Thinley Namgay

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) presented Paro Football Club (FC) the Best Grassroots Club Award 2019 for “outstanding work by a club in grassroots football development” at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on November 19.

Paro FC is the first Bhutanese football club to receive the award.

The AFC also honoured the advocates of grassroots football and the Woman Youth Coach of the Year for their contributions to the sport at the AFC Special Grassroots and Elite Women’s Youth Football Awards 2019.

Paro FC and ISF Football Programme based in Cambodia were conferred the Best Grassroots Club and Best Grassroots Project respectively.

Paro FC won the award because of its focus on youth through its ‘Catch Them Young’ and ‘Keep Them Moving’ initiatives. The club was recognised also for reaching other communities in the country by organising football programmes for monks, the disabled and parents.

For her dedication in coaching the youth, Hong Kong’s Chan Shuk Chi was awarded as the Women Youth Coach of the Year. Japan’s Eiichiro Matsuki received the Best Grassroots Leader award.

Paro FC’s President Karma Jigme received the award in person. He said he was surprised.

He said, “We’re a new club and there are other clubs who’ve done good work as well. It’s a huge honour for our club and the credit goes to all the players and coaching staff.”

“The award will help our club and football in general,” he said.

Paro FC’s Technical Director and Head Coach, Puspalal Sharma said, “Within a year, we’ve won one of the highest awards in grassroots football. Our achievement reflects the commitment, hard work and dedication we’ve put in to professionalise football with proper planning, organisation and execution.”

The club has set to win the BOB Bhutan Premier League 2019.  Paro FC became the first club from Paro to win the league.

Paro FC’s Technical Director and Head Coach, Puspalal Sharma said that the experience and result in the last season helped them to win the BOB Bhutan Premier League this year.

The club won first runners up trophy of Bhutan National League and subsequently crowned as the Champion of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Memorial Gold Cup last season.

He said that the club had planned the players’ recruitment intelligently, investment in the club was well weighed, and had a rigorous pre-season preparation.

Paro FC was established in 2017.