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AFC Grassroot Football Day celebrated in Phuentsholing

More than 165 students of Phuentsholing Middle Secondary School celebrated the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Grassroot Football Day this week in Phuentsholing.

The annual national event was marked by teaching basic football skills to the participants. Also, the students took part in a friendly match along with being coached on playing skills.

Students were taught dribbling skills and scoring tactics along with basic exercises required for football. Ugyen Dorji, General Manager (Grassroot Level) of Bhutan Football Federation (BFF) said that the grassroot level football has become vital for the country to groom young talents at an early age.

Almost 2,000 students in 18 dzongkhags celebrated the day except Dagana and Gasa which did not have coaches. Since last year, these two dzongkhags have not celebrated the event. Forty seven Asian countries celebrated the day this year.

Students aged 6 to 12 years took part in the Grassroot Football Day.

Ugyen Dorji said that the celebration has improved the children’s footballing skills. “We can see the improvement of their skills and tactics,” he said. Since the skills are taught from six years onward, the participants learn much more easily than the older ones.

With two coaches in Phuentsholing, the grassroot coaching for these kids will continue. They will coach the students for five days in every school. These students will compete in the inter-school football tournament during the midterm break and form a youth dzongkhag team after selection. The winning team from each dzongkhag will compete later at the national level.  “The event will benefit the kids, parents and the stakeholders,” he said.

Bhutan started celebrating AFC Grassroot Football Day from 2011 after FIFA granted the country membership. Since then BFF has been celebrating the day as a national event by employing dzongkhag coaches. By 2014, all the dzongkhags had coaches.

Bhutan also received two awards for ‘AFC Grassroot Award’ in 2013 and 2017. “We hope we can go miles with grassroot football in the country,” said Ugyen Dorji.  BFF organized the event in collaboration with AFC.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing