Friday, July 30, 2021

BFA appoints former English pro footballer as Zebras’ head coach

After four months of uncertainty, Botswana Football Association will announce former English Premier League professional footballer Peter James Butler as the new Zebras head coach.

Butler who made more than 450 appearances in the Football League and the Premier League has penned a two-year deal with BFA and is expected to be presented at a media briefing penciled for Lekidi Football Centre in Gaborone Wednesday morning.

Butler first took up coaching in England and then in Australia and South-East Asia. He comes into the Zebras’ hot seat in place of Stanley Hunter Tshosane who was unceremoniously fired in October last year. After a search which has taken BFA four months, Butler was confirmed as the right man for the job last Thursday.

“The search for the coach is over and I can confirm that Peter Butler is the man. He impressed at interview which was held in Gaborone yesterday (Thursday). His presentation was impressive and he seems to be a disciplinarian. He may not have the experience of coaching at national level but the fact that he wants to make a name for himself will be the main driving force,” said a source.

Butler played as a midfielder for Huddersfield Town, Cambridge United, Bury, Southend United, West Ham United, Notts County, Grimsby Town, West Bromwich Albion and Halifax Town.

After a spell as caretaker manager of Halifax Town, Butler moved to Australia where he became player-manager of Sorrento FC 2000-2002, where he set up their academy.

He then coached in Singapore with the Singapore Armed Forces Football Club (SAFFC), in Malaysia with Sabah FA, in Indonesia with Persiba Balikpapan, and then back to Malaysia as coach of Kelantan FA.
In September 2009, Butler signed a one-year contract as Technical Director and Head Coach of Yangon United FC of Myanmar.

In September 2010 Butler became head coach of Thai Premier League team BEC Tero Sasana F.C.. He is the holder of a UEFA Pro License Qualification. Butler returned to Kelantan to become head coach for the second time in November 2011.

He guided the team to the top of the League. However, Butler left stating he could no longer work for Annuar Musa as he was unhappy with the signing of players above his head.

Butler was immediately hired by Indonesian Super league side Persiba Balikpapan whom he coached in 2006-08 and led them into the newly formed ISL. He reportedly resigned from Persiba on May 2012, but his resignation is challenged by the club.

He officially took over the head coach role at Terengganu FA, from Mat Zan Mat Aris on 1 June 2012, although he had already performed his duties as Terengganu head coach before the date.

As head coach Butler reprimanded two players for returning from a night out at 3am on a morning before a match. His actions were mainly backed by the Malaysian public. However the club’s management did not support his stance leading to a six-month ban, RM4,000 fine, 15 per cent cut on monthly salary and the termination of his contract.

The penalties received by Butler were considered by the public to be unjust and a means of simply removing him from the club. He was left with 15 months payment on his contract outstanding.
The Football Association of Malaysia declared their intent to investigate the situation.

On 18 October, Football Association of Malaysia’s disciplinary board completely exonerated Butler of any charges, quashed the suspension imposed on him and publicly condemned the Terengganu FA of bringing shame to the FAM, the TFA were ordered to pay Butler the remaining months on his contract.

“Unlike the previous coach where there was no mandate in the contract, Butler is expected to achieve certain goals in his time here. Should BFA feel that he is not performing, his contract will be terminated. I think we have learnt a lot from the experiences we had with Tshosane,” said a source close to the developments.

BFA president, Tebogo Sebego, confirmed that the search for the coach is over and he will be introduced to the nation this week.

He said that BFA was satisfied with their candidate and they have doubt that he will deliver.
“We are starting afresh hence we spread our wings when searching for the coach. We needed the person first now that we’ve identified him then we can worry about who will assist him. The technical team should be able to assist the coach (Butler) to familiarise with our conditions,” said Sebego. The BFA boss added that it does not mean that the previous members of the Zebras’ technical will not be considered when making adjustments.

Sources indicate that BFA settled for Butler after they could not agree terms with Serbian-born Milutin ‘Michu’ Sredojevic who is at the helm of Uganda. It is alleged that Sredojevic demanded a salary of P230,000 per month.

“Michu was the first choice but BFA pulled out because he was too expensive. As you know Michu has coached Rwanda and he has done wonders with Uganda,” added the source. It is reported that because of his inexperience Butler will earn around P75,000 per month.

Butler will be assisted by former Mochudi Centre Chiefs and BDF XI head coach Losika Keatlholetswe.
Though they were reports last week that Keatlholetswe has not agreed to take over as an assistant, Sunday Standard can reveal that he met with BFA vice-president technical Ernest Nthobelang where everything was finalised.

“Keatlholetswe has agreed to come and lend a helping hand. He will also be in charge of the national Under-23. I want to believe that since Keatlholetswe is also a disciplinarian, there is no doubt that they form the right combination,” said another source.

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