Football: Two-legged World Cup qualifying match-winning coach; Chokey Nima has been replaced by a Japanese coach as the head coach of the national team.

The new coach, Tsukitate Norio taking over the national team was announced yesterday. Tsukitate Norio, 55, who coached the Bangladesh national women’s team prior to his duty as the Bhutanese head coach, observed the team practice in Thailand recently when they were gearing for the first leg of the qualifying match in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Taking responsibility of the team with a massive task ahead in the form of taking on some of the better teams in the next round of the 2018 World Cup qualifying match, coach Norio said:  “Win or lose, the team is my responsibility,” he said.

The new coach brimming with confidence said his first task is to analyse and study the players before he begins training with them. “Bhutanese players are talented but they need to work very hard to go into the next round of the World Cup qualifiers,” he said yesterday evening.

Coach Norio said that playing against Sri Lanka and the teams that are there in the second round of the qualifiers are very different. The players need to be mentally and technically sound while playing any opponent in the next round. “First we need to change the mentality of the players if we want to improve,” he said.

He said that the dreams of the players are big but what they need to focus at the moment is not playing in the World Cup but improving the quality of the game in the country. “My tactics might be different from what they are used to playing. We need to work as a team and give our 100 percent,” he said.

Coach Norio has worked as the coach of Japanese League outfit Nagoya Grampus and the youth team of Shimizu S-Pulse. He was appointed the head coach of the national team of Guam in February 2005.

With more than 23 years of experience in the coaching business, coach Norio said, “Irrespective of the teams that we might face in the second round, we will give our best.”

The President of the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF), Ugen Tshechup Dorji said that irrespective of the situation, the appointment of the new coach is a yearly event. “The new coach was supposed to take over in February but due to some personal inconveniences he could join us only yesterday,” he said.

Ugen Tshechup Dorji said that Chokey Nima is the technical director of BFF. He was appointed the head coach of the national team when the tenure of the last Japanese coach was over. His appointment was “strictly interim” he said.

Chokey Nima said that the appointment of the new coach is a good thing. “He is a very experienced coach and the team should improve under his guidance,” he said.

“I can’t take up two jobs at a time. If we want to become professional in the game, we must work together,” Chokey Nima said. “However I will be working closely with him for the betterment of the national team.”

Meanwhile, as a gesture of appreciation, BFF awarded Nu 20,000 to the national team including the supporting team members yesterday.

By Younten Tshedup