A total of at least Nu 1.3 million is up for grabs

Football: Football enthusiasts will see some of the top clubs from Thimphu, Paro, Punakha and Phuentsholing clash when the national football league tournament kicks off on July 5.

FC Terton, Thimphu City FC and Thimphu FC from Thimphu, Bhutan Clearing FC from Phuntsholing, Ugyen Academy FC from Punakha and Paro United FC from Paro will compete in this year’s tournament.

FC Terton, Thimphu FC and Paro United FC will be taking part in the tournament for the first time this year.

The youngest team, Paro United FC, is a newly formed club by the Thai-Bhutan society and locals from Paro. It was formed on November 2014 coinciding with the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Paro United FC president, Rangsee Tuengpant, said that the club is prepared and looking forward to their first tournament. He said that although his club is participating for the first time in a big tournament, like all the other teams, their expectation is to go all the way and win the tournament.

The club has hired four international players, two Indians, a defender and a winger and two Thai players, a striker and a defender. “Our team has a good mix of enthusiastic players who will make the game interesting for the spectators,” Rangsee Tuengpant said.

Meanwhile, the runners up of last years national league tournament, Ugyen Academy FC from Punakha, is an all-student team. Kinley Dorji, the coach of the club said that the team is tactically and technically prepared for the tournament. “Although participation is important but as a coach I’m a result oriented person and I want to see my team win at the end,” he said.

Kinley Dorji said that although his team has not played against the clubs from Phuentsholing and Paro it still has a fair chance of lifting the trophy this year. “As a team we’re much stronger than many of the clubs competing this year. We’ve spent a good amount of time practicing at school together.”

The league tournament will allow each team to play five home and away games each.

The three-month long national tournament this year has been reduced to two-months considering the AFC Cup 2016 play-off qualifying matches that begin from August 11.

The winners of the tournament will be given a rolling trophy along with individual take-away trophies, medals and a cash prize of Nu 700,000 to the winner and Nu 400,000 and Nu 200,000 for the first and second runners up respectively.

BFF’s competition officer, Kinley Dorji, said that the prize money could increase once the federation finalises negotiations with tournament’s sponsors.

By Younten Tshedup