Gaborone – The Botswana Football Association (BFA) has declared Jwaneng Galaxy the winners of the 2019-2020 Premier Soccer League, putting an end to a season truncated by a ban on all sporting activities.
Botswana, like the rest of the world, halted all sports about two months ago as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe.
The season still had 10 rounds of games to go, and the decision to put an early end to is unlikely to go down well with the three team who have been “administratively relegated” - Miscellaneous, TAFIC Football Club and Molepolole City Stars Football Club.
While other football leagues have resumed, the BFA decided to put a premature full-stop on its PSL after the Confederation of African Football asked all soccer administrations on the continent to advise it on the status of their leagues.
CAF wrote to all 54 African football administrations saying, “In view of the current circumstances, we would like to inquire about the current situation of your leagues and national cup, as well as the strategies you intend to apply to finalise those competitions be it through completion of annulment.”
As such, the BFA declared Jwaneng Galaxy Football Club - who sat atop the standings of the BTC Premier League - champions, while Miscellaneous, TAFIC Football Club and Molepolole City Stars Football Club were relegated.
The BFA national executive committee met on June 14 and unanimously resolved that the 2019 /2020 football season should end as is.
“The effect is that the team at the summit is crowned champions and the teams at the bottom of the table will be relegated.”
A committee will deal with the issue of promotional play-offs.
Masitaoka Football Club, who were leading Debswana First Division South automatically gained promotion to the elite league, while in the North, First Division side Sua Flamingo were also promoted.
While the winners are celebrating, those who have been relegated are screaming blue murder.
TAFIC chair, Carlos Sebina, slammed the BFA’s decision as his team was relegated even though they had a mathematical chance of surviving the chop as the league still had 10 games to go.
Describing the decision as a bad precedent, Sebina added: “The best they could have done was to declare the season null and void and we start afresh next season.”
Molepolole City Football Club chair Somerset Gobuiwang insisted his team is still in the premier league.
Local media quoted him saying he was still consulting with stakeholders and a definitive position would be taken once the BFA decision was officially communicated to them.
In May, BFA president Mclean Letshwiti indicated that should it be not viable to complete the football season, it could be cancelled and declared null and void.
Last week, Letshwiti said the BFA had sought views from clubs on how the season could be concluded; and the decision to declare winners and losers was arrived at on the basis that it was the most cost-effective option.