Defending national futsal league champions, Kuenjung FC ran short of two goals in the final against Thimphu City FC at Changjiji futsal ground in Thimphu yesterday.

Having played each other in the final of the same league last year, Kuenjung FC had hoped to hold onto their brand of being one of the most successful futsal teams in the country.

At the end of 40 minutes, it was Thimphu City FC that had the advantage of larger squad depth, which denied Kuenjung FC ‘s second national title in their three consecutive final appearances.

Kuenjung FC’s team captain, Jamyang Gyeltshen said his team was confident. “We defeated them in the league round and that led to the team taking the game easy.”

The final against Thimphu City FC was Kuenjung FC’s 25th final played in all competitions across the country. The team has so far won more than 20 championships.

The closely contested game saw Thimphu City’s Lungtok Dawa coming in substitution to score the lead in the final five minutes and doubled the lead, disappointing Kuenjung FC’s domination in the second half.

Thimphu City FC started strong and dominated the first half, scoring four goals in the first half. Kuenjung FC was two goals down at the end of the first half.

Veteran player, Passang Tshering scored an opener for Thimphu City FC and was also named the man of the match yesterday.

Although Kuenjung failed to defend the title, the team dominated individual honours, winning two of the three awards given at the end of the league.

Sonam Wangyel and Tshering Dorji from Kuenjung FC bagged the most valuable player of the tournament and the best goalkeeper award respectively. Jigme Samdrup of Juniors FC was named the emerging player.

With all major tournaments done for the year, the futsal league saw most of the club players playing with different futsal team.

Tshering Dorji from Thimphu City FC said the futsal league helped players remain fit and engaged local players. “The game is fast owing to its nature of having to stop swift counter-attacks,” he said.

Despite increasing popularity gained among the youth and in schools, futsal remains mostly played in schools and only a few tournaments are hosted in the country today, according to the player.

Futsal manager with Bhutan Football Federation, Sherab Jatsho said futsal development in the country needed better grassroots initiative. The federation plans to start a proper grassroots programme and another futsal championships.

The federation supported the futsal teams with grants and balls to participate in the league. The official said students managed futsal teams.