When Peter Butler tweeted that he would be on the first plane to England come Tuesday morning, it was clear something was amiss. Sources who witnessed the heated conversation between the two Englishmen say it is best for the BFA executive to step in before it gets worse. After watching his side go down 2-0 to Senegal on Wednesday night, Butler disclosed that whilst unhappy with his fellow countryman, he would not walk out of the job he is so passionate about.
“Yes, I have an issue with Keith [Masters] but I have a job to do here in Botswana. What you need to understand that I’m from Northern England where we call a spade a spade. The problem with Keith is that he is from South England and has never been in a professional set-up. He’s been an amateur for most of his life and that is why our views will always be different,” said Butler.
He pointed out that what nearly forced him out of the job has been happening for the past seven months. “I know what happened and I’m not happy about it. That is what pisses me off and I will not sit back and watch him run me over. We’re different animals and I hate people who work behind me to screw me because I want to be successful here. Yes, there are financial challenges but I want to serve this country to the best of my ability,” Butler said.
The Englishman said though he is hurt, he would not disclose the matter which led to their argument. He said he would let the BFA and Sports Council come with solutions. “I’m happy in Botswana and I want to continue working here. I have a good relationship with [BFA president] Mr Tebogo Sebego and Mr Tariq [Babitseng, BFA vice president Administration] and I don’t want to disappoint them. I can assure Batswana that I’ll do my best to try and improve the team through their support,” said Butler.
On the chances of his side qualifying for the Afcon showpiece in Morocco next year, Butler believes that after losing two opening group games, all is not lost. The Zebras lost 2-1 away to Tunisia on September 6 before the midweek loss to Senegal in Gaborone.
“We still have a chance to get to the finals because there are 12 points at stake. If we can win our next game [against Egypt in Gaborone on October 11] it will motivate the players to go for the remaining points. The thing is that when we get to the group stages, only associations with huge financial muscle can survive because that is where players need incentives. Imagine Senegal came here in a private jet and with players all over Europe. It was always going to be difficult but we’ll not give up,” Butler said.
He further said that the good thing is that he has a bunch of players who want to die a little for their country. He said that what they need is financial boost to fight for the remaining points. As he prepares his side for two matches against Egypt next month home and away, Butler said that he will be on the lookout for other players to strengthen his camp. “I’m going to watch more League games in the coming days and I’ll not hesitate to continue introducing debutants. I’m one coach who is not afraid to make introduce fresh blood. Look at Segolame Boy; he made his debut against African giants Senegal. Yes, he made some mistakes but that is how they learn,” the Englishman said.
Butler said that in the opening two matches of the qualifiers, he realized that lack of concentration was the undoing of his side. Overall, he said, he was satisfied with the performance of his team. “I was delighted at the way we played against Senegal especially in the second half. I think it is a performance that we need to build on,” he said.