- Security measures were considered in the decision making
- Galaxy were informed well in time and eventually agreed
The Botswana Premier League has defended its decision to use the Lobatse Sports Complex, a neutral venue, as Jwaneng Galaxy’s home game for the first leg of their Mascom Top 8 encounter against Township Rollers. Many had questioned the decision to deny Galaxy a chance to play in their home stadium, the Jwaneng Sports Complex on January 28 but the league body has underlined that safety measures were at the top of their priority list when making the decision.
A source from the BPL informed Gazette Sport that Galaxy were informed before the final decision was made, he states that they initially had reservations about the issue but eventually agreed to play their home game in Lobatse. Galaxy’s home game can accommodate approximately 4000 supporters while the Lobatse based stadium holds a capacity of approximately 20 000 people.
The source also revealed that the decision might have helped Galaxy financially as the Lobatse Complex, which holds a greater capacity than their home stadium, possibly helped them in terms of ticket revenue as they were classified as the “home team”.
Rollers, on the other hand, had an opportunity to host the second leg game at the National Stadium, unlike their counterparts Popa had already played five home games at their semifinal venue which (to some) gave them an advantage.
“This was a high profile game, we had to make a plan for it to be successful. We knew the attraction of the game would bring a large crowd of supporters. We did not want to limit the attendance of the game, obviously neutral supporters also came to support as well. Large crowds come with safety concerns and we had to make sure the first leg was held at a venue were safety measures would be in place. It was purely a security issue, no bias against Galaxy,” said the source.
The Lobatse held first leg encounter ended in a 2-2 draw, many observers were of the view that Galaxy would have performed better on their own turf. The result proved costly for Galaxy as they had given away two away goals, their failure to score more goals in the second leg saw them eliminated on the away goals rule.