Algeria's overseas stars welcome U-turn on foreign players ban

Entente Setif
A rule banning Entente Setif and other Algerian clubs from signing overseas players was overturned earlier this week.

Barring an unlikely slip up, Entente Setif will clinch their eighth Algerian league title this year with the immediate future of two of their foreign stars now seemingly safe.

Malagasy midfielder Ibrahim Amada and Cameroonian midfielder Azongha Tembeng have both played an integral role in Setif's success.

However, a rule implemented by the Federation of Algerian Football last summer threatened to deprive Setif of Amada and Tembeng's services next season.

The Federal Bureau announced that effective from June 2016, due to a lack of fiscal accountability and incompetent recruiting, all Algerian clubs would be banned from signing foreign players.

"I was surprised and a little shocked when I learned of the law, because I had never heard of such a thing." Amada told BBC Sport.

"I was familiar with quotas that limit two or three foreign players, but I had never heard of completely banning players from playing in a league," Amada said.

The legislation was censured locally and internationally and eventually overturned on Thursday 27 May.

A communiqué was published on the Federation's website stating, "As of the 2017/2018 season, Ligue 1 Mobilis clubs may once more recruit foreign players. The number of foreign players may not exceed two, and those signed may not be over the age of 30."

Amada foresaw repealing the nullification of such a controversial law.

"It's logical. We can't stop an athlete from expressing themselves in any country so long as the league is professional."

Ali Bencheikh, who finished runner-up for the African Footballer of the Year award in 1978, branded the law 'illegal and unsportsmanlike' on a television platform.

Tembeng pointed out that the North African leagues are effective springboards for sub-Saharan players looking to move to Europe.

"The reversal of the law is important and good for foreigners who want to take the next step in their career."

The Cameroonian youth international was quick to point out that not much has changed with regards to the lack of fiscal accountability.

"Unfortunately foreigners still face the same problems of payment and sometimes that stops them from expressing themselves fully because they are thinking about their wages, not football."

Nonetheless both Tembeng and Amada are happy with the change in legislation.

The latter is closing in on his sixth year in the country.

"I arrived when I was 19-20 years old, now I'm 26 years old. I learned a lot, and I grew into a man here. Algeria is my second country."

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