The Bhutan Football Federation (BFF) has replaced the national football team coach Norio Tsukitate, with a new head coach Pema. Tshering Chophel will be the assistant coach. This was after the Norio walked out in the second half of the Bhutan-Maldives game after an argument with the team manager.
The first half saw Bhutan getting three goals followed by another in the second half. Coincidentally after the coach left and there was a change in strategy the national team scored three quick goals and looked hungry till the end.
The two new coaches will be now leading team Bhutan for the next match that is scheduled on 13th October with Hong Kong in the Changlimithang stadium.
Coach Pema is appointed as head coach until the match with Hong Kong. The reappointment of a permanent coach will be done after the match with Hong Kong. Pema is with BFF and he had experience as a coach in various clubs like Yeedzin club, Druk United and Terton Club.
Starting this year, Pema was appointed as Assistant coach for Team Bhutan even before the selection of team Bhutan.
He said “I don’t have a game plan as such for the team because I was never involved fully with the team and it might take some time for me to know the team properly but what I can say is I will make them work by seeing the condition of the opponent.”
The coach said that as of today 10 of the players are injured, and most of the players are very young for the game with Hong Kong but he said that he still has many expectations from team Bhutan.
“With Bhutan and Hong Kong not having the same altitude, I have hope for at-least a draw if not a win and most importantly with it being a home match there will be good support from the crowd”, he said.
Team manager, Hishey Tshering, said the federation is always positive about the upcoming match with Hong Kong. He said the management tries to inculcate a ‘never say die spirit’ in the team.
The manager clarified that the coach was not sacked as such but he basically quit and left the federation and he also did not have the courtesy to inform the President about his leaving.
Hishey said that the coach never wanted to stay as he had no reason to stay and so coach Norio was using a certain strategy to find a way to quit.
He said, “What coach Norio did was, on Monday, he asked the team captain Karma Choedup to be out of team for Thursday’s match and I am not sure why he did that, but the only intention I could make is, coach Norio actually wanted Karma to react but Karma did not react and instead took it very positively.”
The second thing he shared was that, during the pre-match press conference Norio said that the federation could sack him if they want but the federation did not react.
Thirdly, at the time of warming up before match, Hishey said, “I was with the coach in the center where the coach out of blue told me ‘let’s go from here otherwise a player might kick me intentionally.”
“We had a very bad time in the first half and everyone involved in team was asking me to do something and being a manager I went to the coach and shared my view on changing the game plan whereby he didn’t respond,” he added.
During the halftime, the coach took him to the left side of the technical room and asked him to take over the team if he interfered.
Even after the half time, there was no change in the team strategy and when he asked the boys, they said there was no change in game plan but the coach was briefing them on the mistakes that they were making in the first half.
Hishey Tshering said that, he was sitting on a chair where the coach came to him and asked for his permission to seat near him where there was an empty chair.
He said, “I tried to ignore him as he was provoking me again and again and out of frustration I said if you want to seat you can and if you don’t want than you can get lost”. He said the coach then immediately left the pitch after hearing those words from him.
The moment the coach left, manager said that he took the responsibility and he asked the assistant coach to take over the team. “The moment they changed their game plan they managed to put three goals in seven minutes and may be if they had two to three minutes more they could have even equalized,” said the manager.
“Even if I told him, I will be sacking you, he still has a duty to stay at pitch until the end of the game and take up the matter with the concerned authority but he did not do that and he was more than happy to leave the job halfway”, he said.
“I hate to believe that coach had set the team to lose and it is very unfortunate”, Hishey Tshering said.