World Cup qualifiers second round draw on April 14

Head coach Chokey Nima could be replaced before the next match

Football: Who is waiting for Bhutan in the second round of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers will be known on April 14, when the fixtures for the second round will be drawn at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Officials from the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF) will be representing the country during the draw.

A total of 40 teams from Asia, including the six teams who qualified from the first round, will be divided into eight groups of five each.  The probability of Bhutan facing the regional powers like Japan, South Korea and Iran is 1/40.

12 teams, including the winners from each group and four best group runners-up, will advance to the third round of FIFA World Cup qualification, as well as qualify for the AFC Asian Cup finals.

Meanwhile, a Japanese coach is likely to take over team Bhutan just after its historic win in the first round of the World Cup qualifiers.  The captain of the team, Karma Shedrup Tshering, said that the coach met them at Bangkok during their training. “Although he didn’t train us, he advised the team and the coach before the game,” he said.

Karma Shedrup Tshering said that, given the time and resources for the practice, a new coach taking over wouldn’t affect the team. “If he wants, the boys can always cope up with any of his new game plans,” he said.  He also added that, now that they have won the first round of the qualifiers, their game should be more professional.

Chokey Nima, the man who delivered the nation’s first historic win at a World Cup qualifier, is plausibly going to be replaced.  He currently works for BFF as the technical director and is also an AFC certified coach.  Coach Nima said that if the Japanese coach took over the national team, it would be for the good of everyone. “He’s a very experienced football coach, much more experienced than me,” he said.  “I’d be happy if he takes over.”

The president of BFF, Ugen Tshechup Dorji, said that Chokey Nima was  appointed  as the national coach “strictly on an interim basis”, as the team didn’t have a head coach.

However, BFF officials said that the appointment of the new coach was yet to be confirmed.  The committee will meet next week to finalise the appointment and the procedures that will follow.

By Younten Tshedup

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