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KPL enforces cap on foreign players

The Kenya Premier League (KPL) secretariat has enforced its revised rule that now allows  clubs  in the competition to only register up to five foreigners.

KPL has always allowed five foreign players to feature for each club in the SportPesa Premier League, but had last season relaxed the rule to allow teams featuring in continental assignments to register up to seven foreigners.

KPL chief executive Jack Oguda confirmed the new development to Nairobi News stating; “This rule applies to all the Premier League clubs and not just those taking part in continental assignments. Each team will be allowed to sign five foreigners who will be eligible for fielding in any given match.”

HEATED DEBATE

The development comes in the wake of a heated debate among football stakeholders, including coaches and fans, on the influence of foreigners in the local top flight football competition.

Mathare United tactician Francis Kimanzi has in the past expressed his reservations with the increasing influx of foreign players – mostly from neighboring Uganda – in Kenyan football.

“In my own estimation, up to seventy percent of foreign players in Kenya shouldn’t be playing in the KPL because they have nothing outstanding in them,” Kimanzi said.

Another coach, Ushuru’s Ken Kenyatta, has said he will be offering more play time to local talents.

NURTURE TALENT

“I only have four foreigners at the moment but still plan to reduce that number. We all need to use the Kenyan Premier League to primarily nurture local talent for our national team,” said the ex- Harambee Stars goalkeeper.

Ugandan footballers are consistently seeking “greener pastures” in Kenya for several reasons including better pay and exposure, thanks to a broadcast deal between KPL and South African based Pay TV Channel Supersport.

The benefits are there for all to see, with Gor Mahia’s Khalid Aucho and Godfrey Walusimbi featuring prominently for Uganda Cranes successful run in the World Cup and Africa Nations Cup qualifiers last year.

Harambee Stars meanwhile have performed poorly in these competitions.

Another Ugandan, Goeffrey “Baba” Kizito formerly at Gor Mahia is reported to be heading to Spain on trial at Getafe, a top flight football club.