Thinley Namgay 

Taking the current pandemic as an opportunity, Paro FC has initiated activities to develop its sports infrastructure at Woochu Sports Arena in Paro. 

The idea of developing the sports infrastructure is in line with the club’s long-term strategy to encourage youth to take football as a career by enhancing skills. 

The development of a mini educational football pitch for the grassroots development programme is one of the initiatives currently underway. 

The mini-pitch has a playing size of 12 x 8 metres. It has fundamental movement concepts and skills encompassing locomotor, stability and object control systems to introduce children to essential movement skills and the alphabets. The pitch has all the 17 laws of the game written on the boards, which can be used for a basic introduction to refereeing. 

Paro FC’s technical director and  head coach, Puspalal Sharma, said that the pitch would offer opportunity to young football enthusiasts to get the feel of a normal size football ground. “The mini-pitch can also be used as an extended technical and tactical training area for different age groups to provide a peripheral view of the overall game. The pitch resembles a life-size chessboard to enhance thinking-based learning.” 

The layout for the construction of the courts for other sports such as volleyball, basketball, tennis, badminton and recreational park are also prepared, according to Puspalal Sharma. Construction works would start soon.

Puspalal Sharma said that volleyball and basketball courts are closely aligned with football development. “The game of basketball brings a positive transfer of learning within a small space initiating quick decision-making ability. The principles of basketball and football are cross-cutting as both fall under the category of invasion games.”

He said that the development of the volleyball court is to develop an estimation of the projectile (ball) to enhance heading techniques, an important skill in football.

Google classroom for the players, grass field for goalkeeper training, sitting gallery, skill development track and two natural grass mini grounds for youth are also in place. 

Of the 13 registered football clubs under the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF), Paro FC is the only club to own a football ground. All other clubs depend on the federation’s ground to organise tournaments. 

Meanwhile, except for Paro FC, major clubs such as Thimphu City FC, Transport United FC and High Quality United FC are unable to pay salary for the players currently. Most of these clubs paid the players from their tourism-related business, which has been affected by the pandemic. 

Paro FC has been paying its players, at a reduced rate, since April. 

Thimphu City FC also pays a monthly rent of Nu 17,000 to accommodate eight players. Transport United FC also paid a rent of Nu 20,000 for nine players, but the club discontinued since April 26 citing financial constraints.