The team will be participating in a regional championship

Football: The under-14 national girls’ football team left the country today to participate in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) under-14 girls’ regional championship in Katmandu, Nepal.

Bhutan will play India in their first match on April 20 at the Dashrath Stadium in Kathmandu. Seven countries including Bhutan will participate in the five-day league and knockout tournament.

Bhutan is placed in pool B with India and Bangladesh. While in pool A Iran, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Nepal will battle for the championship title.

The under-14 national team was based in the Gelephu academy and has undergone vigorous training for a week in Thimphu. The head coach of the team, Dorji Khandu, said that he is confident with the team and is hopeful to reach the semi-finals of the tournament.

But for the manager of the team, Kinley Dorji, it’s not about winning or losing this time. “For us it is the exposure to these young girls that is more important since most all the players are new,” he said.

Kinley Dorji said that the girls are well prepared and physically fit. But his only fear is with their size. “Most of the opponents are physically big and more powerful,” he said. “We need to give our best.”

A total of 19 players along with four Bhutan Football Federation (BFF) officials will take part in the tournament. The first match with India will kick off at 4pm (BST) and the second match will be on April 22 with Bangladesh at 3pm.

The team returns on April 26.

By Younten Tshedup