In the past fortnight, the issue of the new national team head coach had created plenty of hype and buzz within football circles, given speculation that he would be from Europe.
That speculation had been fed by the Botswana Football Association (BFA)’s decision to keep their cards close to their chest over the identity of the man who would be the new man to drill the Zebras until an official announcement was made. ┬á
On February 6, the news from BFA headquarters was that the association had appointed Peter Butler to take over from Stanley Tshosane. The Englishman had penned a three-year contract with the BFA and was to be introduced to the media on February 12.
There was a lot of head scratching and a subsequent hit on internet search engines, as commentators, fans and analysts alike, unfamiliar with the name Peter Butler tried to figure out who he was. The profile of the new coach emerged ÔÇô an Englishman who has coached in Australia, Singapore and Malaysia.
Commentators began questioning Butler’s suitability for the job. First, they were worried that he has no previous experience of coaching at national level, let alone in Africa. Secondly, he seemed to be a drifter, moving from one coaching job to another and not staying in one job for more than a year.
On social networks, debate raged on whether BFA president Tebogo Sebego and his crew had made the right choice.
Would Butler turn out to be among the many journeymen with little coaching pedigree at the highest level who have been seen coaching national teams across Africa?
Wednesday morning saw the introduction of the man football fanatics had been waiting to see. Lekidi Football Centre Auditorium was filled to capacity as journalists and other guests awaited the official announcement.
Sebego and his national executive committee members were locked up in chief executive officer Keith Masters’ office clearly briefing Butler on what he should expect from the media briefing.
Butler emerged from Masters’ office before NEC members, wearing a white shirt, black tie and grey trousers.
As he took his seat in the auditorium, with camera lens were trained on him, he seemed not overawed by the occasion. When it was time for Butler to make a speech, it was clear that he was excited with the job at hand.
He made it clear that he was not in Botswana as a tourist but had come to accomplish his job.
“Thank you to the people of Botswana for giving me such an opportunity and I promise I won’t let you down. I’m not a tourist, I’m not here on Safari. My main aim is to improve the results here,” said Butler.
The former West Ham United midfielder pointed out that he has a soft spot for young players and intended to introduce them to the Zebras’ set-up.
He said he will work closely with Under-20 coaches to see which players deserve to be given a chance.┬á
“I will be hands on with the Under-20 squad because that is where the diamonds of Botswana football are found. I’m not going to promise you something I won’t do, I’m a tough person and I won’t let you down,” he added.
On reports that he is a nomadic coach, Butler said that a lot had been said about him, some of which was not true.
“Football is a results-oriented sport and I will be judged on results,” Butler concluded.
The new coach is expected to lead the Zebras for the first time when they play an international friendly match on March 5. The BFA are still to confirm the opponents.
It remains to be seen if Butler is the man to bring back the smiles on the faces of Batswana.