Thinley Namgay     

Transport United FC won their major trophy after three years, defeating the 2020 Bhutan Premier League Champions, Thimphu City FC 4-2 in a penalty shootout on January 15.

The last trophy Transport lifted was in 2018 when they won the Bhutan Premier League.

Transport entered the final as underdogs having already lost to the Cityzens 3-1 a week ago in the league round.

They were heading for a goalless draw at the Gyalpoizhing astroturf after both teams failed to break the deadlock. However,  in the 81st minute, Transport’s left-winger Kinga Wangchuk found the net following an assist from the skipper and midfielder Thinley Dorji. The celebration was short-lived.

City’s defender and 2021 Premier League’s most valuable player, Phuntsho Jigme, headed and equalised after two minutes following a free-kick from mid-fielder Orgyen Wangchuk Tshering.

Following a 1-1 draw after the extra minutes, the winner was decided through a penalty shoot.

Transport’s coach Bikash Pradhan said: “We have created history by becoming the first team to win the biggest tournament in the east. Our two new signings, Phub Dorji Tamang and Tenzin Namgyel have proved to be a good addition to the squad.”

He said the team prepared for two months in Thimphu, and the players did their best despite the low altitude.

He said the pitch was not maintained well. “The pitch was a bit slippery where the rubber filling was less.”

Transport and City were awarded cash prizes of Nu 200,000 and Nu 100,000 respectively along with a trophy each.

Transport’s Tsenda Dorji was the most valuable player and the highest goal scorer of the tournament. He scored six goals. He was awarded Nu 50,000.

Tsenda Dorji said, “My aim was not to win any award but I wanted to give my best and win the tournament.”

On January 13, City defeated Paro FC 2-1 and booked their place in the final. Transport humbled Druk Lhayul FC 3-0 on January 12 and got through to the final.

BFF President Cup began on January 5 and is the biggest tournament the federation has ever organised in the east.

The 10-day tournament was organised to keep the players of premier league clubs engaged during the off-season and provide local teams with opportunities to compete against the best in the country and promote football in the eastern region.

The tournament saw seven teams comprising five premier league teams – Paro FC, Thimphu City FC, Transport United FC, Druk Lhayul FC and Ugyen Academy FC, and two eastern teams, Youngster FC from Mongar and Sherubtse FC from Trashigang, participated.