Thinley Namgay

The highly anticipated Bhutan Premier League (BPL) 2024 is set to commence on May 11 with the inaugural match between one of the regular BPL teams, Transport United FC, and the newcomer Tsirang FC at the Changlimithang Stadium in Thimphu.

The former champion, Transport United FC, is determined to regain their lost glory. After 2018, the team could not bag any title. However, the team remained in the top five during these periods.

Tsirang FC has qualified only recently. The team has a new coach, and most players are also new.

At the first press conference of BPL 2024 held in Thimphu yesterday, Transport United’s Assistant coach Tshering Dendup said, “My players are motivated. We have five international players. Foreign players bring more energy to the team.”

The team also recruited seven potential local players.

Player Jigdrel Wangchuk said the team is calm right now and working diligently. He said Transport won’t underestimate any team.

Tsirang’s Karma Dema said that her team has prepared and intends to atleast remain in the top four or five. “Preparation is on track.”

Like Transport, Tsirang also has a few foreign players, which are expected to make an impact.

Captain Thinley Phuntsho said: “The team is ready to face major clubs.”

Compared to past editions, this year’s BPL is expected to be competitive, considering the recruitment of three to five international players by all 10 participating teams.

Samtse FC, Tsirang FC, Daga United FC, and Phuentsholing Heroes FC will face last year’s top six teams in the BPL___Paro FC, Thimphu City FC, Transport United FC, RTC FC, BFF Academy FC, and Tensung FC.

Gopal Rai, assistant coach at Paro FC, said the pre-season training has been on track, and the team is more focused on retaining the title.

He said that besides four foreign players on the team, two local players from Ugyen Academy FC, and four youngsters from their academy who have been promoted to the senior team are promising.

“Our two foreigners have already played for two seasons. Every team is strong, and we won’t give up. We aim to win every match,” Gopal Rai said.

The new head coach of Thimphu City FC, Jörg Steinebrunner, said that he was glad with the efforts, attitude, and commitments each player makes for the team. He said the BPL will be challenging, but the team is prepared to face it.

He said that regardless of results, he expects his players to put forth their effort to the fullest capacity.

Throughout all BPL seasons so far, Thimphu City has been a tough opponent for all participating teams.