For the first time in Bhutan, the women’s football league competition will be starting from Sunday, May 8 organized by the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF) with a total of six clubs, each consisting of minimum 18-25 numbers excluding the coaches.
The clubs are namely FC Tertoen, Paro Utpal FC, Thimphu City FC, Mandala FC, Drukstar FC and Druk United FC.
There is no certain age limit placed on the players, with many being mainly students, college and high school graduates and a few office goers.
As of now, the teams are in full swing of training session for almost a month with support from Bhutan Football Federation in Changlimithang and Changjiji football grounds.
Competition Officer, Kinley Dorji, said, “Every year we used to have a grand league of men’s football, and this is the first year to conduct a grand football league for women, to promote and develop the equity and talents of women.”
He added that there are 22 slots for national women’s team and a maximum of four to participate in each team to provide equal distribution. The program will be conducted annually, same like for men’s team.
“The match will be played for almost two months from 8 to 31 of May, and one month break during June, and since most of the participants are students and need to prepare for the exam and will be resumed from 2 to 23 July.”
Each team is provided with Nu 50,000 to buy equipment and refreshment. There is a cash prize of Nu 80,000, Nu 50,000 and Nu 30,000 for the winner, runners up and 2nd runners up respectively, along with certificates.
“Earlier it was decided that the winner will be awarded the cash Nu 100,000 and Nu 50,000 for runners up, but later it was decided that the 2nd runners up should also be awarded the cash prize so it was assembled that way,” Kinley Dorji added.
He said that the teams will be provided with lady doctors and there are plans to have a lady chief guest during the grand opening, and lady referees will be officiating the matches.
Chimmi Pem, one of the footballers, said that the teams are all geared up to hit the ground, as almost all the participants are very competitive and experienced.
She said, “This is the much awaited and exciting event since it’s happening for the first time, and women are much deserved for this kind of event.” She said that the only main challenges comes when gathering for game practice as most of the participants are students with different schedules and some of the players are office goers.
Another participant, DechenWangmo, 18, a student of Pelkhil High School, and also a national team member, said that she is looking forward to the competition as all the participants are equally talented and competitive.
She added, “The only challenge facing us is in managing the ground, as the two grounds are not spacious enough for the six teams with almost 25 members each to fit in.”