Football: A draw is enough for the Dragon Boys to progress to the second round of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. But the national team is high on confidence to take on Sri Lanka today for the second leg of the qualifiers.
Coach Chokey Nima said the team was under a lot of pressure from the win, but expected to pull off a similar result. “The win there (Colombo) wasn’t a celebration for us but a preparation for this match,“ he said at a press conference yesterday. “We made history on March 12, we want to repeat it.”
Head coach of Sri Lanka, Nikola Kavazovic, said that the new Bhutanese national team took him by surprise when they faced his team in Colombo. “This team was nothing like the former team of 2013. We didn’t expect such a good performance from them,” he said.
The team manager E Balendre Anthony said that they considered the Bhutanese team to be like any other national teams in the world, explaining that the report that they didn’t want to play Bhutan was based on just one remark and not the team’s view.
The altitude does not deter the team, which arrived in the country on Sunday. Vice captain Sujan Perera said his boys were coping up fine with the weather in Thimphu. Thimphu is 23,000ft above the sea level. Colombo is about 23 ft.
While confidence is high in both camps, Nikola Kavazovic said that the game was not going to be an easy one. “We’re going for attack. That’s our style of play,” he said.
Tshering Dorji, the only goal scorer in the first leg of the qualifiers, said he was hoping to score again in the match, and take his team and country into the next round. “We could only score one goal during the first leg. I hope in this game we maintain at least a two-goal difference,” he said.
The game, which kicks off at 4pm at Changlimethang, will be broadcast live on BBS Channel 2. The stadium has the capacity to seat about 30,000 people and entry is free.
Meanwhile, Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay yesterday posted on Facebook that the national team has done the country proud by winning the first round match. “All Government agencies may allow the interested staff to witness the important match and support our national team,” he said.
By Younten Tshedup