The U-16 national basketball team lost its second match to Nepal 96-38 yesterday in the ongoing 2nd South Asian Basketball Association U-16 Basketball Championship, which began on September 5 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The team lost its first match against Bangladesh 117-43 on the first day of the tournament.

This is the first time the under-16 national team played in an international competition.

The Bhutanese team comprise of 12 players and four officials from Bhutan Basketball Federation (BFF) who left the country on September 4 to take part in the first international tournament.

Head Coach Nima Singye said that the team couldn’t play well against Nepal as the players created maximum fouls in the game.

“Five players were foul out. We had to play a tough game until the final whistle,” he said.

The national team is competing with teams from Nepal, Bangladesh, the Maldives, and India.

BBF’s General Secretary, Sonam Tobgay said that the team was given the opportunity to help the players develop and grow their skills.

“It could enable standard grassroots basketball development,” he said. “It’s a significant step towards the development of sports and the players and coaches will gain exposure to the international arena.”

Participation in such championships is a requirement for Bhutan as a member of Bhutan Olympic Committee, International Basketball Federation and Asian Basketball Federation.

Bhutan Olympic Committee supported the team with Nu 0.38M to take part in the tournament. However, voluntary sponsors and contributions were solicited from the parents of the players to meet the expense of diet and training.

The championship is played in Round Robin Tournament where each team faces all other teams in turn. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the knockout stages.

Bhutan is placed along with Nepal, and India in Group A. The Maldives and Bangladesh are placed in Group B.

The winning team of the championship will qualify to play FIBA Under-16 Asian Championship 2017 in Malaysia later this year.

Bhutan will play the Maldives today.