Football for the Goals initiative begins

Thinley Namgay

Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School (HSS) secured the 2023 Bhutan HSS Football Championship (BHSSFC) by defeating Chukha Central School (CS) 12-3 in the final at Changlimithang Stadium yesterday.

The first half concluded with a score of 4-1 in favour of Yangchenphug. In the second half, Yangchenphug added eight more goals, while Chukha managed to score two.

Chukha CS was outmatched by Yangchenphug HSS, with the latter displaying superior skills, stamina, and physical prowess. Yangchenphug had seven BFF Academy players and three club players, providing them with a competitive advantage.

Furthermore, the Yangchenphug players had more  experience in national and international games. The final could have been more competitive had Ugyen Academy been present. Among the eight teams participating in the BHSSFC, Yangchenphug and Ugyen Academy were considered the two strongest teams. However, Ugyen Academy was eliminated by Yangchenphug in the semifinals through a penalty shootout.

Yangchenphug’s coach, Yoenten Phuntsho, expressed his satisfaction with the championship win and extended his gratitude to the organisers for creating an opportunity for the youth to participate in such a national tournament. He emphasised the benefits of the tournament for the development of football skills, character, intellectual growth, and physical fitness among young players.

Jigme Namgyel, the captain of Yangchenphug, attributed their victory to the collaborative efforts of everyone who supported them and expressed his anticipation for a similar spirit in future games.

For Chukha CS coach, Sonam Wangchuk, his team’s  presence in the final held great significance beyond the result. He acknowledged the strength of the opponent and commended his players for their best efforts, expressing his pride in their performance.

He also highlighted the championship’s value as a platform for high school students, particularly those in rural areas with limited opportunities.

The champions received a cash prize of Nu 300,000 along with a trophy, while the runners-up were awarded Nu 200,000 and a trophy. Kinzang Tenzin of Yangchenphug was recognised as the most valuable player of the tournament.

Concurrently with the final match, the United Nations Country Team in Bhutan, in collaboration with the Bhutan Football Federation, launched the “Football for the Goals” initiative.

This initiative aims to leverage the power of football to drive positive social change and promote sustainable development in Bhutan. It aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and will run until March of the following year, focusing on four key themes: health and wellbeing, protecting children and youth, gender equality and women empowerment, and climate action.