Township Rollers were cantering to their fourth successive title, and appeared lonely at the top since the fall from grace of Mochudi Centre Chiefs, who had emerged as their perennial bête noire over the seasons. No other side, other than Chiefs and Rollers, has won the league since 2009.
Financially healthy mining town sides, Orapa United and Jwaneng Galaxy, were viewed as the emerging leaders of the young Lions to break the Chiefs, Rollers dominance. But despite early promises, both have no league title to show for their efforts, despite success in the Mascom Top 8. At some point of the season, Orapa were in a strong position to seize the opportunity, but have slid further back in the title race. The Ostriches are ten points adrift, with four matches remaining, which all but rule them out of the title race.
Jwaneng Galaxy have mounted a serious title challenge and, like cream, have risen to the top.
Never in the last four years has Township Rollers appeared so skittish, with midweek reports that coach, Rodolfo Zapata was a subject of irate fans’ abuse after a potentially damaging 0-0 draw with Gaborone United in Lobatse. It was a moment unimagined a few weeks back when Rollers were on a firm course for a record extending 16th league title.
While there are jitters within the Rollers camp, and ballooning hope in Jwaneng, for the fans, it is what the doctor ordered.
For long, the winners of the BTC Premiership have remained predictable, but this time around a lot of calculators are out with a maximum of five games left.
Rollers are still favourites to win as they hold a game in hand, with just a point behind Galaxy.
But the tight race at the top has provided fans with plenty to talk about. The bottom is as intriguing, with Chiefs finding itself having to scrap for the crumbs with the likes of Black Forest, Sankoyo Bush Bucks and Prisons XI.
It was hardly imagined just a decade ago that the club, dripping with royalty, would soon find itself in the relegation scrap. But with each passing game, the Premiership lights appear dimmer for Chiefs.
For a league that has been yearning for positive talking points, the twist in the title race, and the battle for the dreaded chop, provide the right ingredients for a perfect season-ending show.