Senior national football team coach Peter Butler has issued a plea to beMobile Premier League clubs to give younger players a chance in first team activities. He has decried the lack of faith given in younger players by league clubs and suggested that it will drop the standard of the local league.
“I really believe that until clubs start playing younger players we are never going to go forward. If you look at the league from when I came here last year, the standard is not as good as the previous year. There are a lot of clubs that are only interested in using older players who have been on the scene for far too long, they have to start taking more risks and be brave to use younger players,” Butler stressed.
“Consequently I do believe every Premier League club should have four under 21 players in their 18 man match day squads. A minimum of two under 21 players should be in the starting line up, personally I would say three but an ideal scenario would be to field to under 21s and have another on the bench. I also think that at Division 1 level there should be a role that states that there should be five under 21s in the starting 11 and that might sound radical but you should also have two under 21s on the bench,” the Zebras coach continued.
“I also believe that the second division should be an under 20 league, I think that if you are 30 years old or more you should not play lower league football. An exception can be made in the case of Boitumelo Mafoko who is 35 years old but is super fit, looks after himself, doesn’t drink, lives right and eats right. He is the perfect example for young players. It is painful to live with the fact that clubs are not utilizing younger players,” the Englishman continued.
“The standard of the league will drop if younger players are not given a chance. There should be rules instructing teams,” he concluded.
Butler spearheaded a youth initiative titled the Future Stars Program towards the end of 2014, the focus was to develop younger players in the Chobe region. The coach conducted a training clinic that focused on under 13, under 15, under 17 and under 21 players with over 250 people involved (including referees).
The program bared results as Andrew Shadreck, one of the players who participated, was signed by Gaborone United. The 20 year old player has also been called up to the national under 23 team. The Zebras coach told this publication that he intends to set up more youth empowering programs under the Botswana Football Association banner, he has urged clubs to follow suit if not get involved.