The 10 day championship ended yesterday with Nepal retaining its champion’s title

After securing two wins and two losses, Bhutan won the fair play trophy in the South Asian Football Federation-Under 18 championship that ended yesterday at the Changlimithang Stadium in Thimphu. Nepal defended its champion’s title and won the championship.

An overwhelming campaign from home ended after Bhutan lost to Bangladesh 0-2 in the final game.

Bangladesh lost its previous match to Nepal and was working hard since the kick-off to prove that they were the title favorites. The defending line of the home side led by skipper Chimi Tshewang stopped all scoring attempts of Bangladesh. The first half ended goalless.

It took 82 minutes for Bangladesh to break through the defending line of Bhutan with its striker Jafar Iqbal scoring an opener.  The striker doubled the lead four minutes later to give his team a comfortable win over Bhutan.

Bhutan’s team captain Chimi Tshewang said that the team played well. “We tried our best and the win over Nepal made us confident. However, the situation in the game is different from what we expect. I am confident that we will perform better in future with this experience. Passing levels are same but we need to build our stamina,” he said.

With a total of five goals scored, Jafar Iqbal won the top scorer trophy.

Bhutan’s coach Song Jun Lee said he was not surprised with the result. “Performance of the team is more important than the result. The team’s performance was different in different games. They were good sometimes. We need more practice and change the way we see the game situations.”

The starting match against the Maldives, Nepal, and India was difficult, the coach said. “However, we performed better. The boys tried hard and it is not easy to achieve anything in football.”

Bangladesh coach Mahabub Hossain Roksy said it was difficult to break the defending line of Bhutan. “It was my strategy to bring in the striker while the defense was tired in the second half.”

Bangladesh’s win over Bhutan kept their title hopes alive. However, the celebrations and joy of Bangladesh were short lived. In the other final match, Nepal scored an opener within three minutes against India.

Nepal’s midfield Dinesh Henjan scored the opener and doubled the lead to give his side a comfortable win over India. Nepal won the match 2-0 to clinch the title two times in a row.

Recognising the excellent performance and for being the game-changing player for his team, Dinesh Henjan won the most valuable player award of the championship.

Bhutan hosted the ten-day championship that started on September 18 for the first time with support from South Asian Football Federation. The championship saw the Maldives leaving out earlier without a win.

Despite being its first international tournament, Bhutan finished fourth with an equal point to India that stood third. However, Bhutan is the only team to beat the champions Nepal in this edition.