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Down to the wire

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Down to the wire
IN ACTION: Tshireletso

BTC PREMIER LEAGUE SET FOR THRILLING CLIMAX

As the 2016/17 BTC Premiership season enters its thrilling final stages, there is still much to be decided.

The season has fused into a two horse race, with defending champions Township Rollers and surprise package Jwaneng Galaxy vying for the league crown.

There is little to choose between the two rampant clubs.

Separated by a single point, both are in irresistible, almost unstoppable form – indeed, neither side have been beaten in the league this year.

Popa last tasted league defeat some 17 games ago, losing 3-2 to Mochudi Centre Chiefs in November last year.

Incredibly, Galaxy are on an even longer unbeaten run – the mining town have not lost any of their last 27 competitive fixtures, including 23 league games and four cup matches.

It is an astonishing sequence of results that has seen Galaxy rise to the top of the table, whilst claiming their maiden Mascom Top 8 title.

The Jwaneng-based side now stand on the verge of history.

A point clear of Rollers – who have a game in hand – Galaxy are potentially three matches away from achieving an unprecedented league and cup double.

In their way stand Orapa United, Gaborone United followed by an end-of-season clash with Rollers – an encounter that could very possibly decide the league’s fate.

It is a formidable set of fixtures, but Galaxy are a club that thrive under pressure and have continually defied the odds this season.

However, prowling Popa are perfectly poised to pounce in second place.

Like Galaxy, Mapalastina know that they are in control of their own destiny. Popa, who beat Police XI 2-0 on Wednesday night, have four games left to play and will be crowned champions if they win them all.

After the Jungle Kings, Rollers are away to Nico, Green Lovers and Black Forest before finishing their campaign at home to Galaxy.

Popa are currently a team in mourning, following the tragic death of their player Gofaone Tiro, who was buried over the weekend.

Tiro’s death resulted in the postponement of two of Rollers matches – this week, in a bid to allow them to catch up, the Premier League postponed all league games except for Popa’s, who following their victory over Police, will play Nico on Saturday.

United in their grief, the club have vowed to win the league in honour of their fallen comrade.

The Blues could find help from an old ally and an unlikely source – the club’s former mentor Madinda Ndlovu.

The Zimbabwean, who parted ways with Rollers in 2015, is in charge of Orapa United, who host Galaxy at the Itekeng Stadium this Tuesday.

Mathematically, the third-placed Ostriches, who are seven points behind Galaxy, still have an outside chance of winning the league.

Realistically though they would not an unbelievable set of catastrophic results to befall both Rollers and Galaxy – something that will simply not happen.

At the other end of the table, Mahalapye Hotspurs became the first team to relegate following last weekend’s 5-3 loss to Security Systems.

The defeat capped a miserable season for Hotspurs, who return to the First Division at the first time of asking.

Green Lovers seem destined to join them. 12 points adrift of safety with four games left to play, the Serowe side are all but relegated.

The Green Marines would need to win all of their remaining games – bearing in mind they’ve only won three times all season – just to stand a chance of staying up.

The last relegation spot is currently occupied by Nico United, who are four points behind Sankoyo Bush Bucks.

Both sides are left with four matches to play, including a potentially season-defining meeting with each other.

Miscellaneous, who have played a game more, are just a point above Bush Bucks and are also heavily involved in the intriguing battle to beat the drop.

With the season fast approaching its end, only one thing is for certain – football fans are in for a rollercoaster ride!