Old friends meet in AFC qualifiers

We will give our best, Chencho Gyeltshen

Thinley Namgay

The first leg of the second round of 2020 AFC Cup Qualifiers between Paro FC and Bengaluru FC is pitched against Bhutanese football star Chencho Gyeltshen and Sunil Chhetri, who captains both the Indian national team and Indian Super League champions.

The Indian professional player, Sunil Chhetri and Chencho Gyeltshen were teammates at Bengaluru FC where Chencho, fondly called as CG7, scored two goals against North East United in the 2018-2019 Indian Super League season for Bengaluru FC.

Off field, Sunil Chhetri a popular name among football fans in Bhutan is diplomatic. “The weather is cold, but the people are warm,” said the skipper of Hero Indian Super league champion. On the field, it will be a different story. Sunil Chhetri said that they came two days before the match to acclamatise.

Meanwhile, Chencho Gyeltshen is excited to face his former teammate. He said that he couldn’t wait to play against his former club and captain. “Lots of excitements are within me. We will give our best today.”

Going by Bengaluru FC’s plan, the club from India is confident.  Coach Carles Cuadrat confirmed that he will field his younger players to give them a chance.

Carles Caudrat said that they have prepared well as they love the competition. Moreover, he added that the AFC cup gave them good memories and  they are glad to be back in Bhutan. “I am happy that Chencho Gyeltshen is playing. He is a good person and good football player.”

This is the second time that the Bengaluru FC is facing the Bhutanese club after a goalless draw against Transport United FC in 2018.

The two clubs are poles apart, but Paro FC feels the home ground advantage will boost their chance. “We are expecting more supporters. In one game, anything can happen, but we will compete. We are playing for the country and not only for the club. ”

Paro’s head coach and technical director, Puspalal Sharma said that the experience from the last two matches against defenders FC and the home advantage had helped his club to acclamatise their international players. “We got enough time to analyse the game tactics of Bengaluru. We have prepared well and our players will execute properly.”

Paro FC has three international players from Cameron and one from Sikkim, India.

Puspalal Sharma said that the Bengaluru is a strong team with huge financial investment and good record. “They are advanced than us with more international exposure and players.”

He, however, said that the football is a game where they have to face the challenges and there is no better opportunity than playing against strong team like Bengaluru. “For Bengaluru, they can’t dare to lose or draw with us, as they have to maintain their status.”

Assuming the opponents team formation, he said that the club has prepared three to four game formations by balancing both defending and attacking.

Paro Fc’s goalie, Gyeltshen Zangpo, who was injured on January 30 will be out. His deputy, Tobgay, will face Sunil Chhetri and his team between the posts.

At a press conference at Namgay Heritage yesterday, Paro FC’s coach Jangchuk Dorji and skipper Jigme Tshering Dorjee said that their players are physically and tactically fit to play Bengaluru FC.

“Our players will give 100 percent,” said Jangchuk Dorji.

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