Liberian FA—The Liberia Football Association (LFA) has unveiled Englishman Peter Butler as head coach. The former Huddersfield Town, West Ham and West Bromwich Albion midfielder replaced former Liberia international Thomas Kojo, who was dismissed following Liberia’s failure to reach the finals of the 2020 African Nations Championship (CHAN) finals in Cameroon. Butler has signed a one-year contract, subject to renewal, with a mandate to qualify Liberia for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations and 2022 World Cup finals.
In an 18-year career as a player, Butler had spells at 10 clubs before going on to hold coaching positions in England, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand and South Africa. Butler’s contract wasn’t renew as Botswana coach in June 2017, having replaced Stanley Tshosane in February 2014, and was appointed as head coach of Platinum Stars in South Africa’s Premier League but left in September 2017.
The 52-year-old was unveiled at a news conference in the board room of the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) on Wednesday, which was attended by LFA Vice Presidents Sekou Konneh (Prof.) and Wilmot Smith; executive committee member Kelvin Bayoh, LFA deputy secretary-general John Bonah, LFA technical director Henry Browne, LFA compliance and integrity officer Morris Barsi Giah, members of LFA technical and development committee and Sam Diatta (Butler’s representative).
“I am very pleased to become the new coach of Liberia. It was an opportunity, which really I didn’t want to turn down. So it is not a money move. I can assure you,” said Butler. “So it is not about financial gain. It is about great challenge of contributing to the rise of Liberian football not just on the senior national team front but also the respective development levels like under-20 and under-17, where needed, I am quite happy to multitask.
“It is very very important to work with Liberian coaches. So I am not thinking about bringing coaches [backroom staff] from outside. There is a huge amount of talent here. “From my experiences of working in English, Asian and African football and trying to enhance the level of the league here and from a development perspective, the ultimate goal is to improve [Liberia’s] Fifa rankings and qualify for Afcon.”
Butler’s first game in charge is a 2022 World Cup qualifier against neighbors Sierra Leone on 4 September in Monrovia with the return leg in Freetown on 8 September. Liberia, after a few weeks’ search, have settled for Butler, who will reside in Monrovia and work with LFA technical director Henry Browne and youth coaches while scouting talents from the national league.
And LFA President Mustapha Raji, who promised to make Butler’s salary public, was understandably delighted with his selection. “Mr. Butler comes to Liberia with a wealth of experience, having coached extensively in Asia and Africa,” said Raji. “So we believe and trust that Mr. Butler will bring a new change in Liberian football, contribute towards the development of our game and help local coaches in sharing his experiences and build the capacity of local players.
“He holds a Uefa Pro License and has been involved in coaching at the developmental level. His work in Botswana speaks volumes and he will be based in Monrovia and working with technical director Henry Brown and the technical and development committee. “He is as hungry for success as we are. Mr. Butler wants a challenge and requested for an immediate unveiling ceremony, which has shown that he has a fire burning in him and wants to deliver.” Liberia’s last foreign coach was Italian Roberto Landi, who was sacked in February 2012, after being in charge for less than a year during which time he won only twice in eight matches.
Main Photo: William Butler