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Premier League Round one: A post-mortem

Although the Botswana Premier League (BPL) started without the issue of club licensing having been put to rest, the first round of the league has somewhat satiated the appetite.


In fact, there is a sense of relief from different quarters that this new Premier League season is set to be packed with excitement and action than anticipated. When last season top goal scorer, Tendai Nyamadzawo’s unprecedented move, that had his former side, Gilport Lions and Mochudi Centre Chiefs in a tug of war trying to win him over.

 

The debacle between Orapa United and Township Rollers was also an expected one, this time around, the duo was fighting for pole position and after 15 games; the Orapa based outfit fell by the way side. Instead Jwaneng Galaxy gave champions, Rollers a good fight. As it stands, Galaxy leads the pack, followed by Rollers, although with a game in hand.


Seasons’ never ending transfer rumour mill, coupled with half-paced friendlies have their place in life, but they were surely only ever going to be a tasty little snack before the sumptuous banquet which is a fresh season, still powered by BTC. But the movement of many players from both Nico United and Gilport Lions to other teams set tongues wagging. Gift Moyo, Nelson Moreetsi, Flo Kgetholetsile are some of the players who were on the move.  In fact, all other players who departed the struggling sides left an abyss that the teams are yet to fill. Clearly, their entire first round games were a dangerous demonstration that the clubs were the most hit in the transfer window.


But before it could be known, the need for news and views – not to mention wins in Gaborone and Francistown stadiums or wherever will once again become the all-consuming passion in many football lovers’ lives. Some had reason to be happier than most. Logic decrees that the Premier League's usual suspects will have it all their own way yet again. Talent galore and bottomless pockets of cash were enough to ensure yet more silverware ends up in already crammed trophy cabinets.


The cream, as they say, always has a tendency to rise to the top. Week 12 of this first half season was the most interesting one.  Galaxy became the first team to end Black Forest winning streak by beating them 3-0 at Lobatse stadium. This was the one joyous time, especially for Mahalapye Hotspurs, Police XI and Green Lovers fans along with those of other teams in the league’s top flight who went into the weekend’s fun and games with no fear of relegation. 

 

Now, buoyed by the belief teams carry during any fresh season, as optimism is soaring, anything is possible as far as these teams are concerned. A new second round equates to opportunity, a chance to shine like never before. But the first round seemed to have inspired only two of the three new entrants while others are still languishing at the bottom of the table.


Acting premier league CEO, Thabo Ntshinogang believes this season is most competitive and there is a likelyhood that there will be a new champion. ‘‘It is tight and competitive and we might have a new champion at the end,’’ he observed. But beyond the shadow of doubt, the return of Premier League second round – as wonderful as the first one – will signal several months of nail-biting, edge-of-the-seat tension. Teams are eyeing for the top 8 finish, and ultimately catching up with the current league leaders, Jwaneng Galaxy.

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