Thinley Namgay

Karma Dema,  32,  from Mongar, will lead the newly formed Tsirang FC as head coach in the upcoming Bhutan Premier League (BPL) set to commence next month.

Karma Dema stands out as the only female coach among the ten teams in the highest professional  football league this  season .

Karma’s presence in the BPL team is regarded as a beacon of hope for many aspiring female coaches in this male-dominated sport.

She is poised to become the second female coach ever to lead a BPL team, following the footsteps of Ugyen Academy’s Denka.

Karma joined the club last month. Prior to this, she served as an assistant coach at Daga United FC during the BPL Qualifiers under the guidance of head coach Ngawang Dendup, a former coach of Thimphu City FC.

She has also held the position of head coach for Gelephu Academy’s under (U)-20 and U-16 women’s teams.

Reflecting on her journey, Karma Dema said: “Coaching a BPL team presents a significant opportunity for me, of which I am immensely proud. There are only a few women coaches in Bhutan, and I hope my journey inspires them.”

Despite being new to the club, Karma said that her players were enthusiastic. With five foreign players on the team, she believes their presence could make a significant impact.

Initially concerned about timely support from the club’s management upon her recruitment, Karma was  surprised by the warm welcome and support she and her players have received. “This gesture has motivated me,” she said.

Karma hasn’t encountered any significant challenges within the club. She finds coaching male players easier, as they are inherently more interested in football. Training sessions were in full swing, she said.

Anticipating a challenging season, Karma is determined to ensure competitive games. She is optimistic that Tsirang FC’s fans will continue their support, as seen during the BPL Qualifiers.

For Karma, coaching is more interesting than  being a player. She enjoys working with different players and imparting her skills to them.

While Karma’s contract with Tsirang FC is for a season, the possibility of an extension will depend on her performance.

Between 2010 and 2012, Karma was in the senior national women’s team. Possessing an AFC A-licence, she meets the requirement to coach a BPL team and aspires to acquire an AFC Pro license in the future.