The 2015/2016 controversy-prone league season has finally ended after long spells of uncertainty after Township Rollers did a 5-1 hatchet job on Mochudi Centre Chiefs in the deciding play-off on Thursday at the Molepolole Sports Complex.
The saga emanated from the strings of protests against the registration of Township Rollers midfielder Ofentse Nato with claims that he was a defaulter.
Some teams contested his registration which led to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) National Disciplinary Committee declaring him a defaulter.
The ruling of the BFA NDC led to Rollers being docked 10 points at a time when they were in a runaway position to win the league and this ultimately threw the spanner into their title chances.
The docking of points brought confusion as there was no outright winner because Mochudi Centre Chiefs, who were supposed to have been the champions, could not be crowned because of the soft points they benefitted from.
The NDC ruling led to the league championship to be decided on a play-off between the two teams.
The off-season play-off was not helpful in ending the league peacefully. It brought more controversy because both teams had lost players whose contracts had ended. The COSAFA Castle Cup added to the troubles as some players had to join their national teams to compete in the tournament.
The play-off was later scheduled for Francistown where Chiefs took to the ground with only seven players. It was abandoned when a Chiefs player was injured because it made the remaining number unlawful to play a game.
This led to Chiefs being charged with misconduct but the BPL DC ruled in their favour.
On Thursday both teams travelled to the Molepolole Sports Complex for a final showdown and the rest is history. After thumping Chiefs, Mapalestina are reigning champions with 65 points to Chiefs’ 63. Prior to the play-off Chiefs led the log table with 63 points and Rollers were a point behind.
Contacted for comment, Premier League CEO Bennett Mamelodi said: “We are happy the league is now officially over. The hard work start now for the next season.” Mamelodi was positive that they would use the incidents that have happened as a learning curve to improve on the new season. “We have all learnt from the mistakes and we will use them to make sure the new season is incident-free,” he said.
“We have a burden to deliver an exciting and improved season from the previous one hence we have to work hard to achieve that,” he said.
He said dates for the start of the new season have been proposed to the general assembly. “It is up to the assembly to approve or come up with suitable dates so that the league can start,” he said.