National football squad bolstered by additional eight young guns

The eight new players in the national team. (Pic: BFF)

KARMA CHIMI | Thimphu


On January 17, the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF) unveiled its 30-man national football team for 2023, which includes eight fresh faces.

Three fresh young players from the Ugyen Academy Football Club (UAFC), Santa K. Limboo, Kelzang Jigmi, and Tandin Dorji have joined the national team.

From Bhutan Football Federation Academy (BFFA), Pema Zangpo and Kinzang Tenzin, two new rising youth stars, are also on the roster.

Lobzang Chogyal, the lone new player from Paro FC (PFC), and Kinga Rabgay and Dorji, from Thimphu City FC (TCFC) are on the squad. However, Kinga and Dorji both previously played for the national squad but were chosen again after a lengthy hiatus.

After demonstrating his tenacity at UAFC and winning the Young Emerging Player award for the BOB Bhutan Premier League 2022 (country’s highest footballing league), 19-year-old Santa K Limboo, one of the newly selected players, expresses astonishment at being chosen.

He expresses joy at having the opportunity to represent his country while also promising to do his absolute best to live up to his coaches and families’ expectations and to seek out the required guidance from the senior national players to advance further in his footballing career.

BFF have said that the new players bring extra energy to the team since they are young and really determined to mark their presence in the national team.

This year’s national squad is composed of young athletes, with an average age of 23 and ages ranging from 17 to 30.

Tenzin Dorji, 25, a seasoned defender for Druk Lhayul FC (DLFC), is pleased to have been selected for the national team for eight years in a row and hopes to continue doing so in the future as well. The young people, he continued, should be inspired and shown how we can support ourselves through football.

According to BFF officials, the squad list won’t alter, although it might in the event of a major injury or other unforeseen incident.

PFC, with 10 players, makes up the largest portion of the roster followed by TCFC with eight players and UAFC with four.

The national team has two members from RTC, DLFC, and BFFA. While Transport United FC and Paro Rinpung FC both have one.

Since the BOB Bhutan Premier League season for 2022 concluded with Paro FC winning the title, BFF announced that they are beginning national team camp and preparation for the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) championship and other international friendlies in order to maintain the fitness of the player.

Although many players have missed the opportunity and weren’t selected for the national team, they are adamant that they will train hard, maintain their fitness, and play to their full potential for the following year.

The national team will be led by the interim head coach Pema Pema.

BFF have justified that there were limited tournaments for the men’s national team due to the pandemic restrictions.

Now that the restrictions have eased, the men’s national team awaits its first major tournament in the SAFF championship 2023, after more than a 3 year long hiatus.

 

 

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