Foreign players in Bhutan

With a vision to enhance the popularity of football and foster international collaborations, Bhutan has recently expanded its football player network by inviting players from outside its borders.

This progressive step not only brings diversity and fresh perspectives to Bhutanese football, but also creates a platform for cultural exchange and mutual growth. The players are from India, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast. There are 5 foreign players, but one of them went back for treatment in Kolkata, and there is one coach from India.

Subrata is from India and he looks after the football sponsorship and investment, including player management, agency, consultation, and club management. His company is partnering with Namlha for a project. Subrata aims to attract more people to support football in South Asia, highlighting the region as a growing market with lower expenses compared to other saturated markets.

The focus is to develop young players and acknowledge the need for radical changes in the setup. Subrata plans to send players to Thailand for experience and has proposed for a talent hunt in Bhutan. This is being done so the success of Chencho Gyeltshen can be replicated down the line, which will enable the players’ to support their families through football. It is, therefore, imperative for them to advocate on collaboration between the federation, government, and private investors to overcome challenges, and improve Bhutan’s football rankings.

MD Azmuc Hossain Bidduth is from Bangladesh, and he is the head coach of Thimphu Raven.

“Bhutanese football players play on turf rather than natural grass because natural grass is tough for them to handle. As a result, they will become accustomed to playing on turf. Therefore, I advise trying to create a natural playing surface for football. Because Bangladesh has all-natural ground, making it tough for Bhutan to play on it should they travel there to play a match,” MD Azmuc Hossain Bidduth said.

The foreign football players are residing in an apartment complex next to the Glory Hotel, and they are content with the accommodations, salary, and quality that are provided by the club.

John, 26, is from Ghana and he has been playing football since his childhood, and it is the first time he has come to Bhutan. He is on the Namlha Club team, and before coming to Bhutan he was in India for two years.

John said, “It has been a journey of discovery, happiness, profound connections with the people and the place. I was struck by the warmth and welcoming nature of its people. Whether it was on the field or off, Bhutanese sports enthusiasts embraced me as a member of their extended family. The camaraderie and genuine affection they displayed made me feel right at home, easing any initial apprehensions I may have had about being in a foreign land. I like the food in Bhutan (fried rice and beef) and I am hoping to come to Bhutan next time.”

Similarly, Anthony is 23 years old and from Ghana. He had been in India for almost 3 years before coming to Bhutan and it was his first time coming to Bhutan. He played for the Thimphu Raven club.

“Living and playing sports in Bhutan has also given me the opportunity to immerse myself in the country’s rich cultural tapestry. The weather is good compared to India. India is so hot. And I like Bhutan and enjoy it here. Bhutanese player are not bad in sports, they give their best. In Bhutan everything is expensive. The joy and enthusiasm with which Bhutanese athletes approach their chosen disciplines are infectious, reminding me constantly of the power of passion and positivity,” Anthony said.

Bhutan is not only enhancing its own football scene, but also creating a platform for international collaborations and mutual growth. This progressive step positions Bhutan as a destination that celebrates the beauty of diversity, both on and off the field, and it sets the stage for an exciting new chapter in Bhutanese football.

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