Mascom Top 8 reigning champions Jwaneng Galaxy’s protest over the selection of Lobatse Sports Complex as their home ground for the semi-final clash against Township Rollers has been denied.
Galaxy is now poised to host Rollers in Lobatse for the first leg of the semi-final on the 26th of this month, with the return leg slated for the National Stadium in Gaborone on the 2nd of February.
The decision by the Mascom Top 8 Local Organising Committee (LOC) to fixture a semi final first leg match between the two giants at Lobatse is being resisted by Galaxy, who want it to be hosted at the Galaxy stadium in Jwaneng.
It has surfaced that Galaxy officials raised the issue with the LOC and Botswana Premier League (BPL) that they cannot be denied the right to play their home match at the Galaxy stadium, which has been registered and approved to host games this season.
Galaxy’s contention is said to be that given that Rollers has been using Lobatse Sports Complex as their alternative home ground this season, fixturing the match there would rob them of the home ground advantage.
‘’We have a home ground that is fully registered and expect to play our home game in that ground. We are still in talks with the organisers as we were never consulted when they chose Lobatse for us. This is a home and away tournament and we want to play our game at home so they should not decide for us,” Galaxy Chairman Njabulo Gilika said when reached for comment.
BPL Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Thabo Ntshinogang explained that a number of factors, among them live television broadcasting of matches and crowd control measures, contributed towards the selection of Lobatse as host over Galaxy Stadium.
Galaxy Stadium is said to be unfriendly to live television broadcasting. The stadium is said to pose a major challenge for television crew to produce quality product.
Ntshinogang said though it was a difficult decision to move the game from Jwaneng to Lobatse, due to television and contractual binds of the sponsor, the Mascom Top 8 LOC had no choice but to change venues.
“We promised the sponsor that the games will be aired and the television crew has said they struggle to televise games in Jwaneng hence the decision to look for options. We have notified Galaxy management of the challenges and we thought Lobatse was nearer,” Ntshinogang explained.
“We are also in the crucial stages of the tournament and we had to look at the possibility of a large crowd coming to the game and we needed a bigger ground to accommodate spectators,” he said.