The President of the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL) has differed with Lone Star head coach Peter Butler following his statement that, “I can’t take passengers on the Lone Star trip,” with reference to picking foreign based player Sam Johnson for the pending match with Cape Verde. SWAL President Kolubah Zayzay said such statement was completely out of order.
“Coach Butler’s statement last week about why he can’t invite Sam Johnson for the Lone Star double World Cup fixture against Cape Verde is very disrespectful and a discouragement not only to the player, but other players who have not in recent times been invited to the team.”
SWAL President Zayzay explained that the coach has no reason(s) to have made such a statement during his recent news conference.
He added that coach Butler’s statement is completely counterproductive to the aspiration of “building a national team.”
According to the SWAL President, coach Butler’s reference to Sam Johnson as “passenger on the Lone Star” needs to be retracted because “he in my mind doesn’t know what or who he was referring to in such a manner.”
The SWAL President noted: “He has so soon forgotten the role Sam Johnson played for Liberia in that very crucial game against Sierra Leone (and other fixtures) which got Liberia to where we are today.”
He stated: “Sam Johnson may not have been able to be a part of recent games because of injuries, but while on the sideline, he has shown often that he’s part of the team and has given his fullest support to the technical team and the entire squad in all the matches.”
Zayzay insists that referring to Sam Johnson as a “passenger” is a complete misrepresentation of the fact by coach Butler.
The SWAL President believes this kind of statement has the propensity to cause chaos and could kill the morale of the Lone Star, because the players are friends and regularly communicate with each other.
He accused coach Butler of taking several players on many occasions on Lone Star trips without fielding them in matches, but still get them on the plane for another trip.
“How does he consider such? Are those players the drivers on the trip or more than passengers?”
Zayzay also thinks the coach’s statement is counterproductive and could create hindrance for the Lone Star in such critical period.
The SWAL President went on to state that the coach’s statement may give other players reasons why they should stay away from the Lone Star.
He told coach Butler that he needs to protect the players by encouraging others that he is pursuing to join the national team.
“As a coach, you can’t make such derogative comments about senior players of your team or should not be making such comment about any player.
“The coach’s statement against the player suggests that there is an issue or say a crisis between the player and he coach Butler. If it be so, why can’t he handle that in the dark rather than describing a star of the national team of Liberia in such a manner?”
As stated by the SWAL President, the coach was under no mandate to include Sam Johnson or any other player on the team if he thought they were not match ready. Instead, he said the coach should have just said they were not part of his game plan, as making such statement was a mockery to players of the national team.
The SWAL President wants such statement to be condemned by all in every form and manner so that players will be respected.