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Dhaka Tribune

New BFF academy coach Butler: I’m here to help Bangladesh football

Butler said he will be available for any advice to the national team coaches and other officials

Update : 18 Jan 2024, 11:57 PM

Curiosity arose after a high-profile coach like Peter Butler, who managed a couple of African national sides in the last one decade, came here to take charge of Bangladesh Football Federation Elite Academy that currently has only two age-group teams.

Former West Ham United midfielder Butler also has vast experience of coaching in different Asian clubs in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand in the last 20 years.

Before anybody asked, the 57-year old cleared the inquisitiveness during the initial speech at his debut press briefing in Bangladesh Thursday after landing in Dhaka the previous day.

“I think if you don’t really support the youth, you don’t strengthen your group with young competitive players, you don’t have competitive edge moving forward. I always have a big belief in youth troop,” Butler said after meeting the players at Kamalapur Stadium.

“I coached Botswana for three years and took them to 86th in the FIFA rankings with young players who are playing in different places in Africa and Europe. So, I’m a big believer in youth. You may ask me why I coached national team level for long time and came to work with youth level because these lives are the footprints of future of Bangladesh football.”

Yet, Butler could not avoid the inevitable question from the reporters for joining the academy of a country currently languishing at 184th in the world, a stark contrast to the past when he had worked with a national team ranked among the top 100.

He replied, “During my three years in Liberia (2019-22), I decided I needed a new challenge and a change. This opportunity came up. Some people may say I’m over qualified for it which I disagree with. You can learn something from everybody.

“I’m a simple humble guy from Yorkshire. If I can help these young players, I guess, some will come and some will go. The coaches are around so that I can pass my knowledge. If they can learn from me and I can learn from them, the development of Bangladesh football will improve over my period.”

Butler also replied to a different query, “I want to give the young lads emphasis and opportunity to improve, not only in football but also as human being. I think this is really important. It’s a part of my development journey and these guys are just starting it.”

Butler during his West Ham United days

On the first day, he shared an open message with the young players who are not so different to the young boy who grew up in Yorkshire, England.

He dreamt of becoming a professional footballer and play for big clubs.

Butler is a Leeds United fan and wanted to play for them but then turned out for the Hammers and a host of other clubs.

“The most important thing is about trying,” said Butler.

He continued, “I have spoken to the players, it’s not about getting an increment of 10-20% overnight. That doesn’t happen. Every day you come to training you have to be learning. You pick up information. It’s like having a memory bank. That’s what I have been trying to emphasize on. It’s a continuous learning process.”

The British coach also talked about his initial plan.

“I want my young lads to grow up being creative and play on the front foot. There is no way my team can sit back. It’s all about being pragmatic, crosses to crosses and getting the best out of what you have got. I want my team to play attacking football because that’s what excites people and that’s what encourages young players to want to come to training and learn,” he said.

Butler also said he will be available for any advice to the national team coaches and other officials.

“If the national team’s coach or others ask me for any advice or anything to know I’ll be more than happy to give advice. I’m here to help Bangladesh football and help the young lads and the coaches,” he concluded.

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