Image from June 26th fixture between Druk United FC and Ugyen Academy FC. (Image Courtesy: BOB Premier League)

A Growing interest in club football among the footballing faithful

Bhutan’s national football team currently ranks 186th in the FIFA World Rankings.

Disappointment in the second leg of two-legged preliminary qualifiers against Guam on the 11th of June had left supporters saddened and alarmed by the defeat to the Micronesian side but with the start of the BOB Bhutan Premier League from 22nd June, attendances are consistently high for all league games and this owes to the fact that the league is now more competitive than ever according to media and marketing director, Phuntsho Wangdi who is also BFF Spokesperson.

The BOB Bhutan Premier league has 10 teams from 4 districts and boasts the arrivals of numerous international footballers from Brazil, England, Portugal and an incoming Egyptian player among the various other nationalities and an English coach that are present in this year’s league. This combined with highly competitive games with tight score lines have gained the interest of the footballing faithful of the country.

The prestige of the league has also continually been increasing with this year’s prize money at Nu 2 million which has made the clubs invest more in increasing the quality of their sides. The BOB Premier League will also last longer than previous editions and the motive for this is to keep the footballers occupied with football for a longer period.

The National Team is selected from the players that play Club Football, so a fitter talent pool would help the national side by keeping players ready for international duty. “Our leagues need to be good, so that our national team becomes stronger, “said Phuntsho Wangdi.

BFF expects one or two sides to come into the BOB Bhutan Premier League by 2022. With numerous artificial grounds being set up all over the country, the BFF encourages more clubs to come up with local talent, develop them and bring them to the national stage.

There are three tiers of Bhutanese football which are the District League, The Bhutan Pepsi Super League and the BOB Bhutan Premier League. The BFF remains hopeful that club football continues to develop like the youth league, women’s leagues and school leagues.

Despite the National Teams recent defeat, the supporters still possess the passion for football which has spilled into the club football scene and the upcoming Football Academies planned by the BFF all contribute to the growing and never-ending support, hope and belief of the Bhutanese footballing faithful.

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