Were and foreign teammates unsure of future as Zesco United introduce new rule

The board approved the implementation of the regulation which will see the club reduce their dependency on talent from outside the country

Zesco United have moved to employ a foreign quota rule that will see a drastic reduction of foreign players at the Zambian Super League giants.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Richard Mulenga has confirmed the club will now have five slots given to the foreign players at the end of 2021.

“I wish to inform our strategic stakeholders, especially Zesco United fans that we are mandated by the Zesco United Football Club board to reduce the number of foreign players to five by the end of 2021,” Mulenga said.

“This process has already started as part of preparations for us to reach this target.”

Burundian international Enock Sabumukama has already left the club as Mulenga stated the business in the last transfer window was done with the new rule in mind.

“The club has put in place strategic measures to ensure that this process is executed smoothly,” the official added.

“For example, Kelvin Kampamba was strategically brought in to ensure that there is cover in midfield in case one of our midfielders left the club at the end of this year. Bruce Musakanya is another creative midfielder that the club recently signed to provide similar cover.”

The administrator also acknowledged the roles that have been played at the club by foreign talents. Zesco United have been a dominant side in Zambia in the last decade as they also qualified for Caf competitions in eight seasons.

“It is worth acknowledging that foreign players have had a positive impact on this club. They have contributed immeasurably to the growth and success of the club,” added Mulenga.

“However, it is also crucial for us to look at the cost of doing business in this current environment. Furthermore, there are strategic policies that the Football Association of Zambia is currently looking at. One of these is the introduction of foreign player quotas. As a club, we don’t want to be caught off-guard when these things are finally implemented.

“It remains our mission to bring the best players to Zesco. This change in policy will also give our home-grown players an opportunity to play for the biggest club in the land and a rare platform to shine at both local and international level.

“This is evident through the promotion of three home-grown players who have graduated from the Zesco United youth team to the senior side and currently playing first-team football.”

Kenyans at the club enjoy the giant share of the slots given to foreigners; Ian Otieno, David Owino, Jesse Were and John Makwatta are the Harambee Stars at the Ndola club.

Among the four, only Owino has been enjoying fewer minutes from last season.

Dieudone Ntibahezwa of Burundi, DR Congo’s Marcel Kalonda, and Thabani Kamusoko of Zimbabwe are the other foreigners at Ziko Team.