Thinley Namgay

The National Covid-19 Task Force has approved travel permit for Thimphu City FC to participate in the upcoming preliminary “round one” of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup.

City will play against the Maldives’ Eagles at the National Stadium, Male, Maldives, on April 7.

The  winner will face Abahani Limited Dhaka for the second preliminary round at Bangabandhu National Stadium, Bangladesh, on April 14.

Training session for the players has been ongoing at the Changlimithang Stadium in Thimphu since the government allowed  sporting events.

Thimphu City FC’s president Hishey Tshering said that the club would have to bear all the expenses, including airfare and quarantine charges while returning from the Maldives.

The club has not signed a single foreign player due to the pandemic.

Nine teams from the SAARC region are participating in the tournament.

The winner of the Indian Super League, ATK-Mohan Bagan, and the champions of Bangladesh and the Maldives premier leagues—Bashundhara Kings and Maziya, earned direct entry into the group stage.

Army Club of Nepal, Sri Lankan Police Club, Club Eagles of the Maldives, Thimphu City FC, Bengaluru FC, and Abahani Limited Dhaka will compete for the last slot in the group.

Stage two preliminary winners will enter the play-off round on April 20. The winners will join the other three teams from the group stage.

Thimphu City qualified for AFC qualifiers from Bhutan as the champions of BoB Bhutan Premier League 2020. The club grabbed 12 wins of the 14 games in the league season.