A monthly salary of Nu 10,000 a month will be paid only to those not on federation scholarships

Football: The Bhutan Football Federation (BFF) has selected an 18-man new national football squad, some of who will be paid a monthly salary of Nu 10,000.

The technical director, Chokey Nima, read the names of the players yesterday morning, in the presence of the players and BFF officials.  However, BFF didn’t want to share the team list.

The media spokesperson, who chose not to be named, said the new salary system  will bring more professionalism to the game.  Players were selected from football clubs in the capital, considering their technical, tactical, physical and mental skills.  The selection committee included international and senior coaches, and officials from the federation.

Five names are on standby.  Officials said those on standby are currently in colleges outside the country, but were on standby as they are good footballers.

Players, who are on scholarship from the federation, and who are kept at the federation’s academy, will not be eligible for the monthly salary.

Ugyen Tsheten, a Royal Thimphu college graduate, is a defender with the national team. “I’m very happy with the new system (salary),” he said.  “With such provisions, more will develop interest in the game.”  Ugyen added that, with a salary, footballers could make a living out of football. “Most parents didn’t support their children as there was no money in it.”

The media spokesperson said that they were looking for sponsors in countries like Japan and the United Kingdom to provide the players with better equipment and gear.  At present, BFF is funding everything. “The standard of football has improved, both in terms of skills and facilities. Today, people have started investing in the game, which is a positive sign for the future development of the game in the country,” he said.

The squad will start their first training as the national team today at the Chang Jiji football ground.   The team will be coached by the technical director of the federation, Chokey Nima.  He said that the team has been coached by several international coaches in the past. “I’m afraid whether I could train you all, but with team work and dedication, we can work miracles,” Chokey Nima told the new national team. “We can create history in Bhutanese football if we work together.”

The team’s primary focus at the moment is to prepare for the World Cup qualifying matches.  As of January 2015, Bhutan is placed at 209 in the FIFA ranking.

Younten Tshedup