St. George crowned champions
In what proved to be an intriguing season, the Betking Ethiopian Premier League (EPL) concluded in Bahir Dar Stadium on Friday, going down to the wire. St George has been crowned champion, after winning against Adama City. Fasil Kenema lost its final match against Dire Dawa.
Usually dominated by one or two teams, and the league champion known even before the season reaches the half way point, this year’s competition saw proceedings go down to the wire with winner of the competition to be decided on the final day.
Two teams were already relegated a week before the competition ended and Dire Dawa had to wait until its final fixture was held to find out if it had survived the drop.
Following its poor performances over the last four years, St. George, aka Horsemen, turned a page this season with a string of good performances. However, Fasil Kenema, aka the emperors, put pressure on the horsemen through to game week 29 fixtures, going into game week 30.
Fasil Kenema faced Ethiopia Coffee and St. George hosted Arba Minch City in a crucial match for both teams on match week 29. Though, both clubs managed to beat their opponents, their points difference narrowed to one point after St. George drew in game week 28 against Hadiya Hossana.
The Horsemen topped the league with 62 points while Fasil is second with 61 points going into the final game week of the season.
Last year’s champions, Fasil Kenema, won 18 matches from a possible 29 while St. George, won 17.
The horsemen, previously managed by foreign coaches, turned to assistant coach Zerihun Shengeta to take over proceedings, after the clubs board members reached an agreement. However, performances in the last five games have hampered his march towards the trophy.
In match week 30 Dire Dawa City, which was yet to find out its fate concerning relegation, played against Fasil Kenema in Bahir Dar University stadium. The match, in which Dire Dawa came out victories against Fasil (3-2), propelled the team above the relegation zone.
Fasil Kenema in a statement criticized the appropriateness of the stadium to host the final matches of the Ethiopian Premier League.
“We urge the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) to intervene in this big issue so that the final match will be attended by a large number of fans,” the statement reads.
Apart from deciding which team lifts the trophy, the battle to stay in the league grabbed the attention of supporter. Dire Dawa survived the dreaded drop, while Jimma and Sebeta were relegated in week 29 of the season. Addis Ababa Ketema went down as a result, after it lost against St. George (4-0).
The 2021/22 the Betking EPL was held in Hawassa, Dire Dawa, Adama and Bahir Dar.