Liberia: Peter James Butler Unveiled as Lone Star’s New Coach

Lone Star’s new head coach, Peter James Butler and Liberia Football President Mustapha Raji signing the agreement for Butler to take over the national football team

Monrovia – Englishman, Peter James Butler has been confirmed as the permanent coach of senior national team of Liberia.

 Butler has signed a one year contract with the Liberia Football Association with the option to extend based on performance.

The 52- year-old appointment was rubber-stamped at an FA board meeting at its headquarters in Monrovia on Wednesday as the Englishman becoming Liberia third national team head coach in less four years.

Butler, who was given a mandate to qualify Lone Star to the African Cup of Nations and the World Cup, said during his unveiling ceremony that to coach Liberia was an opportunity that he could not turn down.

“I am very pleased to become the new coach of Liberia and it was an opportunity wish really I did not want to turn down.”

“It was not a money moved, I can assure and it is not about financial gain. It is about a great challenge that I will contribute into the rise of Liberian football and not just on the senior national team front but also on the respective levels. 

Butler was unveiled Wednesday, August 21, at a well-attended press conference in Monrovia at the headquarters of the Liberia football association.

The Englishman was confirmed as head coach without a ‘backroom staff’ at a short ceremony which took place at the LFA headquarters.

The former Botswana national team and Platinum Star, a South African football team, coach succeeds Thomas Kojo as head coach of Liberia.

The LFA is yet to make known Coach Butler’s financial value for the contract he signed.

It is believed that Thomas Kojo was told via mobile phone by the LFA that his services were no longer needed. He has been allegedly told to return the LFA vehicle given him.

Raji told reporters at a news conference before Liberia’s match with Senegal that Kojo was given a mandate to qualify Liberia to the next round of the African Nations Championship.

Raji said the contract with the English coach is a one-year deal, nothing that the Englishman is tasked with the mandate to qualify Liberia to the World Cup or Nations Cup.

He said Kojo’s mandate ended after failing to qualify Liberia to CHAN.

Raji said the appointment of Butler was as a result of the executive committee’s agreement for the Englishman to take over the country national team.

“We hope and believe that Mr. Butler will bring the needed change to Liberian football to help other coaches to develop football in Liberia,” the LFA President said.

According to the LFA President, the English coach will be in Liberia to help develop football in the country while working with the local Liberian coaches.

Butler’s first game will be on September 2, 2019 against Sierra Leone.

 Addressing the media for the first time as Liberia’s coach, Butler said the deal was not about money but to help and develop the hidden talent in Liberia.

This is a great challenge of contributing to the rise of Liberian talents from all levels.

He said he is not in Liberia to bring foreign coaches but to work with Liberian coaches.

“The ultimate goal is to improve FIFA ranking and qualify for Afcon”

 “Anything is possible if you believe and we have to be pragmatic and realistic about the situation,” Butler told the media.

In his words Liberia has some fantastic players that he can identify to bring in the national team and qualify the team.

He said there are many George Weah’s in Liberia that he can develop so he is Liberia   to bring out the best talents in the country.

 He has meanwhile volunteered his service to work with the various national teams of Liberia.

 “I was approached and couldn’t turn down the offer. I am not here for the money but for the challenge,” he added.

Brief profile of Peter James Butler

Butler is an English coach who has worked in Africa and Asia in different capacities. 

From 1999-2000, Butler was caretaker coach of English football league side Halifax Town, he then, moved to Australian side Sorrento FC where he became player coach in 2000 and setup their academy. 

In 2009, he was Technical Director and head coach of Yangon United FC in Myanmar. Butler, who is a holder of a UEFA Pro License, was appointed in 2014 as the head coach of Botswana where relative young squad reached the Group stages of AFCON 2015 qualifiers after knockout Burundi and Guinea Bissau in the preliminaries round.

Butler resigned as coach of the Botswana in 2017 and was later appointed as the head coach of Platinum Star in the South African Premier League but departed the position in September the same year. 

Controversial Moment

Butler taking charge of his second spell as coach of Kelantan in 2011 left the club after he states that he could not work with Annuar  Musa as he was unhappy with the club signing of players above his head. 

Following his resignation, he was hired by Indonesia Super league side Persiba Balikpapan but resigned from the club controversially in 2012. 

However, the club challenge his resignation. 

Butler took charge as head coach at Terengganu FA on June 1, 2012 and reprimanded two players two for returning from a night out at 3AM before a match.

Butler actions was backed by the public but the club’s management did not support his stance which led to a six-month ban and fined RM 4,000 which is equivalent to US$962, 15 percent of his monthly salary and the termination of his contract.

The situation was investigated by the Malaysian’s disciplinary board and he was exonerated charges, and the club ordered to pay his remaining of his two months salary.