Zebras coach Peter Butler has defended his national team selection after criticism this past week over his choice of the national team.
Addressing the media this past Wednesday prior to the Zebras’ departure to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for a friendly match with the Taifa Stars, Butler said there was a criterion he used in his selection of the team.
He said he looked for a blend of youthful and experienced players.
Butler further highlighted that he opted for speed, physical strength, mental ability, good morals as well as players who were able to move around the pitch.
“When selecting players for the national team you have to be ruthless and extreme. International football is not the same as national football. I was loyal to people who served me before; players who I have known to show resilience and be subjective. I cannot control what goes on in other clubs because they might be facing pressure from their committees,” he added.
Reached for comment, one analyst, Monty Gagomokgwa, said Butler’s selection criterion was disappointing. He said that it seemed the coach was developing players at national team level platform where results and not development are key.
Gagomokgwa further said the coach’s continued selection of underperforming players over consistent and experienced players, as well as benchwarmers over regular players, raised eyebrows.
“I am not happy but I cannot blame the players because they did not select themselves. I blame the technical team as a whole. You cannot believe that a team can perform when it’s being developed at national team level. Players who do not get game time at their teams are given a chance over active ones.
“The likes of Galaxy Football Club goalkeeper, Anthony Gouws and many others, should have been given a chance looking at the good performances they churn out week in and week out, instead of overlooking them for young players just because there is a feeling young players can be developed,” he said.
For his part, football scribe Tshepho Molwane said that while he felt there were some players the coach should not have selected into the team, he understood his explanations and motives.
He opined that the coach’s selection of youngsters feels like a great move, the reason being that it gives unknown players a platform and experience as they will be blending in with the regulars.