Bhutanese Footballers Can’t Be Underestimated

“Bhutanese footballers are underestimated. I was given less time to play when I played outside for the first time. However, I worked hard to prove my potential.”

Bhutanese Footballers Can’t Be Underestimated. (Source:


Chencho Gyeltshen, Minerva Punjab football club’s forward, is displaying the collective potential of Bhutanese footballers.

The 21-year-old is the lone Bhutanese playing for one of the top division professional leagues in India. Chencho Gyeltshen joined his new club Minerva Punjab FC on October 18 and made his debut against the Rail Coach Factory (RCF) at the Punjab state league in the same month.

He played his first I-League match against Mohun Bagan on November 25, a club that he faced as a Druk United skipper in 2013 during the King’s Cup.

Chencho Gyeltshen won the Man of the Match Award

His performance in the league caught the attention of the crowd when an equaliser and an assist led Minerva Punjab FC’s win over NEROCA FC in the second I-League match. He also won the man of the match award for pulling a comeback win against NEROCA FC.

The forward led his team in the first away match against Indian Arrows on December 12 and registered the first away match win of the season in Goa, India.

In the next game, when Minerva Punjab hosted Chennai City, Chencho Gyeltshen was a player to be reckoned with. His cross from side flank ended behind the net to double the rebound equaliser, defeating Chennai City 2-1.

In an email interview, Chencho Gyeltshen said that it was hard to gain the trust of club officials, teammates and coaches when he played for the first time.

“Bhutanese footballers are underestimated. I was given less time to play when I played outside for the first time. However, I worked hard to prove my potential.”

In trying to prove his potential, he said that he is also working on opening up opportunities for upcoming Bhutanese players. “It’s difficult to reach where I am today, but I need to keep working hard.”

His career as a professional footballer began in early 2015, when he got a chance to undergo a month-long training in Thailand with Buriram United, a professional Thai football club.

Prior to joining the Minerva Punjab FC, he has also played for the Chittagong Abahani in the Bangladesh Premier League, after which he was with the Thimphu City FC at home.

“I had to choose between education and career and it was the toughest thing to do,” Chencho Gyeltshen, who left schooling after class XII, said. “I believed in myself and chose my career.”

Playing in the I-League is a dream

He said that playing in the I-League is a dream. “My supporters back home wanted me to play. They believed in my potential and insisted that I play here.”

Chencho Gyeltshen said he is one of the key players. He scored a goal against NEROCA FC, and two assists in four I-League games.

“I am satisfied with my performance to date and I aim to perform better,” he said.

“My dream is to win the title with the club and to play in the Indian Super League.”


By Nima (This article has been edited for the New Bhutan Times)

This article first appeared on Kuensel.



Related Posts

Stakeholders Discuss National Sports Policy

The Bhutan Olympic Committee submitted a proposal to the government for the development of the national sports policy....

Nov 23, 2017 07:35

Bhutanese Bodybuilders Hope to Win Medals

The 9th World Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championships is underway in Ulaanbaatar, the Capital of Mongolia. Four...

Oct 07, 2017 18:51

The Perils of Dha – Bhutan’s National Game

Dha (Archery), the national sport of Bhutan is a double edged sword – while it is entertaining, it can also be...

Sep 30, 2017 05:33

Bhutanese Female Archer makes a Comeback

Sherab Zam is a former national archer with the Bhutan Archery Federation. The 35-year-old retired in 2013 to become a...

Oct 06, 2017 07:03

Coach Pema Returns to Lead National Squad

Coach Pema has the experience of leading the boys since he first took over the squad in the match against the Maldives...

Nov 04, 2017 17:30



Commemorative bank notes featuring Bhutan's Crown Prince to be sold in Singapore

One million pieces are available worldwide and Singapore will have a "limited allocation".

Mar 20, 2018 17:10

Bhutan Ranks 97th in World Happiness Report

The report, which is created by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, is based on factors like per capita GDP, social support,...

Mar 16, 2018 21:48


Bhutanese Journal of Agriculture Launched

The journal is published by the Agriculture Research and Extension Division of the Department of Agriculture and will be now an annual...

Mar 18, 2018 22:31

Conserving Traditional Bhutanese Architecture

“The old buildings are important as a testimony of the past. It is not only important to preserve these houses, but also to encourage the...

Mar 15, 2018 11:47


Bhutan out of ASEAN Women’s T20 Open Tournament

Bhutan had the chance of finishing among the top three teams with a total of three points after playing four matches. At the finals,...

Mar 14, 2018 17:22

National Cricket Team Wins First International Title

The National cricket team defeated Thailand by three runs in the finals to win the championship. A total of four countries China, Bhutan,...

Mar 02, 2018 18:14


Top Five Business Ideas Bag Grants at National Start-up Weekend

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said during the prize awarding ceremony that although the government has been promoting entrepreneurship,...

Mar 20, 2018 22:53

Bhutan National Start-Up Weekend Begins

The MoIC Minister DN Dhungyel said that there is a need to change the expectations of youth who thinks that the government is the main...

Mar 17, 2018 12:05


Nyungne - A Fascinating Winter Ritual

“Winters can get real desolate here and nyungne is the only festival that makes the place lively,” he said. “It was so good to see everyone...

Mar 10, 2018 21:25

Pilgrimage to Beyul Langdra - The Hidden Treasure of the Bull Cliff

It is believed that Guru Rinpoche had hidden more than 60 sacred treasures in and around the cliff to be discovered by prophesied treasure...

Feb 24, 2018 13:16


Schools and Institutes Use Composting to Reduce Landfill Waste

Developed by Koji Takakura, a Japanese national, the composting method has been introduced to more than 60 countries.

Mar 19, 2018 21:54

Singaporean director crowdfunds for documentary on uncovering Bhutan's 'secret to happiness'

Singaporean director Loretta Chen is looking to raise US$25,000 for a film project on Bhutan.

Mar 15, 2018 22:02

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!