Futsal:  Futsal, the modified version of football, in Bhutan is still in its infancy. However, the game is gaining popularity with regular tournaments being conducted every year.

Bhutan still lacks a proper indoor futsal court but the absence of a court has not deterred futsal enthusiasts from playing the game even if it’s in a dusty alley or on a parking lot with numerous vehicles plying nearby.

The Nazhoen Cup, a futsal tournament that is currently underway at the Changlimithang parking lot received an overwhelming turnout from 24 teams. However, with the limited financial support, the organisers could take in just 10 teams.

Day four of the weeklong tournament saw Vink FC defeat Titan Wonders 3-0 yesterday. Titan Wonders who were clearly looking for an early goal with a fast break were stunned after a counter attack from Vink FC.

Tenzin Thinley of Vink FC scored a brace during the match. After breaking the deadlock in the 10th minute of the first half with a powerful right-footed-shot, Tenzin went on to score in the opening minute of the second half.

Chimi Gyeltshen sealed the victory for Vink FC in the dying minutes of the match.

Organised to engage youth during the vacation, the weeklong futsal tournament is a part of the month-long winter programme organised by a youth group, Creative Team.

The coordinator of the team, Jigme Wangchuk said that the programme is specifically designed to engage youth meaningfully during their vacation. “We want to disseminate information on the ill effects of drugs and alcohol abuse and encourage healthy activities,” he said.

Jigme Wangchuk who is also a peer counsellor with the Nazhoen Pelrig, Drop-In-Centre in Thimphu, said that it is during such times when youth are idle that they tend to get involved in social crimes. “Having them engaged in such activates will keep them occupied and generate a feeling of responsibility towards their team,” he said.

As a part of the programme, the organisers conducted a blood screening and testing campaign last week. More than 200 people were given awareness on the ill effects of drugs and alcohol abuse, social crimes and sexual health, among others.

With the theme, “Reaching the youth before drugs do” the programme also intends to enhance communication skills among the participants and build networks with the related agencies.

So far, Jigme Wangchuk said that the programme has imparted awareness on social crimes and drug and alcohol problems to more than 400 people including the 100 participants engaged in the futsal competition.

Younten Tshedup