Super League of Malawi (Sulom) has introduced players’ foreign quota for TNM Super League clubs.
The top-flight league runners general secretary (GS) Williams Banda said the maximum number of foreign players that a team can register is five and a maximum of three will be allowed to feature in a match.
He also said foreign players will also be required to have a work permit.
The development follows an increase in the number of foreign players in the Super League.
Last season, there were four foreign players in the league.Silver Strikers had Yunis Sherif and Mike Tetteh while Masters Security had Eric Atsiga and Babatunde Adepoju, who has since joined Be Forward Wanderers.
But the number is set to increase as Masters Security has signed two more to take their tally to three.
Commenting on the issue of work permit, Banda said: “It is in our regulations. It’s just a reminder that teams need to adhere to.”
Sulom has also said local players would be required to use national identification cards (IDs) to get registered.
“For local players they need to use national IDs because it has sophisticated security features and some players do not have passports.
“This will also help us to check on issues of age-cheating as it is believed that the the national ID has correct dates of birth,” he said.
Sulom president Tiya Somba Banda added that the influx of foreign players should be controlled in the interest of up-and-coming local players.
“It is pleasing to note though, that our league has started attracting players from other countries, which just shows the progress we are making in the bid to turn professional,” he said.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) licensing and compliance manager Casper Jangale said they clear foreign players using International Transfer Certificate (ITC).
“Sulom’s move, is therefore, a welcome development. Compliance of national laws is a must,” he said.
However, Be Forward Wanderers general secretary Mike Butao said it is not clear on the reason for enforcing the rule work permit rule.
“There are lots of foreign players in the country playing without work permits. But I do not know what exactly Sulom are trying to achieve,” he said.
Butao also said said there is no enforcement to regulate the coming in of foreign players in the country.
“If the idea is to protect local talent, what other countries do is set criteria for a foreign footballer to get a permit,” Butao said.
Former FAM acting general secretary George Kaudza Masina applauded Sulom for the move, saying it is a requirement worldwide for foreign players to secure work permit to be eligible to play.
“When foreign players join a local club it means that they have been employed by that club. As such work permit is a must in any job when you are engaging a foreigner.
“I don’t think our local clubs have been serious with securing permits for their players,” he said.
Immigration Department spokesperson Joseph Chauwa also said clubs, just like other firms employing foreign labour force, are mandated to secure work permits for players.
“It’s a requirement that any foreign players should have a valid work permit and we always emphasise on that.
“If we are made aware that some foreign players do not have work permit we arrest them just like any other illegal immigrant,” he said.