Players given favourite jersey numbers to boost morale

Football: Striker Chencho Gyeltshen and teammates will be donning their previous jersey numbers when Bhutan takes on Maldives in the on-going World Cup qualifiers tomorrow at Changlimithang stadium.

The decision to give the players their previous numbers was taken by the federation as a gesture of goodwill towards the players for their continued hard work and dedication towards the national team.

Team manager Hishey Tshering said that this was the least the federation could do to make the players happy.

The match against Maldives tomorrow is considered to be the best chance the Dragon Boys will have in the tournament. “This will be our best chance to get a result,” Hishey Tshering said.

The manager said that unlike Qatar, China and Hong Kong, the game against Maldives should start on an equal level. “Physically both the teams are on the same level which allows us to start on equivalent grounds.”

The last encounter between the two teams was at the 2013 South Asian Football Federation Championships in Nepal. After taking a 2-1 lead in the first half of the game, Bhutan lost 8-2 in the end.

However, Hishey Tshering believes in his team and their ‘never giving up spirit’, the will to fight till the end. The team has been undergoing vigorous training after the national league ended two weeks ago. The two main defenders, Kinley Wangchuk and Dawa Gyeltshen who missed the Qatar game due to injury are available.

Head coach Norio Tsukitate said the team has been working on the basics for the game against Maldives. “No special trainings were conducted. Only basic techniques and tactics were performed,” said that coach. “I don’t know about the end results but we are ready to attack and defend. Make some good passes and give our 100 per cent.”

Meanwhile, members of the Bhutan Football Fan Base, has brought in one of the biggest national flag to use during the game day. The 25 by 16 metre flag and some other cheer-props have been procured by the group from China.

One of the group member, Tregxel said that the game of football have brought people together. “This time we are expecting the home team to score some goals. The cheer will be at another level if we score a goal,” he said. “Win or lose, the support continues. We’re representing the country’s love for the game.”

Younten Tshedup