FOOTBALL stakeholders in the country have echoed mixed feelings in their reaction to the government order that a team will be allowed to feature only five foreign players in a single match.
The order was announced by the Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports Harrison Mwakyembe during the recently held fundraising occasion for Young Africans in Dar es Salaam.
Mwakyembe said the new strategy will help to give chance to domestic players to showcase their potential on the pitch which previously was not the case as they were heavily outnumbered by foreign players hence most of the domestic players had limited playing time.
"Let me emphasize here that even if a team will have capacity to sign 100 foreign players, only five of them will be allowed to play in one match and not otherwise.
We need to protect and develop our talents," Mwakyembe stressed.
Moreover, Mwakyembe said effective next season, no team without a strong junior side will be permitted to trade in the league as one way to develop football from the foundation level.
Immediately after the declaration, pundits reacted in different ways with many of them saying the decision is harsh since the presence of foreign players make the league strong and cannot affect the national team performance.
"Our league has approximately 600 players drawn from different clubs and the number of foreign players is almost 30.
Mathematically, through deduction, we remain with 570 home players which is still the big number of domestic players who can add value to the national team," said Anuari Mkama, a sports analyst and lecturer at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC).
He added: "But, in reality, we have three clubs which are capable to sign and accommodate professional players (Simba, Young Africans and Azam) meaning that some clubs have no access to such foreign players because of financial constraints."
Furthermore, Mkama said the issue of putting much focus on youth football development is the only main guarantee which can help a lot to create a competitive national team since many skillful players can be generated from there.
However, another contributor Ackley Mkumbata, a radio sports presenter said minimizing the number of foreign players will have a positive impact towards growth of football in the country.
"It is true that when more foreign players are allowed to play in one match, they take over positions which could have easily been filled by Tanzanians and this practice make them (imported players) more visible by big teams outside the country," he said.