We have a tendency to go wild and turn ourselves into animals whenever we have big games and competitions. Let it not be this day.

At 6pm today, we face a formidable foe. Our national football team will play China at Changlimithang Stadium in Thimphu. Road to Russia will not be easy for us. We knew that from the beginning.

But we have already won, and this is reason enough to celebrate. From rock bottom on the FIFA ranking, we have made quite a jump. We were 209th when we started a few months ago this year. We are today 159th. We must take pride in what we could achieve in a very short time, indeed.

Our loss to Hong Kong 7-0 hurt us all. It pained some of us terribly so. The fact is, however, we faced an experienced team and we did really well. That hurt from the recent beating we got should give us no reason to treat our guests like enemies. We must conduct ourselves well as fans inside and outside the stadium.

We are known to the world as a warm and hospitable people. This day is perhaps the best opportunity for us to reflect on our gentle nature and to offer our visiting guests the best of Bhutanese hospitality.

Passing racial and derogatory remarks is the worse of human behaviour.  We must support our team, but we must do so in the most civil of ways. We may lose the game, but we will have won the hearts of the world.   

Fans will fill the stadium to the edge. It’s a big game. So there will be cheers and jeers, of course. But we must not behave like barbaric hooligans because this will not reflect well on our country and our people. We can certainly do better than that. And we must.

The Royal Bhutan Police and the organisers are asking the fans to behave well and exhibit appropriate courtesy during the entire game. We deem this appeal necessary because Bhutanese fans have in the past been shamefully reckless and senseless.

It doesn’t matter whether we win or lose, but our guests should take with them the most delightful memories of this pristine land and its wonderful people when they return home.

Let’s celebrate the game.