Jimma, Mekele, Welwalo earn EPL promotion
After a nerve wracking campaign, Jimma City, Welwalo Adigrat University and Mekele City have secured promotion to the Ethiopian Premier League. Jimma and Welwalo are the two clubs that have earned direct promotion after finishing top of the Ethiopian Higher League.
Welwalo Adigrat topped Group A with 68 points, while Mekele followed with 60 points. Jimma City ended their campaign with 53 points while Hadiya Hosanna came in second with 53 points.
As per the rules, the final three promoted teams were determined after playoffs. In that regard, Welwalo Adigrat and Jimma City played at Dire Dawa Stadium on Wednesday with Jimma City coming out victorious with a 1-0 win. The only goal of the game came on the 22nd minute.
Meanwhile, in the other playoff match that was also held at Dire Dawa Mekele City won Hadiya Hosanna 2-1. The goals came from Amanuel Gebremichael and Yosef Taye on the 16th and 78th minutes, respectively.
Welwalo Adgriat University is a football club based in Adigrat, Tigray Regional State. Nicknamed the ‘Yellow Kings’ and with a huge fan base in their home, Welwalo are joining the league for the first time in their history.
Jimma City FC – famously known as ‘The Coffees’ – is one of the clubs in the country that also commands a good number of followers from their base in Jimma, Oromia Regional State. A first timer in the league, they are going to provide a premiership taste for Jimma town football followers as they will be replacing another home town team Jimma Aba Bunna who were relegated from the league in the just concluded season.
Mekelle City FC are also a newly promoted club in their history. All new promoted clubs are expected to strengthen their squad by adding experienced players. In the early 2000s fans for Tigray enjoyed representations in the country’s topflight league through Guna Nigid and Trans Ethiopia.
By Dawit Tolesa