Football: After four consecutive unsuccessful seasons, Thimphu City FC finally broke the curse and lifted their first Thimphu A-League title at the Changlimithang Stadium on Sunday.
Under a revamped team, City scored a staggering 44 goals in 14 games, the highest in the season. At the same time, the team also conceded the least number of goals (11) and registered five clean-sheets during the league.
City could have been the first invincible team to have won a league title in the country, however, a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Druk United in the final game of the season held the team from achieving such glory.
City’s head coach Passang Tshering said that winning the title was an added reward for the team’s hard work and commitment to the game. “Our primary objective was to qualify for the national league,” he said. “It’s an overwhelming moment for our team to have won the title this season.”
The club also made some major reshuffles not only in its squad but also in the backroom. Before the beginning of the league, City merged its management with Paro Yuljong Futsal Club, strengthening its backroom potency.
Considered to be one of the strongest teams with 10 players from the national squad, City, like in the previous seasons were again the crowd favourites in the race for the title.
However, it was the young lads of the team who displayed their potential this season in the absence of some of the big names from the national squad due to injuries.
The team manager, Hishey Tshering said that although winning the league has been a team effort, the contributions from the young players during the season were remarkable.
The skipper of the team, Tshering Dorji (Tsagay) who was declared the best player of the season, said that the club’s primary intention of qualifying for the national league was successfully completed and the team expects to carry on the same momentum into the national league that begins next month.
“The national league is by far the biggest league in the country today and the pressure to perform better will be on us,” said Tshering Dorji. “We are expecting it to be more challenging. We’ll try and give our best and with every game we’ll better ourselves.”
Passang Tshering is hopeful that the club’s defence line will be much stronger once the injured players namely, Dawa Gyeltshen, Jigme T Dorji, Manoj and Chimi Dorji are back for the national league.
“No team is perfect. We are still in the process of strengthening the team and filling the voids wherever necessary,” said Passang Tshering.
City is making its move to bring in FC Terton skipper, Tshering Wangdi in the attack line. The former Drukpol FC goalie Leki has also now joined the champions for the upcoming national league.
Meanwhile, along with City, the first and second runners up, Thimphu FC and Druk United have also qualified for the national league. Paro United FC, Ugyen Academy FC and a team from Phuentsholing will join the three teams for the league in July.
A total of eight teams took part in the two-month long Thimphu League.