Coach Denkar (33)

A lone woman coach competes against 9 male coaches in Premier League

Football is basically considered as a man’s sport, however, many women have started taking part in it and Bhutan now has a female coach for one of the local clubs.

Coach Denkar, a 33-year-old woman is the lone woman coach breaking the stereotype and she is competing against 9 male coaches in the ongoing BoB Bhutan Premier League. She is currently a coach of Ugyen Academy Football Club (UA FC).

Although she was a coach for 8 years in the row for a women’s team, this is her first time as a coach to a men’s football club. She started her career as a coach in 2011 with the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF).

She was interested in football since her school days and she used to be one of the players in the Women’s National Football team for few years.

Denkar shared that she is so happy that she is living her dream and so competing with male opponents is not challenging, at least for now, however, things might change in future. Denkar approached UA FC to hire her as their coach.

“I thought they might not hire me as I am a woman and this being a men’s league. But to my surprise, without any doubt they hired me and it’s almost a year now that I am both training and coaching them,” she added.

She said that she is proud because she could break the stereotype. People have a mindset that women cannot take a man’s place or that they cannot compete when the opponent is a man. However, she feels that she could break the stereotype because she is taking up the challenge and her club is doing great for now in the league.  

As of now, Denkar said that she has not come across any issues which normally woman used to face having to work in an environment surrounded by men. She feels safe working with her club because they are students and they share the same respect with her as they share with their teachers.

However, she said, “Situation could have been different and challenging if I was a coach with other clubs as the players are all adults. Otherwise, my coach mates have been supportive and I did not come across any harassment in any form indeed.”

Usually, some men look down upon women for doing the same job as they do, but when it comes to football, she said that all the men coaches have treated her equally and did not give her any room to regret her decision to be a coach competing against their teams.

Meanwhile, she said, “Bhutanese people believe football is meant for men because women will have no career as a football player. Moreover, women coming into football just started in the country which is why not many parents support their daughters to be a footballer.”

“Nevertheless, with time parents are coming forward and supporting women footballers. They now know the value of being a footballer and how important it is to support their children in achieving what they want,” she added.

Education is not all one needs to be successful, she said, adding that success comes when one is able to overcome all the challenges to achieve ones dream and that is how she has come this far, by not giving up despite various hardships in life.

In addition, “People will have gender bias in everything they do, but it is you who decides everything and don’t let anyone overrule your dreams just because you’re a woman. Let them down look on women, but let us prove to the world that we are no less than men.”

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