By Neto Baptiste
Former player and a founder of the Sap football team, Malcolm “I-Cup” Challenger, believes clubs should take responsibility and enforce a cap on the number of players they import during the domestic football programme.
Challenger, who has been part of Sap’s management for over 40 years, made the remark when asked if he was in favour of the football association placing a cap on the amount of players that any one club is allowed to import.
“It is left up to the teams and maybe what they could afford or manage but I know that Sap could not have managed no more than two or three at any given time so the most we have ever brought in was three and in Sap, we look on not just bringing in players but we look at where the weaknesses are to bring the players to fit it and not just bring in seven players and have players in the community who can do the job in certain positions,” he said.
Despite his reluctance to advocate for a national cap, Challenger was quick to admit that the mass importation of players by some teams has not served to improve the standard of play.
“I don’t think it really improves the standard of play. What it does is that a player you have in your community who, maybe, can help you to push forward, because you’re bringing in players, you actually tend to just leave them regardless of how good you think they are, to play the [imported] players because you are actually paying them and you want to let them play,” he said.
“What happens then is that the players from the community start to move away, and if it continues for too long, you would find yourself having no players from your community who want to play for you because they are not getting any play,” he added.
In 2015, Challenger was awarded The Most Illustrious Order of Princely Heritage for his contributions to sports and community development.
Sap won the Premier Division title in 1988/89, 2005/06, 2008/9 and in 2013/14.