Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

Football fanatics in Mongar town are busy. An international standard football turf in Gyalpoizhing and a regular pitch in Mongar town often run short of space for players.

Besides keeping fit, the game helps many to kill boredom. Mongar residents travel 30km to Gyalpoizhing to play on the turf almost every day.

The Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC) laid the turf in 2017 and handed over to Mongar Football Association (MSA).

The MSA’s football secretary, Dhendup Tshering said between 20 to 28 teams play on the turf in a month. He said the number has dwindled recent years after additional turfs were laid in Sherubtse college, Kanglung in Trashigang and Lhuentse HSS in Lhuentse.

“Earlier there were more teams some from Trashiyangtse, Trashigang and Lhuentse but now it’s only the local residents,” he said.

But there is no dearth of action on the ordinary ground in Mongar town. Many in the town prefer the ground to the turf as it incurs costs and time to travel to Gyalpoizhing.

“Mongar public ground is centrally located and ground is in good condition,” a resident said, adding that it only needs a net for the posts, and a game ball.

Matches are played everyday.

The MSA collects ground fee of Nu 2,200 a match during the day and Nu 2,700 at night. The fees pay the caretaker’s salary of Nu 10,000, electricity bill of Nu 20,000 to Nu 28,000 a month and for regular maintenance.

Druk Green Power Corporation paid for installation of the four tower lights at the ground.

Mongar is also becoming a winter sporting hub in the east. BOC area in Gyalpoizhing, that has the turf, is used as a winter youth grassroot training center, inter-college and veteran football tournament, among others.

Mongar dzongkhag architect, Sangay Wanchuk said, the 10.8-acre BOC area will have a sporting complex with indoor games and sports facilities according to its structural plan.