Thinley Namgay 

Of the eight teams in the ongoing Pepsi Bhutan Premier League (BPL) Qualifiers in Thimphu, only Namlha FC and Thimphu Raven FC have foreign players.

Namlha FC signed four international players and an official for the league. The club recruited striker Zikahi Leonce Dodoz from Cote D’Ivoire. He played for the I-League club Rajasthan United.

The other three players are from India. Centre defenders Sudeep Mondal and Rajib Ghorui were with Delhi Tarun Sangha FC. Goalie Arnab Das played for Goa Velsao FC. Its coach Sapan Kumar Biswa is also from India.

Namlha’s coach, Raj Kumar Gurung, said the foreign recruits are only for the qualifiers. However, if their performance merits then they could feature in the upcoming BPL too.

“To date their performance is good. It is a good opportunity for young Bhutanese players to learn from the foreign players,” he said, adding that the team will qualify for the BPL.

Raj said the team has experienced foreign players along with promising Bhutanese players. “I am confident about my squad.”

Thimphu Raven FC signed five foreign players. Midfielder Antony Amoh is from Ghana. He previously signed for Delhi Sasthire FC.

The other four are from India: defender Muslim Ali Molla, left winger MD Rehan, striker Mrinal Adhikary, and goalie Anand Rajbhar. The club’s coach is also from India.

Thimphu Raven FC’s official said the international players are doing well so far and that the team expects to qualify for the BPL.

Foreign players said that they enjoy playing in Bhutan.

Zikahi Leonce Dodoz said, “I am happy to play in Bhutan. We learn from each other. Most of the players are new and I want to assist them.”

He said the weather in Thimphu is a bit harsh compared to his country. “Our priority is to qualify for the BPL. We are confident.”