Thinley Namgay

Druk Lhayul FC defeated Ugyen Samphel Tyres FC 3-1 in the ongoing Thimphu open football championship at Changlimithang Stadium yesterday.  

 Ugyen Samphel took an early lead when midfielder Kinga’s left-foot strike found the net’s top left corner in the first 10 minutes.  The team managed to keep the pressure on the opponents for a part of the first half. 

However, Druk Lhayul’s striker Baghi Rai Subba got his team the equaliser in the 31st minute to level the game at half time.  

The next 45 minutes was Druk Lhayul’s show, entire.  Midfielder Sonam Wangyel scored a brace, including a shot from the spot.   

As of yesterday, Druk Lhayul FC and Ugyen Samphel Tyres had managed to secure nine points in the league.  Druk Lhayul, however, has a game in hand. 

Druk Lhayul’s skipper, Tshering Tobgye, said that he was happy with the results. “We reached the quarter-finals during our debut entry of this tournament.” 

The 10th edition of the championship, which began on November 19, resumed on March 16 after it was temporarily suspended since December last year because of the pandemic.  

Today, games are played without spectators at a centralised venue — Changlimithang Stadium.  Players and match officials are only allowed on the pitch. 

With 18 points each, SM United (pool A) and Bulls (pool B) are currently leading the tournament as of yesterday.  Both teams maintained a clean sheet winning all six games. 

SM United’s skipper, Kinga Gyeltshen, said that his team had played six seasons of the tournament. “We secured second positions in four seasons. We aim to win the tournament this year.”

A recovering addict, Kinga said that tournaments like this kept youth meaningfully engaged.  

Debutant Alum FC also wishes to win the tournament this season.  One of the players, Tenzin Rabten, said that, because all the players on the team were group friends, their coordination was top-quality. “Our performance is also well on track.”

Alum FC is in third place with 12 points from six games.   

Of the 48 games in the entire tournament, 38 were completed as of yesterday. 

Organiser Tshering Nidup said that, because of other tournaments, they could conduct only one game a day.  He said that all the Covid-19 safety measures were in place.  “We even use a different entrance gate for different teams and desuups man the venue during games.” 

As an ardent follower of football, he said that he wanted to offer more opportunities for people like him. “A decade ago, there were only the departmental tournaments and club games were limited. I wanted to provide people of all ages with an opportunity to play this beautiful game.”   

He said that, if there were no disruptions hereafter, the tournament would end on April 10.  Fourteen teams from Thimphu are competing in the tournament. The ninth edition saw more than 40 teams.