now, a team can register as many players as possible because there is still no rule on foreign quota, but that could be a possibility if we continue to attract foreign players,” he said.
Masters owner and chairperson Alfred Gangata said the foreign players are on trials just like any other player.
“Some were brought by their agents while others came on their own. Those that will impress will be offered deals,” he said.
Gangata said the fact that they were able to rope in a player of Babatunde’s calibre is enough testimony that they have the capacity.
However, Masters coach Abbas Makawa said they will only offer deals to four players that will be exceptional.
“We cannot sign all the 13 players just because they are foreigners. There are some factors such as quality, discipline and fitness.
“And we will not sign players that are less better than our crop. Priority will be our own players,” he said.
Silver team manager S’busiso Padambo said they had three foreign trialists, but said none will be offered a deal.
“We had three last week and two of them [a Zimbabwean and a Cameroonian] have been sent back because they could not make the grade and even the remaining Nigerian is not any better than the crop we have,” he said.
On whether they follow up on the players track records before inviting them for trials, Padambo said: “It is not like we make arrangements for their trials. They just come to try their luck like any other trialists. Following up on their track record is supposed to be the second stage.”
A football analyst George Kaudza Masina doubted the quality of players who are flocking into the country.
“It is either they are rejects in their countries or there is something they are up to and just want to use football, otherwise West African leagues are more lucrative and established than ours which offer ‘chicken change’.
“I would advise Malawian teams not to be carried away by these foreign players. They should not block promising local talent because of the foreign players, most of which are below average with an exception of the likes of Babatunde of course,” he said. n