Botswana: League Postponement Bitter Sweet Pill

Gaborone — Botswana Football Association (BFA) suspension of football activities amid the coronavirus outbreak has evoked mixed feelings among football fanatics.

On the one hand the move might be a deal breaker for teams that were doing well and a blessing in disguise for the struggling ones.

With the league being suspended, the epidemic has left a considerable void in the football fraternity.

For those teams in the relegation dogfight, the prolonged absence of football action could be a welcomed move for teams to regroup and find their winning formula once more.

While that is not a given, there are fears that the break might witness log leaders losing the momentum and performing dismally as players are presently not active.

The battle for the BTC Premier League championship may be getting all the limelight and headlines heading into the final stretch of the league campaign, but there is still plenty of suspense at the other end of the table.

For Gunners secretary general, Edwin Molapo, the break came at a point when the team was beginning to find their winning combination.

"The morale in the camp was high as the results were forth coming in our last game heading to the break, hence the postponement has disturbed our technical preparedness going into the last lap of the league marathon," he said.

Molapo stated that the break has also affected their revenue generation as the team does not have a financial sponsor and is solely dependent on the gate takings during the games, hence there is currently a problem with cash flow at the team.

On the positive side, Molapo indicated that the postponement of the games would benefit players such as Dirang Moloi, who nursing an injury as it would allow them more recuperation time.

Premier league log leaders, Jwaneng Galaxy chairperson, Njabulo Gilika indicated that his team was fully behind the postponement of the league games, adding that it was for the benefit of both the players and spectators.

"As Galaxy, winning games comes secondary as it takes a healthy player to deliver in the match and jubilant and healthy spectator to fill up the stadium and cheer his team to victory, hence we saw it fit for BFA to suspend the games," he said.

Gilika urged technical teams to come up with special training programmes to ensure players maintain fitness till the resumption of the league.

Jwaneng Galaxy occupies the league summit standing at 41 points, a point ahead of reigning champions Township Rollers.

The Jwaneng side was on a rich vein of form with two wins in a raw before the break, wining with a solidary goal both of their encounters against Morupule Wanderers and Security System.

Since the arrival of former Rollers head coach Nikola Kavazovic in their technical side, Galaxy maintained a 100 per cent winning rate, but the break could down-play their winning momentum, which might slacken their grip on the Premier League trophy.

The battle for the BTC Premier League championship may be getting all the limelight and headlines heading into the final stretch of the league campaign, but there is still plenty of suspense at the other end of the table.

Clearly the relegation axe is looming on all teams in the bottom half of the log standing, starting with Extension Gunners, Morupule Wanderers, Tafic, Molepolole City Stars and Miscellaneous in the basement.

Neither Gunners, Wanderers and Tafic are certain of their Premier League survival as they are tied with 18 points each with only a goal difference separating them.

Rooted at position 12 in the league, Extension Gunners are having a roller coaster season, characterised by inconsistency.

The Peleng giants had the odds stuck against them right from the commencement of the league, starting their league campaign with negative six points after failing to comply with some of the club licensing regulatory measures.

In their last four results heading to the COVID-19 enforced league postponement break, is a clear testimony of the inconsistency in their season as they won two games, lost one and drew one hence collecting nine points from a possible 12, with their heavy league defeat being 4-1 thrashing at the hands of BDF XI.

The break could however affected Gunners in a negative way as it came at a time when they were establishing some rhythm, having played to a one all draw with BR Highlanders and wining against Security Systems.

Both Wanders and Tafic also have a lot to play for in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Despite collecting maximum points in their last game leading to the break, the league postponement might come handy for the Morupule based side as they only collected one out of a possible 12 points in their last five games and victory has been hard to come by.

Perianal relegation candidates, Tafic on the other hand also find themselves in a familiar relegation threatening position.

Matjimenyenga boys as Tafic is affectionately known, miraculously survived the relegation axe on the last game last season and they could also bounced back when the league resumes after the virus outbreak.

Their season has been characterised by off the field squabbles and they could use the break to put their house in order, which might translate to on-the-field results when the league resumes.

For both Molepolole City Stars and Miscellaneous the writing could be on the wall that they would be playing in the dusty first division in the coming season as they occupy position 15 and 16 in the log respectively and with the lowest tally of points.

Both teams have to fight tooth and nail to avoid falling through the relegation trapdoor, but only a miracle could save them.

Source : BOPA

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