As the curtain prepares to fall on another BOB national league season at the Changlingmithang stadium this weekend, the race to become the best goalkeeper in the league is open until tomorrow.
Unlike past editions, the national league 2018 was one of the most unpredictable seasons of the toughest and the premier football competition in the country. The final fixtures will decide the champions of the league tomorrow.
In the previous edition, Transport United FC sealed the championship fate before the final game week of the league. The club suffered only one loss last year. The goalkeeper recorded more than eight clean sheets.
However, the league this year saw the winners of the previous edition, Transport United and Thimphu City FC drop to third and fourth spots. There was a minimum clean sheet record.
Competition officer with Bhutan Football Federation, Kinley Dorji, said the league this year saw the clubs outside Thimphu contest for the title. “The clubs from Thimphu dominated the past three editions. Asian Football Federation nominated the league as AFC’s developing best football league of the year, which is a clear sign that our league is developing,” he said.
The league for the first time will be giving the best goalkeeper award this edition.
The clean sheet record this edition is closely contested among the goalies from Transport United FC, Thimphu City FC, Thimphu FC, and Paro FC with all four goalkeepers recording at least two clean sheets.
Leading the clean sheet record is Hari Gurung of Transport United FC, Ngawang Jamphel of Thimphu City FC, Kinzang Gyeltshen of Thimphu FC and Karma L Chophel from the league leaders, Paro FC.
Transport United’s goalkeeper, Hari Gurung, played the maximum number of competitive matches with the national team and is one of the most experienced goalkeepers in the country.
He, however, could not make it to the SAFF Suzuki Cup squad in September this year under the newly appointed national team coach Trevor Morgan.
His chance to prove his best as goalkeeper was in the national league 2018 and the goalie has to date secured the highest number of clean sheets. Hari Gurung records three clean sheets.
Close behind him is Ngawang Jamphel of Thimphu City FC with two clean sheets. The goalkeeper made third highest saves in SAFF Suzuki Cup held in September in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Despite taking in the squad as the second goalie, he outperformed the first goalie and made to the first eleven. He was also listed among the top three goalkeepers that made the maximum saves in the SAFF Suzuki championship.
Kinzang Gyeltshen of Thimphu FC also has two clean sheets although his team Thimphu FC played a struggling season this edition ending the season in bottom two spots.
Recording both his clean sheets against the teams from Thimphu, Thimphu City FC and Thimphu FC, Sangay L Chophel from Paro FC has made it to the top four goalies that secured the maximum clean sheet in the league.
Paro FC leads the league currently although the club played the national league for the first time this year.
The league this year saw many competent goalkeepers play. The debutant, Phuentsholing United played a goalkeeper from India, goalkeepers from Ugyen Academy FC, Transport United, and Thimphu City FC played with national squad at least once.
Paro FC’s substitute goalkeeper Sangay L Chophel is the youngest of the league and has recorded two clean sheets in three games.