Is this City’s year?

Football: Midway through the season Thimphu City FC is leading the league table beating away challengers.

Not that they have never been in this position before, but the last time the team won any medals was back in 2009, under the name Druk Stars.

Since then, the team changed its name to Zimdra FC and then to Thimphu City FC in 2012.

Despite competitively performing at the highest of levels, the team has never won any medals under the new name.

After their 3-1 triumph over the 2014 national champion, Druk United, on May 7, the team is now on the top of the table with two points ahead of title contenders, Thimphu FC.

With 10 players from the national squad, City seems to be the preferred  club to play for especially among the big names in Bhutanese football.

This season much hype was generated when several new faces joined the team, among them Karun Gurung and Diwash Subba. The duo who won both the Thimphu and national league titles with their former clubs could provide City the much needed push they have always been looking for.

In 2014, Diwash Subba and Karun Gurung lifted the titles under Druk United FC. Last season the two players played a key role in helping their new team FC Terton win the titles.

The pressure is mounting for City to perform better this season. The club’s management has also assigned Passang Tshering as their full time coach. He previously played a dual role as both player and coach.

Playing with the classic English formation of 4-4-2, but concentrating more on an attacking style of play, Passang Tshering’s team has both the defensive depth at the back and attacking numbers up front.

Goals have been flowing freely from all directions for the team. They have found the opponent’s net 19 times, the highest number of goals scored in the league so far. The goals came at the hands of eight different players in seven games.

However, in the back, City has conceded six goals in seven games. The absence of some of the big names from the national squad at the defence line like Dawa Gyeltshen, Jigme T Dorji and Chimi Dorji, due to injuries, could be a factor.

City could face a strong challenge from their second positioned contender, Thimphu FC.

The two teams settled for a goalless draw in their first match on May 1 at the Changlimithang Stadium.

The defensive approach adopted by the new head coach, Lobzang Dorji, is working well for the young Thimphu FC team. Thimphu FC remains undefeated in the league so far.

With the likes of Karma Nidup from the national squad and their skipper Tashi Tobgay in the defence line and Hari “Great Wall of Bhutan” Gurung at the post, Thimphu FC have maintained the highest clean sheet in the league so far, conceding only two goals.

Meanwhile, the two teams could also anticipate stiff competition from Druk United FC, Druk Star FC and Drukpol FC who currently have 10 points each.

Druk Star FC has a game in hand. They will take on the “basement boys”  Under-17 national team today at the Changlimithang Stadium at 6pm.

Younten Tshedup

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