After more than three year’s hiatus, the senior men’s national football team will be in action again this month. The team has been invited to take part in the Prime Minister Three Nations Cup 2023 in Nepal. Bhutan will play Laos in the opening match of the tournament on 22nd of March.
According to the Bhutan Football Federation, the pandemic has robbed the senior men’s national team of opportunities to play in international competitive or friendly matches for the past few years.
However, the national team is gearing up for the Three Nations Cup where Bhutan will play Laos and host nation Nepal twice. Nepal won the 2021 edition of the tournament against Bangladesh and Kyrgyzstan.
Bhutan currently ranks 185th in the FIFA World Rankings while Nepal and Laos rank 175 and 187 respectively.
According to an official from the football federation, the senior national team has limited international matches to play in, which are the World Cup Qualifiers, the AFC Cup Qualifiers, the SAFF Championship, and international friendlies.
The senior men’s team last competitive international match came in 2019 against Guam in the World Cup pre-qualifiers where Bhutan lost 5-1 on aggregate.
This year, apart from the Three Nations Cup, Bhutan will take part in the SAFF Championship, which will be hosted by India in June.
According to the BFF, Bhutan will also play two international friendly matches this year. However, the dates and opponents are yet to be decided.
The friendly matches is to fulfill the BFF’s strategic plan to increase playing time for the senior men’s national team by 30 per cent by the end of this year.
Edited by Sherub Dorji