*Booted out of AFCON, Zebras set for dismal COSAFA showing
Fresh from a disappointing exit from the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, senior National team coach Peter Butler look set for similarly tough Cosafa campaign in Namibia next weekend.
An easy person to get into talking mode, Butler does very little to hide his frustrations with the direction football is taking in the country.
The Briton, who’s known to air his frustrations with the mother body Botswana Football Association on Twitter, finds himself between a rock and a hard place.
On one hand he has to deal with an association in disarray on the other he has to live with the high expectations of tens of thousands of Zebras supporters.
“We are all upset that we lost against Uganda. It was a winnable match but our preparations were not good enough,” said Butler in an interview with Voice Sport.
Butler, who had turned the recently-completed Francistown Sports Complex into a fortress, bemoaned his charges lack of game time ahead of the crucial match.
“It showed in the first half,” he said, adding, “We kicked on in the second half. Lesh (Lesego Galenamothale) came in and did really well.”
Butler said a lack of competitive matches ahead of crucial encounters like the Uganda game should never be allowed to happen, especially if the team harbors realistic intentions of qualifying for regional and international tournaments.
“I never dwell much on the negatives. I only look at the positives. I was happy with the performance of debutant Lesenya Ramoroka,” Butler said, as if in anticipation of the next question about his tactics and throwing the youngster into the deep end.
“I have no regrets about starting him. He is an amazing player with all the attributes of a modern footballer. He has speed and skill and he’s destined for greater things,” said the popular coach.
What then is next for PJB?
“Our next assignment is the COSAFA tournament in Namibia and we are up against the hosts on the 18th. But I have just learnt that Township Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs have to go for playoffs to determine the 2015/16 season Champions – this is crazy,” complained Butler.
The Zebras mentor said should the playoffs go ahead as planned, his preparations for the COSAFA Cup will be completely ruined. He said his players are supposed to report for camp on Thursday.
“I don’t know if players will turn up. I may have to go to Namibia with Team B, as we have to leave on the 15th,” he said.
“I have Namibia on the 18th and most of my players are needed for playoffs. Who came up with this idea of playoffs?” asked Butler.
“Both Rollers and Chiefs don’t want the playoffs, who are they for,” he demanded.
The passionate Englishman, whose target, among others, was to send the Zebras to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon is under pressure to deliver.
But with the chaotic scenes currently gripping local football, the Briton has had to endure many sleepless nights to ponder alone.
Now, with more disrupted preparations ahead of a regional tournament, Butler faces more long, lonely nights as he silently sobs into his pillow, dreaming of what could have been.