Despite numerous reports about the deteriorating working relationship between Botswana Football Association Chief Executive Officer Keith Masters and Zebras coach Peter Butler, the CEO has denied any bad blood between them. This follows a blast from Butler, who is seemingly frustrated with his working relations with Masters.
This week the Butler cited that the CEO was not working well with him. Even though he would not say exactly what was going on he was visibly disturbed saying he is disappointed with the CEO. It is reported that on Monday when the team returned from Tunisia the two had a misunderstanding that led to the coach threatening to quit his job and go back to England. Butler, who was cagey about full details of the fall-out, pointed that he said all that out of total frustration.
Masters conceded that even though Butler is visibly furious with him he does not understand what the issue could be. “If he has a problem he should have come to me and addressed the issue with me. He never did that instead he went to the media,” said Masters. The CEO’s statement, however, is in contradiction with what Butler said as he narrated that the two met and talked. Masters maintained that this never happened, saying “even today (Friday) we were to meet and he did not come”.
The CEO said it is very unfortunate that the coach is taking him up with things that he does not know. He insisted that he is a professional and would continue to work with Butler like before. Masters went on to say “Butler is a good coach and needs our support and we will continue to support him like we have always been doing”.
There have been numerous media reports that the two Englishmen’s working relationship was getting sour by the day, but Masters refuted this claim. He took a swipe at the local media, saying it is fond of negativity in whatever they report on.
According to Masters, he and the coach have been enjoying a good working relationship and there has never been any bad blood between them. “Even right now I do not have an issue with him; it is unfortunate that he has decided to take me on issues that I do not know. Yes people can have disagreements and different opinions but we have never had a bad working relationship. I can never deny the coach what should be given to him nor give him what he is not entitled to,” exclaimed Masters. Even though the CEO did not explain his statement further, there have been reports that upon their return the coach requested for the appearance fee which he is not entitled to.
Asked whether the current tense atmosphere between the two BFA officials could not somehow affect the Zebras players in their quest to qualify for the African Cup of Nations final the coach said what happens outside the field of play stays there. He said he and the team have a very good understanding and they know what he wants so such issues will never distract them. On the same issue Masters pointed that he does not wish for the so called infighting to affect the team.
The team currently has a mountain to climb having suffered two defeats to Tunisia and Senegal. They now have to win all the remaining games to stand a better chance of going through. Despite all this Butler and Master finally agreed on one thing, that the Zebras still have a chance to qualify. “The coach has assembled a very good team and they are playing very well together as a result I remain realistic that they still have the chance to qualify,” said Masters.