Twelve teams – six from Bhutan, four from India and two from Nepal – will be playing in the prestigious and much-awaited Jigme Dorji Wangchuck memorial Gold Cup at the Phuentsholing Sports Association (PSA) ground from Monday.
This football championship was first started in 1987 as an annual event and saw teams from Nepal and India. A football club from Janakpur, Nepal was the first team to win the championship.
After years of hiatus, the championship was once again organized in 2006 by PSA. A football club from West Bengal, India, Jaigaon sports association, won the cup in 2006; making them the current titleholder of the championship.
The media spokesperson from Bhutan Football Federation (BFF), Phuntsho Wangdi said the revival of the championship was essential considering the history and prominence of the championship with the native.
“The most popular in the region clubs from Nepal, India, and Bhutan have always been in the championship,” he said.
Meanwhile, 11 matches will be played during the championship and all matches will be broadcasted LIVE.
BFF will also assess the success of the championship and explore ways to organize the tournament after every two years. “But we have to see since this is the most sought championship. We will also consider the demands from the spectators,” Phuntsho Wangdi said.
BFF official said the Gold Cup was on hold because of infrastructure and the need to prioritize certain activities with the federation.
Meanwhile, the Gold Cup, it’s envisioned, would also enable the private and corporate institutions in the dzongkhags to invest in bringing up their own local clubs to participate in the championship.
BFF estimates a total of Nu 5mn approximately to conduct the championship and support clubs taking part in the championship with transportation, lodging, and other supports.
Phuentsho Wangdi said BFF will sponsor all the expenses for the entire team during the championship, including airfare, hotel accommodation and fooding and that BFF will now organize the championship hereafter.
“BFF is almost ready to organize the international championship. There are a few more works to be complete. But it will be ready before the championship begins,” he added.
Meanwhile, teams come and play without entry fees in this championship as has been the trend. Teams from neighboring Indian states of Assam and West Bengal and Nepal have been regular participants of the championship.
Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing