THE Qatar Basketball Federation (QBF) plans to nurture young talents and control the hiring of foreign players by clubs starting from next season.

“There has been a decline in the standard of some clubs. The absence of quality Qatari players has affected the sport’s development in the country as most teams bank on overseas recruits,” QBF President Ahmed Abdulrahman Al Muftah told Doha Stadium Plus. “There should be a balance in the number of  foreign and local players in a squad.”

The QBF recently decided to introduce several steps as most of its Board members felt clubs needed to improve their technical levels by focusing on youth development rather than depending solely on foreigners. 

“We want to have a pool of home-grown players who can bolster the furure national teams,” he added.

Each team was permitted to register three overseas recruits, of which two were allowed on the court at a time. 

The new plan, to trim it to one, has many supporters including Al Gharafa coach Kousay Hatem.

“We welcome the QBF’s decision. Promoting Qatari players is a good idea. It’ll definitely do a world of good for the sport in the country,” said Hatem, who guided his side to Qatar Cup and Emir’s Cup this season. 

Meanwhile, Al Muftah expressed his desire to introduce league tournaments in three age groups next season which will help clubs find and nurture new talents. 

“We’ll start league competitions for juniors to encourage Qataris. We had thought about it earlier, but we want to put the plan on paper now. The guidelines will be sent to clubs once we pass the resolution at the next board meeting,” he said.

The official hoped the junior leagues will strenghthen the local competitions.

“The clubs will be intimated about the QBF’s vision. Our effort is to strengthen local competitions. The less we bank on foreign players and the more we focus on youth development, the better it would be for us,” said Al Muftah. 

The federation is also likely to introduce a salary cap on players to discourage clubs from investing heavily on foreign players. 

“Local players will earn between QR4,000 and QR12,000, resident non-Qataris QR5,000 to QR10,000, and overseas recruits QR5,000 to QR15,000 per month,” added Al Muftah. 

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