PSL: Africa’s United Nations on the field

2011-09-24 18:18

Foreign players have contributed immensely to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) being rated among the top 10 leagues in the world.

More than 15 different African countries are represented in the PSL, according to the latest player registration list.

Top players from the continent who have previously graced these shores include Malawians Ernest “Wire” Chirwali and Lovemore “Rambo” Chafunya, Swaziland’s Absalom “Scara” Thindwa and Roger Feutmba from Cameroon. These stars of yesteryear helped to enhance the standard of local football during the years of football isolation.

The PSL has also been a launching pad for the careers of many foreign players, with the likes of Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel (Nigeria) and Enoh Eyong (Cameroon) of Ajax Amsterdam both having started at Ajax Cape Town.

Do foreign players still add value to the league?

Free State Stars’ coach Steve Komphela and his Platinum Stars’ counterpart, Owen Da Gama, believe the league’s profile gets beefed up if valuable players are brought?in. They agree that any league needs foreign players to raise its status.

However, Komphela and Da Gama also argue that it should not just be any player but high quality imports who should be brought here.

“It must be a top player who will add value or else he will devalue the league. An import must be of a special quality,” argues Komphela.

He says systems to determine the quality of players coming into the country must be put in place in order to avoid mediocrity.

Komphela adds that the English Premier League has a good model for sifting through quality based on the number of international matches a player must have played for his country and where his country is ranked in the world.

“If you do not have mechanisms and a yardstick you are just going to settle for poor quality. Before you sign a foreign player you have to make sure he is something better than what you have and will add value to the team.”

Da Gama adds: “If you bring a quality property it is going to raise the level of the league just by virtue of coming from outside.”

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