Thinley Namgay 

Over the past five years, the Bhutan Premier League (BPL) has seen participation from only two teams—Gelephu FC and Phuentsholing FC from the southern region of Bhutan. 

While the southern region is widely regarded as a football hub, the BPL has predominantly featured teams from areas such as Thimphu, Paro, and Punakha.

There has been a notable shift in this trend for the upcoming 2024 BPL. In the upcoming season, scheduled to commence next month, a total of four teams from the southern region will be participating. This marks the highest number of teams from the south to participate in the league thus far.

Three are newcomers: Samtse FC, Tsirang FC, and Daga United FC. The fourth team, Phuentsholing Heroes FC, previously participated in the league in 2019.

All 10 teams have now been officially confirmed.

Samtse FC, Tsirang FC, Daga United FC, and Phuentsholing Heroes FC will be facing off against last year’s top six teams in the BPL, which include Paro FC, Thimphu City FC, Transport United FC, RTC FC, Druk Lhayul FC, and Tensung FC.

The new teams are confident to ensure a competitive 2024 BPL. Foreign recruits in their teams are expected to make an impact.

Ugyen Academy FC, one of the regular contestants in the BPL, didn’t qualify this year. The team lost their final game of the Pepsi BPL Qualifiers against Samtse FC 0-2 on April 6 in Samtse.

Last year’s BPL teams, Namlha FC and Thimphu Raven FC, also failed to secure a BPL seat. Both teams were able to manage a point each from seven games in the qualifiers.

Organisers said that this year’s Pepsi League Qualifiers were competitive. The league title holder, Daga United FC, acquired 15 points, followed by Samtse FC and Tsirang FC with 13 points each, Phuentsholing Heroes FC with 12 points, and Ugyen Academy FC and Southern City FC with 11 points each.