Futsal: Pace and skills are the words often used while describing a futsal match. While still in the shadow of football in the country, futsal has carved out its own prominent space especially among the youth today.

For a non-football follower, a futsal game equates to a football match. While for those who play the game, futsal is different from a normal football game.

Futsal was started in the 1930s in South America to teach players a faster pace and encourage pinpoint accuracy flicks, tricks and foundational skills.  Futsal literally translates to room football and is played indoors with five players, a smaller and heavier ball with a restricted bounce and a four-second time limit on kick-ins and goalkeeping distribution.

While Bhutan still lacks an indoor futsal court, people are seen playing the game in open spaces. There are numerous futsal teams taking part in the various tournaments organised every year.

One team reigns supreme in this arena. Kuenjung FC, a team that was formed by a group of four students in a classroom at Yangchenphu HSS in early 2012.

Kuenjung FC is the most successful futsal team in the country today. The team defeated Vink FC 3-2 to win the Nazhoen Cup title, the team’s 13th futsal title in four years yesterday at the Changlingmithang parking lot.

The team radiated confidence from the go, putting intese pressure on their opponents. However, it took almost 28 minutes for Kuenjung FC to break the deadlock. Nima Wangdi’s powerful left-footer gave Kuenjung the lead just before the interval.

But their opponents, Vink FC weren’t fazed and equalised in the opening seconds of the second half. With a renewed spirit, Vink FC’s Pema Tsheltrim got his second in the game with a sneaky flick a few minutes after he scored his first goal.

The seesaw battle continued and Kuenjung’s Purna Kumar achieved an equaliser. With 20 minutes remaining, skipper Jamyang Gyeltshen banged in the winning goal for Kuenjung.

“We were confident of winning the competition since we were the champions last year,” said Jamyang Gyeltshen. “It is our 13th title so far and we are grateful to the organisers for conducting the competition.”

The weeklong tournament organised by a youth group, Creative Team, saw 10 teams take part in the competition. The tournament was conducted to meaningfully engage youth during the winter vacation.

Started with just four players on the team, Kuenjung FC today has 17 players including two national players. “We have a dream to play in the Premier Futsal, the most renowned futsal league in India today,” said Jamyang Gyeltshen.

The 19-year-old skipper said that although many don’t take futsal seriously, the game provides a platform for skills development for young footballers. “Futsal builds talents for football.”

Younten Tshedup 

Additional reporting by 

interns – Sonam Wangdi and Tashi Dorji