Thinley Namgay  

In a fervent development that is sure to captivate the hearts of football aficionados, Bhutan is poised to take center stage as it welcomes a gathering of five nations next month for the highly anticipated 2023 SAFF Under-16 Championship. 

Against the breathtaking backdrop of the Changlimithang Stadium, a palpable sense of anticipation builds in the air.

The scheduled tournament, spanning from September 1 to 10, will witness the clash of titans among Bhutan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Maldives, and Pakistan, igniting an enthralling contest of youthful prowess and spirited competition.

A prominent highlight of this sporting spectacle is Bhutan’s eminent participation, marking their sixth appearance on the regional stage. 

India, resolute in their pursuit of glory, stands as the reigning champion, having secured the coveted title on four occasions, an achievement that sets the tone for a gripping showdown.

With the teams divided into two dynamic groups, the stage is set for an enthralling contest of strategies and skills. 

Group A boasts the formidable presence of India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, while Group B houses the host nation Bhutan, alongside the Maldives and Pakistan. 

The grand opening on September 1 will witness Bhutan locking horns with Pakistan.

In a departure from tradition, this iteration of the squad stands distinguished by the inclusion of five talented players scouted from local clubs, underlining Bhutan’s determination to cultivate a formidable and multifaceted team.

Buoyed by the unflinching support of their fervent home crowd, Bhutan’s aspirations soar high as they set their sights on clinching the championship crown this year. 

Yeshi Wangchuk, the U-16 coach, exudes confidence in his charges, affirming, “I am confident in my boys. They have been meticulously trained and will undoubtedly shine on the grand stage.” The palpable enthusiasm within the team is aptly summed up by his statement, “I am very excited and hopeful for a victorious campaign.”