With five rounds of fixtures left before the 2016/17 Ethiopian Premier League season draws to a close, St. George are poised to clinch a record 14th title and a fourth on the bounce.
The Horsemen or Kidus Giorgis as St. George are known are perched top of the expanded 16-team table standings with 46 points – two points clear of Dedebit with a game to spare against Fasil Kenema.
The 2017 CAF Champions League group phase qualifiers have managed 13 wins seven draws and four loses. They boast the best scoring record in the topflight with 40 goals netted to this end.
Their remaining fixtures are against Hawassa Kenema (H), Jimma Aba Bunna (A), Ethio-Electric (H), Addis Ababa Kenema (A), Ethiopia Nigid Bank (H) and Fasil Kenema (H).
This means the coach Martinus Ignatius Noolj’s side will only travel outside their Addis Ababa territory once.
According Soka25east.com Ethiopia’s correspondent Firew Asrat, the Horsemen have the experience to see them through the remaining matches.
Firew expects two of the remaining fixtures to pose the greatest threats to St. George’s surge – against Hawassa Kenema, who have always proved hard to beat and versus Addis Ababa, who are fighting to avoid the chop.
So what makes St. George so dominant in the league?
Firew holds it boils down to quality within the club in terms of players and the technical bench.
St. George are known to go for the best talents from within Ethiopia and across Africa.
This is made possible by their unmatched financial muscle that rivals like Ethiopia Coffee can only dream of.
“St. George pick the best players from all clubs in Ethiopia. They also have the money to import quality players from other parts of Africa.
“Compared to foreign players in other clubs, St. George have the best,” Firew said.
Ugandan keeper Robert Odonkara, a multiple EPL Goalkeeper of the Year winner, is one of the foreigners in the club.
They also have within their fold Burkinabe midfielder Abdoulkarim Nikiema, and another Ugandan Yasser Mugerwa, who joined this season from South Africa’s Orlando Pirates.
St. George is also home to celebrated internationals Salhadin Said, who has scored 13 goals in the league campaign and 5 in the CAF Champions League, Adane Girma with 11 goals and left back Abebaw Butako, who joined from a stint in Sudan this season.
Dutch manager Noolj, who returned to the club after sometime at the helm of Tanzania’s national team the Taifa Stars, has vast experience in the East African football.
Only four teams have successfully managed to challenge St. George for the title, they include Hawassa Kenema and Ethio-Electric with two titles each, Dedebit and Ethiopia Coffee with a title apiece.
St. George will play Hawassa in round 26 fixtures on Monday with a win drawing them even closer to another glory.