Bhutan’s World Cup team to be finalized based on Thimphu League performance

Good performers can replace existing members of the national team

Though Bhutan’s current national football team may have won two spectacular games against Sri Lanka the places of its players are not yet assured on the team.
This is because the final national team to play in the second round of the FIFA World Cup 2018 will be selected only after the Yanmar Thimphu Premier League.
Bhutan Football Federation officials said that though the team had won against Sri Lanka, it did not guarantee the players a spot in the national team. The Thimphu League will also be a selection ground for those overlooked earlier.
A BFF official said, “Earlier even some good players could not make it for the national team selections so now this is also their chance.”
Meanwhile Bhutan’s new Japanese coach Tsukitate Norio (55) who is already late by around two months in his posting said that he will be there at the Thimphu League matches to watch the players and select the team. The Japanese coach was supposed to take over in February but he could make it only towards the end of March.
The Japanese coach will start training the existing national team members around twice a week from later this month.
With the final team to be selected only after the Thimphu League, Bhutan will be running it a bit close as Bhutan’s first game will be on 11th June 2015 barely two months away.
The Japanese coach said that first he would selected 50 players after which it would be brought down to 23 players from which the final playing 11 would be selected.
The coach said that currently he was coaching around 100 under 18 players around five times a week in the Football Academy as part of his normal coaching duties.
The coach said that the national team had some problems and weakness which had to be resolved. He said that the players should all be very clear on the position they play and what is expected of them.
As a result he said he will focus more on team tactics which would be simple and professional.
The coach said that there is not enough time to work on the individual skills of players as that is something that needs to be built from a young age with exposure to ‘ball touch’ skills.
Listing out his priority he said the first area of focus would be on changing the mentality and psychology of the players. “Right now the mentality of players is of playing at an amateur level and so now they need to become professional, more disciplined and more focused,” said the coach.
This would be followed by team tactics as listed out above. The next priority would be the physical fitness of the players. Here the coach said that he will be recreating match condition fitness exercises which could consist of bursts of speed, jumps, turns, etc. “The players will have to be able to run the entire 90 minutes of the game,” said the coach. He said the team’s physical fitness will need to improve.
The final focus would be on improving the individual skills of the players.
The coach said that players apart from training in Bhutan will also have to train abroad based on the climatic conditions of the countries that it would be playing against.
He said that if Bhutan would be playing against a country with hot weather then the team would have to fly to the place or a country with a similar climate to train and acclimatize.
In terms of diet the coach said nothing extraordinary would be required except that players would need to have a balance diet of proteins, minerals etc.
The coach said one natural advantage for Bhutanese players would be the high elevation of Thimphu which meant that there was less oxygen. He said the same players would be able to have better stamina in lower altitudes.
Meanwhile the coach with around 23 years of experience is already garnering a reputation in the BFF as a tough and curt man bordering at times on the rude. According to a BFF official a positive trait is that he is very time conscious and arrives early. The Bhutan’s national team hopefuls will be in for some ‘tough love’ from the coach. It remains to be seen if the coach and the players can adapt to each other and if the national team which has done well so far can improve even more.

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