Football: With hopes for title race already over, it was all about prestige when Mandala FC took on FC Terton in the final game of the Thimphu Women’s League at the Changlimithang Stadium on July 23.
A draw could have positioned Mandala FC as second on the league table. However FC Terton had a different plan for the team from Gelephu. With 19 points from nine games, it was a must win game for FC Terton to finish behind their district rivals, Thimphu City Ladies, who finished on top of the table with 25 points.
FC Terton destroyed Mandala FC 4-0 at the end of 90 minutes. The first half of the game was completely dominated by FC Terton. The team scored an early goal in the 10th minute after a defensive error from Mandala.
With some fancy dribbling skills, Bumchu Chimi Pem of FC Terton lured Mandala’s defenders including the goalie out of her position. With a swift cross to winger Leki Wangmo who was open at the corner, she booted in her first goal into a wide open net.
With more than 70 percent of their key players missing, Mandala FC looked confused in the first half. Misplaced positioning of the team led Terton to double their lead in the 30th minute.
Mandala FC manager, Kinzang Tobgay said that his key players who were travelling from Gelephu for the match were stranded in Phuntsholing because of the roadblocks.
It was the substitute players who came to the rescue of the team and managed to show-up for the final game. With no single substitutes remaining on the bench for Mandala, some of the players looked exhausted before the game even completed its first 30 minutes.
FC Terton fully capitalised on the opportunity and scored another two goals at the end of the first half. Striker Renuka of FC Terton punished Mandala by scoring a brace at 40 and 41 minutes.
The second half of the match saw a defensive approach adopted by Mandala FC. The young girls were fully guarding their post from further damage from their opponents.
The technique worked well for the team, as Terton could not score any more goals. However, exhaustion took over the Mandala players and Terton got their fourth and final goal in the 80th minute.
Terton manager Tshering Phuntsho appreciated his team’s performance at the same time acknowledged his opponent’s misfortune of not playing with their full team.
“If their key players could have made it for the match, we were expecting much tougher competition,” said Tshering Phuntsho. “It was easy for us today but nevertheless, we were prepared to win anyway.”
Tshering Phuntsho said that his team had a good opportunity to win the league but their loss against Thimphu City Ladies made the difference. However, the manager is optimistic with his team and expects to do better in the next league.
“If BFF can now focus more on women’s league, I believe we will have better women’s teams in the near future,” he said. “Women footballers, I believe, will grow faster then the men’s team in the country given all the support to them.”
A total of six teams took part in the month-long tournament organised by the Bhutan Football Federation to promote women’s football in the country.