Football: Football enthusiasts in Phuentsholing can look forward to playing the game on an artificial turf before the end of this year.

Works to install the artificial turf is ongoing and it will be ready by the end of November, the Phuentsholing Sports Association (PSA) has confirmed.

An artificial turf for the PSA football ground has been in the pipeline since 2014.

With support received from the Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC), a budget of Nu 16.5 million (M) was identified under Government of India (GoI) funding.

PSA general secretary Gyem Tshering said that all the materials have already arrived.

“Works were delayed due to heavy rainfall this year,” he said, adding that the prolonged monsoon was a factor. “But the work has started and it is in full swing today.”

Leveling of the ground has been completed. Drain work is ongoing at the moment.

However, Gyem Tshering is worried about providing lighting once the turf is ready as budget for the facility has not yet been confirmed.

He said without lights the association would have a hard time in maintaining the turf.

“Having lights means that the association can earn some amount that could be used to maintain the ground,” he said.

Gyem Tshering said that there would be many football enthusiasts who would have time to play only after office. Without lights this opportunity would be lost, he pointed out.

However, the PSA general secretary also said that the association has written a letter to the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF) requesting for support in installing the required lights.

The general secretary said that PSA would be grateful if the federation could support it in some way.

“We are very positive and we look forward to promoting football here in a better way,” Gyem Tshering said.

Along with the turf in Phuentsholing, it was announced during BOC’s first Annual General Meeting conducted in Phuentsholing that four other places (Gyelphozhing, Kanglung, Samdrupjongkhar, and Bumthang )would also get artificial football turfs by the end of January 2017.

GoI is supporting the effort with about Nu 82M.

Meanwhile, construction of a multi-purpose hall is also ongoing in Phuentsholing.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing