Football: By April, football enthusiasts in Mongar and Gyalpoizhing can try their skills on a better field with the artificial turf being laid at Gyalpoizhing nearing completion.

This is a welcome change, as the football ground until now is a dust bowl, particularly when strong winds blow from across the Kurichu. The ground also hosts a lot of regional and national events.

A football enthusiast, Sanga Choedra, 18 said he saw people playing football on artificial on the television and recently in Thimphu. “I am sure this will improve football in the east,” he said adding that he is dying to play on the turf.

Sanga also believes that it will give opportunity for potential footballers in the east to hone their skills and make it to clubs and national team.

Local in Gyalpoizhing said they only saw the turf on the national TV when they broadcast the World Cup qualifying matches. “Besides football, the ground will be good to host big events like regional sports meet and even bigger national events,” said a Gyalpoizhing town resident.

Dzongkhag sports coordinator Sonam Dargay said that with help from Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC), the artificial turf will benefit the youth the most in the dzongkhag.

Football coach Tshencho Dorji added that the Bhutan Football Federation will conduct annual dzongkhag level football completion, inter departmental football completion and inter- school football competitions at Gyalpoizhing once the ground is readied.

Initial work on the turf began last November with an initial estimated budget of Nu 82 million funded by government of India under its project-tied assistant programme, according to Project engineer Sangay Pradhan.

Artificial turfs would also be laid under the same assistance in Phuentsholing, Bumthang, Samdrupjongkhar and Kanglung at Trashigang.

Coach Tshencho Dorji said dzongkhags could produce good footballers as they could improve their techniques, gain experience, and develop technical abilities, since the turf provides superior athlete safety, high performance and extreme durability.

Tashi Phuntsho, Mongar