Thinley Namgay 

The ongoing Bhutan Higher Secondary School Football Championship (BHSSFC) has seen a significant increase in participation, with 80 schools competing this year compared to the previous edition.

Nine schools have joined the championship for the first time this year. 

The new entrants include Damphu Central School (CS) and Mendrelgang CS from Tsirang, Tangmachu CS and Lhuentse HSS from Lhuentse, and Karma Academy from Paro. 

Punakha CS, Dechentsemo CS, and Dashiding HSS from Punakha, as well as Chundu Armed Forces Public School from Haa, have also made their debut in the tournament. 

The second edition of the BHSSFC started at the dzongkhag level on April 28, with schools competing on a home and away-basis under the guidance of school sports instructors. 

The matches are played on weekends to ensure minimal disruption to students’ studies and other school activities.

In a recent development, Gyalpoizhing HSS emerged as the champions of Mongar and secured a spot in the regional tournament. Gyalpoizhing HSS won against Mongar HSS, Kidheykhar HSS, and Yadi CS in both home and away matches.

The  winners from the dzongkhags will be selected to participate in the four regional tournaments where schools will vie for a place at the national level.

The BHSSFC not only encourages students’ active participation in football but also aims to nurture their talent and provide a platform for young players to develop their skills. With an increased number of schools participating, the tournament is expected to contribute to the growth and development of football at the grassroots level in Bhutan. 

The tournament is organised in collaboration between the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF) and the Department of Youth and Sports (DYS). The BFF provides technical support and funding, while the DYS coordinates the games. The championship also aims to address concerns of regional imbalance in terms of representation of players at the national level.