English Coach James Butler Named as New Lone Star Coach

MONROVIA, Montserrado – The Liberia Football Association has unveiled English coach Peter James Butler as the new head coach of the Lone Star.

The unveiling ceremony was done on Tuesday, August 21 at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium, which also hosts the offices of the football house. The 52-year-old English tactician replaced Thomas Kojo, who had been with the Lone Star since 2017 when he replaced James Salinsa Debbah.

Butler signed a year’s contract, with the mandate of qualifying the Lone Star for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations that will be hosted in Cameroon. The financial details were not released during the official press conference but LFA president Mustapha Raji told journalists that it would soon be released to the public.

According to Raji, Butler’s selection was made from a list of five coaches who were shortlisted by the technical arm of the football house.

Speaking to the media after being announced as head coach of Liberia, Butler said he was excited to be named head coach and is looking forward to working with local coaches to identify talents that Liberia has.

“I’ve met few already and will be working with them at the national team to help the talents and the growth of the national team,” Butler said.

He further expressed his confidence in helping the team qualify for the African Cup of Nations.

“If I didn’t think it was possible, I wouldn’t have taken the task. With the work we will put in, the work of the players, we can achieve that,” he said.

Butler’s first match as head coach will come on September 2 when the Lone Star takes on Sierra Leone in the first leg of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup preliminary qualifiers. Lone Star will host their West African counterparts on September 2 in Monrovia before the return leg in Freetown on September 10. Liberia must get past Sierra Leone before entering the group stage of the qualifiers.

Butler is a former footballer who made over 450 appearances in the English Premier League and the lower leagues in England. He played for West Ham United, Notts County, Huddlesfied Town, West Bromwich Albion, Cambridge United, Southend United, Bury Football Club, Grimsby Town Football Club, and Halifax Town Football Club. Butler played for nine clubs in the English Premier League and lower leagues before moving to Australia to play for Sorento Football Club, which was his last club in 2002.

He began his managerial career while playing for Halifax Town Football Club in 2000 before his move to Australia. He served as a player and caretaker manager at the club before moving to Sorento Football Club in Australia as manager and player. He remained at Sorento Football Club until 2002 when he moved to Asia, where he spent most of the time as head coach and technical director for clubs in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Myanmar.

In Malaysia, Butler served as head coach for Sabah FA, Kelantan FA, Terenganu FA and T-Team FC while in Indonesia, he served as head coach for Persiba Balikpapan, Persipura Jayapura, and PSMS Medan. He also served as head coach for the Singapore Armed Forces Club, Police Tero F.C. in Thailand, and technical director of Myanmar’s Yangon United. Butler’s first stint in Africa was 2014 when he signed with Botswana. He spent three years with Bostwana before moving to Paltinum Stars Football Club in South Africa, where he spent a year.

Featured photo courtesy of Anthony Kokoi

T Kla Wesley Jr.

T. Kla Wesley Jr. is a member of the Sports Writers Association of Liberia.

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