Thinley Namgay  

The 2022 Bhutan Premier League (BPL) next month will witness international players in local clubs and the tournament is expected to become more competitive among the 10 teams.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, clubs could not recruit foreign players for more than two years. In the past two seasons, clubs played matches behind closed doors. 

Recently, the Coronation Cup Champions Druk Lhayul FC signed three players in their 20s: Zacharie Kouame from Ivory Coast, Nigeria’s Ekomobong Victor Philip and Jerry Sidi from Liberia. 

Druk Lhayul FC’s general secretary Sonam Tenzin said that two more players would join the squad soon.   

These five players will play in forward, defence and mid positions.      

Each club is allowed to recruit only five international players as per the norms of the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF).

Sonam Tenzin said that people are charged fees to watch the games in the stadium and foreign players would excite them.

Moreover, he said the games would be aired live on social media and viewers from across the country could watch the talents. 

Sonam Tenzin said that for the development of the sport in the country, foreign players are helpful. “It is an opportunity for the local and international players to learn from each other. All participating teams are almost equally competent and the matches would be competitive.”

Paro FC’s head coach and technical director Puspalal Sharma said the club recruited four international players from Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Japan.  “The player from Ghana will arrive soon.” 

Puspalal Sharma said that two of them had already represented the club during the 2022 AFC Cup Qualifier game against Club Valencia in the Maldives in April this year.

“Training is underway and it’s going well,” he said.  

Transport United FC is recruiting five foreign players, three from India, one each from Cameroon and Ghana.   

Transport’s coach Bikash Pradhan said that the recruits would join the club next week.

Thimphu City FC’s president Hishey Tshering said the club is signing one player each from Japan and Spain.