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THE Immigration Department will only issue work permits to foreign players with clearance of the Football Association Zambia (FAZ), Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo has disclosed.

Kampyongo has warned that clubs found to have sneaked in players illegally will face the wrath of the law.

He was reacting to the appeal made by Minister of Sports Moses Mawere that the Immigration department must carefully scrutinise all sports persons that are being engaged to work in Zambia, as a way of safeguarding employment opportunities for local players.

Kampyongo said his office has had discussion with FAZ over the issue of regulating the influx of foreign players in the Zambian league.

He said his ministry had advised FAZ to consider putting a quota on the number of foreign players on how a team can register for easy regulation. “We have had a discussion with FAZ and even suggested to them that they put some policy to regulate the influx of foreign players. And I am happy FAZ is in contact with their respect the clubs over the issue. But I wish to make it clear, that clubs should follow the right procedure when bringing in these foreign players.  I understand very well the proximity between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Copperbelt, where some players can change a name to a Musonda simply because they can speak Bemba and my officers are alert.   The Immigration Department will only issue work permits to players that have clearance from FAZ,” he said.

He expressed disappointment that some clubs were bringing players that cannot perform at the expense of local talent. He said football was a lucrative industry and Zambia had immense local talent to compete at these clubs.

“As things are, we are developing other nation’s talent and should expect the national teams to perform.

We will end up like England, a nation that has struggled to win the World Cup in recent years despite having the most competitive league,” he said.

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