Football: With 47 teams and 752 players, Yuljong Nationwide Open football tournament, Thimphu qualifiers, is by far the biggest tournament in the country.

The tournament that began on August 20 in Thimphu is a special dedication from football enthusiasts in the country on the occasion of the 60th birth anniversary of The Fourth King.

Jointly organised by Paro Yuljong Futsal Club and Kawajangsa FC, the tournament aims to bring all the dzongkhags together through the game of football. One of the organiser, Karun Gurung of Paro Yuljong said that the plan is to conduct the final game of the tournament on November 11.

The Thimphu qualifiers of the tournament have entered its knockout stage where 16 teams have moved into the elimination round. However, only four teams from Thimphu will move on into the final knockout tournament. The Thimphu qualifiers resumes right after the World Cup qualifiers against Maldives and Hong Kong on October 8 and 13 respectively.

Open invitations have been sent to all the other dzongkhags to take part in the final tournament that will begin from October 20 at the Changlimithang stadium. Registration date is open till October 10 for the teams outside Thimphu.

“We’ll take in all the teams who would like to take part in the tournament to make it more grand and eventful,” said Karun Gurung. “We’re expecting maximum participation this time since it’s a very special occasion for the country and it’s people.”

In order to provide equal opportunities to all the participating teams, the organisers have decided to allow only one seeded player (national and club) in the team. This decision was also taken to provide openings for those individuals with talents but who remained unnoticed because of limited opportunities, said the organisers.

The tournament till date has recorded 734 goals in one month. Paro Yuljong FC of Group B have scored the highest of 43 goals. Teams are divided into eight groups of five each.

The winners of the tournament will take home a trophy, medals and a cash prize of Nu 200,000 and the runners up will get Nu 100,000.

Younten Tshedup