Final squad will be announced on Friday

Football: Veteran player Passang Tshering was asked to join the 23-man final squad that will play against Hong Kong in the first game of the second round of the World Cup qualification on June 11.

With over 15 years of experience playing for the country, the 32-year-old striker turned mid-fielder will be an asset for the national team once the list is confirmed on May 22. 

Passang Tshering who played for the Bhutanese national squad from 1998-2013 has played a key role in the team scoring more than 15 international goals.

After his last game in the 2013 South Asian Football Federation tournament in Nepal, Passang Tshering switched to coaching. He is currently coaching the under-15 national team. “Not officially but I thought I had retired from the game,” he said.

Passang Tshering said that he was actually planning to coach one of the local football clubs, Thimphu City FC but landed up playing for the club. “The manager wanted me to play for the club since the team was lacking strong players in the centre,” he said. Passang has scored eight goals with the club in the ongoing Yanmar Thimphu Premier League.

Striker Chencho Gyeltshen said that a player of his caliber and experience will definitely make a big difference in the game against Hong Kong. Referring him as one of the best mid-fielders in the country, Chencho said as a striker, he couldn’t have asked for any better mid-fielder.

Passang said he never thought he will play in the World Cup. “I’m very excited and this is a golden opportunity for me to be a part of the World Cup,” he said. “If I’m selected I’ll play the best football of my life for my country.”

The new Japanese head coach of the national football team, Tsukitate Norio, has been scouting for players to strengthen the national squad from the ongoing Yanmar Thimphu Premier League.

Along with Passang Tshering, the captain of the current league leaders, FC Tertons’ Kinley Wangchuk and five more players have been named in the tentative 30-man squad for the match against Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, defender Man Bahadur Gurung who played in the first round of the World Cup qualifiers against Sri Lanka has injured his ankle while playing in the Yanmar League. His chances of making it to the final squad will be decided on May 22 when the final 23-man squad will be confirmed.    

By Younten Tshedup