Thinley Namgay

Sixteen years ago, Amir Rai experienced a life-altering event when he suffered an electric shock, resulting in the loss of one of his arms. At the time, being the only child in his family, concerns about his future weighed heavily on his mind.

However, Amir found solace in his passion for football, which helped him overcome the challenges of having just one arm.

With the unwavering support of his parents and relatives, his health gradually improved. Amir’s love for football was evident from his early school days, and he continued to play the sport despite the doubts of society regarding his abilities without a complete pair of hands.

Contrary to expectations, Amir defied the odds and earned a spot as a regular player on his school’s football team. Today, Amir Rai from Tendruk, Samtse, is the captain of Chukha Central School’s football team, where he is currently in class XII.

A pivotal moment for Amir occurred in 2011 when a local club from Tendruk invited him to participate in the Phuentsholing Open Tournament. The team achieved second place in the tournament, providing Amir with a sense of accomplishment that fueled his dedication to football.

At the age of 26, Amir gained widespread recognition on social media following his outstanding performance in the recent Bhutan HSS Football Championship.

Throughout the dzongkhag, regional, and national matches, Amir showcased his skills by scoring an impressive 11 goals. He proved to be a key playmaker as an attacking midfielder for his team. Despite his team’s 12-3 loss in the final to Yangchenphug HSS, Amir’s precision in passing and exceptional dribbling abilities garnered applause from the spectators at the Changlimithang Stadium.

Amir’s journey also led him to change schools, from Tendruk Central School to Chukha Central School, where he crossed paths with his current coach, Sonam Wangchuk. Amir holds deep admiration for his coach’s guidance.

“Football is an integral part of my life. I have a genuine passion for this sport. If there isn’t a football pitch nearby, I practice at home,” Amir expressed, emphasizing his dream of playing for the national team and representing his country on the international stage.

He added, “Football changed my perspective on life, fostering friendships, leadership skills, and discipline.”

Amir credits his unwavering dedication to football to the support he receives from his parents and school. He believes that one should pursue what they genuinely love.

Coach Sonam Wangchuk acknowledges Amir’s leadership skills as the team captain and sees even greater potential for Amir with proper coaching. Unlike many footballers in the country, Amir did not receive formal grassroots and youth coaching at an early age.

According to Sonam Wangchuk, Amir is not only a talented footballer but also a frank, soft-spoken, and humble student.