Saturday, September 23, 2023

Butler not wanted in U-20 set-up

The Botswana Football Association has made a U-turn on its decision to include senior national team coach Peter Butler in the list of the national Under-20 technical team.

According to sources at Lekidi House corridors, the removal of the Briton from the technical team is “due to tension between him (Butler) and BFA Technical Director Benny Kgomela”. Rumours are rife that the two do not see eye to eye. 

Butler’s omission from the U-20 technical team is likely to raise eyebrows, more especially considering that the gaffer had been busy scouting for players for the junior team.

A month ago, Butler went on a countrywide scouting mission, looking for players that could make the grade for the junior side.

However, in an unexpected turn of events, Butler was removed from the team and it has since emerged that the majority of players he had identified have been dropped from the squad.

 “Butler travelled around the country scouting for suitable players to represent the country for COSAFA but has since disappeared. He is a national team coach but there is nothing much for him now as the Zebras do not utilise the international breaks with practice matches. BFA President Maclean Letshwiti was aware he was working on something for the junior teams but politics within the structures have pushed him out. None of the players he scouted are among the squad now that he is out of the picture,” a source told Sunday Standard.

When reached for comment, Butler revealed that he travelled around the country in search for fresh talent to be added to the existing pool for further development. However, he refused to comment on the circumstances pertaining to his omission from the junior team set-up.  

“I went as far as Kasane, Maun, Francistown and many other areas and selected a lot of talented players and would have loved to give them the opportunity to prove their mettle but it was not to be,” he explained.

“I have done my part and I don’t want to be dragged into anything more. I do not know the team’s coach but I believe we will all embrace the national youth programme to develop and identify talent,” Butler said.

Concerning the players he has scouted, the Zebras’ coach said that despite some of them not being part of the U-20 squad, there was a possibility he would call some to assess them further. 

“I identified very good players during my scouting around the country. I don’t know where they are now because they are not part of the COSAFA-bound team, but I might bring some of them to the senior national team,” concluded Butler.  

Asked to comment on the matter, acting BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Susan Lawrence said Butler had the right to scout for players either young or for the senior team but he was not the junior team coach. 

“It is right for Butler to search for talent but it is the duty of junior team coaches to make their final selections. Butler was not pushed out. His duty is to coach the senior national team,” said Lawrence.

For his part, Kgomela declined to comment on the matter noting he was not responsible to communicate with the media. 

“I am not the right person to divulge anything to the press so I have nothing to say, he said.


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