Tshering Yangchen started playing football since she was 10. First, she played for the school team. After 2009, she played for the national team.

After she could not qualify for undergraduate studies, she chose to drop out and begin working. She got a job at the Bhutan Football Federation as a focal person in Chukha.

From a player to becoming a coach in just 12 years, Tshering Yangchen’s football journey has been swift.

She is among the 25 women who are undergoing a two-week women’s C-level certificate course in Tsirang.

“This coaching course will be a booster to my footballing skills. It’ll enhance my career and make me a better coach,” she said.

As a BFF focal person in Chukha, her responsibility is to groom under-12 footballers.

The course she and her friends are undergoing has two aspects – theory and practical – which will later be evaluated by the Asian Football Confederation.

If the participants make it through, these women will hold C-level licence as a coach. C-level licence is the first step towards becoming a fully-fledged coach.

One of the main objectives of the course is to provide equal opportunities to women in the sports.

Bhutan Football Federation has selected candidates who are either already a footballer or are involved in the game. Others are from Pepsi Thimphu League and Bank of Bhutan (BoB) National League. Two participants are national players.

The existing nine clubs of Pepsi Thimphu League and six clubs of BoB league are guided by male coaches. However, some of the clubs also do without the guidance of a coach. It is expected that these licensed women coaches will begin coaching women clubs or teams in the near future.

Asian Football Federation course instructor Chokey Nima, who was also the former National Team coach, said that women football being at an initial stage, taking women to a coach level would be a long journey. Yet effort is being made to make them a better coach.

“We’ll be using these coaches in the development of football in the country, their performance will determine the quality of players we will have in the future,” he said.

He added that irrespective of gender in the sport it is a huge challenge for BFF to produce quality coaches in the country. It will be another 20-25 years before Bhutan will have quality coaches.

“However it is always not necessary that a coach should be a player, how he conducts in the field make the difference,” instructor Chokey Nima said.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang