By Neto Baptiste
As the debate over whether or not a player cap should be introduced into domestic football, one former player and coach, Micah Samuel, has added his voice to the discourse.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Samuel believes the introduction of a cap limiting the number of foreign players that any one club is allowed to import, will be a move that benefits the development of local players.
“Maybe we ought to look at one player in each position so we need a goalkeeper, we need a defender, we need a midfield player and we need a striker. So I am saying that four would be ideal in my estimation because once you start getting beyond four, then it means that you are preventing development as it relates to the youngsters who are supposed to be getting the experience,” he said.
Samuel, who currently coaches the Jennings FC, also disagrees with the suggestion that clubs should be allowed to set internal caps or decide on a limit for themselves and has called for more dialogue amongst the affected parties.
“Legislation has to come from the top, meaning the president or the secretary of the local association in relation to this cap that we are discussing. Sometimes, not because people may not agree with you initially, you have to give people the opportunity to speak, and you to listen. Maybe somebody may not be saying the same thing that you want to say, or maybe they may be saying it a different way, but if you give them the time and the common courtesy to listen to them, then you all can reach a common ground,” the former Empire and Five Islands coach said.
Samuel’s reasoning received support from another national player and coach, Schyan Jeffers. However, the former Attackers, Bassa and All Saints United player went a bit further by urging coaches to focus more on development.
“The coaches, we need to start doing the work instead of going out there [abroad] looking for players to win a championship for $25,000 we need to start to do the work and develop our players so that we can get a proper national team,” he said.
The debate over a player-cap has waged on for some time now with some clubs calling on the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) to introduce a player cap in an effort to slow the steady stream of foreign players into the league.
The practice, some believe, creates an unfair advantage for those clubs who may have deeper pockets than others with some teams importing in excess of 11 players in past.