By Neto Baptiste
Support for the instituting of a cap on the number of imported players any one team should be allowed to featuring during domestic football matches continues to mount with former national player and coach, Veron Edwards Sr being the latest to add his voice to the debate.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Edwards condemned the practice, adding it is stifling the growth and development of young players.
“With all due respect to my friend and the president of the football association [Everton Gonsalves], it is something he needs to address. I know I heard him saying that this is the clubs’ call, but I think that in the interest of football in this country that he needs to address that. Any team that can bring in nine and 10 and 12 players, that means the football has actually gone professional and this is how I see it, and if the football has gone professional then we have to start to function like professionals. It is just unfortunate that if the football association, today or tomorrow, says they are going to restart the league, these teams with the 14 and [more] players will find them and bring them back,” he said.
One club, competing in the 2019/20 Premier Division competition, had imported in excess of 11 players while other had brought in amounts totaling more than 50 percent of their starting squads.
Edwards, who was coach of a successful Empire outfit between 1997 and 2001, said he struggled to understand the rationale behind the practice, concluding that those in charge may not want to put in the work required to develop players within the communities.
“I don’t see what could be feasible about winning a trophy for $15,000, and somebody says that they spend $100,000. I just can’t fathom that, how that works, how a club can function that way. Whether the club has a serious club structure, whether they have good grounds, anything that really makes any sense to function as a professional but to just bring in 14 or 15 players,” he said.
“I think in the end that some of us, maybe coaches just don’t want to do the work. I see nothing wrong in bringing in three or four players but there is no way a team can bring in nine players and if you want to bring in nine then put four or three on the field at any given time,” he added.
The 2019/20 domestic season sits in limbo after government had shut down all competition in March as part of the country’s efforts in the fight against the coronavirus.