Thursday, October 28, 2021

Below average foreign players stifle standard of local football – agents

The influx of foreign football players into local teams, more especially in the Premier League, has got some local football agents worried.

As local football’s growth continues on an upward trajectory, local intermediaries are now wary that some foreign agents, with an eye on making a quick buck, are bringing some below average foreigners into the country.

This comes as pundits have started questioning the credibility of some foreign players, who they believe are enjoying game time ahead of local youngsters despite performing below par. 

Where previously foreigners who came added value to the game, pundits are of the view that some of the recent signings in the local arena are not better than what the locals can offer.

According to them, this importation of less talented foreign players only denies local talent a platform to showcase skills in the elite league, something which they believe might impede growth of local football.

“In most instances it is organisations or teams that bring some of these players and at times out of desperation some agents will bring in below par players for a quick buck. In this case most of these foreign players have been trained to pass trials only to find out after registering that they are not fit enough to make the squad,” opined Botswana’s first agent, Comfort Ramatebele.

Ramatebele pointed out that this ignorance by the local football fraternity will turn out to be the downfall of local football in the near future. 

“It is not particularly anyone’s fault, but there is a lot of ignorance by all those involved in the game. There is just lack of cohesion between players, football administrators and agents which is very critical and if not addressed will bury our football,” Ramatebele told Telegraph Sports.

Ramatebele was also quick to say young talented players will be left out at the stands if the trend does not change and this would not help the local game. 

“As long as there is a gulf between players and managers/agents, the lack of trust by teams on agents, substantiated by ignorance on the virtues of player management and opportunities such as brand ambassadors, early training for future roles in football, they will continue to be in our midst. It should be understood that I am not against foreign players, there are a lot who have added value in the local scene but some of the recent signings are outrageous,” said Ramatebele.

Another football agent, Monty Gagomokgwa, lamented that most clubs rely on foreign agents despite locals’ proven track record of bringing quality players to the league. 

“Most clubs trust foreign agents and therefore fall into the trap of bringing such players. We have proven to be good in terms of recruiting good talent and some teams are very impressed by our efforts,” Gagomokgwa said.

Gagomokgwa added since being accredited as a licensed agent ‘’I have brought more than five quality foreign players and most have performed better than those brought to the league by foreign agents and coaches, so this should be an eye opener that we are here to assist in the growth of local football by identifying players suitable for our league”. 

The local agent also pointed that lack of good working relationship between the clubs and local agents also contributed to the problem.

“At times, clubs will approach you to help them find a player, only for them to renege and register players recommended by supporters and coaches,” he explained.

Gagomokgwa revealed that some clubs fall for below average players due to lack of resources. 

“Quality players do not come cheap that is why some clubs settle for less and the fact is that if you don’t pay then you are bound to get poor quality,” he concluded. 

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper