Coach Ngawang Dhendup (centre)

Thinley Namgay

The secret behind Thimphu City FC’s victory is all bundled inside one person: its coach Ngawang Dhendup.

The club was crowned champions of the 2020 BoB Bhutan Premier League last week and bagged Nu 2 million in cash prize. The club attributes its success all to Ngawang Dhendup and his managerial prowess.

The club’s President, Hishey Tshering said, “We can have talented players, but ultimately it is the coach who makes the difference. Keeping every player happy is important.”

He said that the coach had lots of pressure managing the club’s 28 players, but he succeeded in keeping them delighted at the end.

“Thimphu City FC was one of the contenders in every national championship but we lacked coordination as a team. If a player is unhappy, it spoils the entire team,” said Hishey Tshering.

City signed a three-year deal with Ngawang Dhendup early this year.  With the former national player, and former coach of Transport United FC at the helm, the club lost only one game in the entire season. When it lifted their league’s first trophy in 2016, they had lost two games.

Besides the trophy, City’s skipper and midfielder, Tshering Dorji, won the awards for the most valuable player and highest goal scorer.

Tshering Dorji said: “City signed a good coach and players this year. While conceding goals, the coach and president kept inspiring us which helped us perform better in the remaining parts of the game.”

Tshering Dorji scored 12 goals.

“I attribute my success to Coach Ngawang. I haven’t headed in goals in the past. With proper coaching this season, I could score three,” Tshering Dorji, a national team player, said.

Hishey Tshering said that the player’s commitment in every game and intensive training also paid off.

“For this season, our players have undergone intensive training. All the players came for the training regularly. I am sure that our training was more intense than some of our matches,” he said.

Hishey Tshering said that the prize money was crucial for the club’s survival amid the Covid-19 pandemic. “The club is looking after 35 players and officials at present.”

Coach Ngawang Dhendup said that the other teams in the league were equally competent. However, he said that what matters at the end was team bonding. “Understanding between our players was impressive. Moreover, our team had some technically sound players.”

Thimphu City has 11 national team players.

As a champion, City will play in the preliminary round of the 2021 Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Cup. However, the officials said that they hadn’t received any notice from the AFC about the tournament.

As per the AFC regulation, City was allowed to sign five foreign players for the competition. However, due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, the visa process for the international players is still on halt.