Bhutan Football Federation Champions Grassroots Talent with National Selection Camp

In a groundbreaking move towards fostering grassroots talent in women’s football, the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF) recently concluded its first comprehensive selection camp in three years, drawing an impressive turnout of more than 250 girls. The selection camp, encompassing the under-12, under-14, and under-16 categories, marks a significant departure from the past centralized approach, signaling a new era of inclusivity and accessibility.

Under the banner of FIFA’s Talent Coach Program within the Talent Development Scheme, the initiative aims to provide equal opportunities for every aspiring talent. This innovative approach has resulted in a turnout nearly double that of previous centralized camps held in Gelephu.

Overseeing the event were esteemed personalities in the football world, including BFF’s U-14 women’s coach, Eilidh Mackay from Australia, FIFA’s talent coach Morag, national women’s football head Pema Choden Tshering, and local coach Kinley Wangmo. School sports instructors also lent their expertise, ensuring a well-rounded and nurturing environment for the participants.

Pema Choden Tshering emphasized the shift from the traditional centralized selection model, acknowledging the challenges faced by many aspiring players who couldn’t travel due to long distances and parental reluctance. This time, the BFF took a proactive approach, traveling across various regions to scout for talents, ensuring that no potential football star was left undiscovered.

“One of the objectives is to facilitate the overall growth of football and ensure that local coaches are given the platform to grow and be mentored by international experts,” explained Pema Choden Tshering, underscoring the importance of nurturing both players and coaching talent.

The selection camp, which commenced last month for girls born between 2007 and 2011, covered key locations across the nation, including Sarpang, Thimphu, Paro, Bumthang, Mongar, Trashiyangtse, Trashigang, and Samdrupjongkhar. The final leg is set to take place at the Phuentsholing Sports Association Ground, with the last camp scheduled in Samtse tomorrow.

Each location witnessed a remarkable display of enthusiasm, with Trashigang and Mongar boasting 45 participants each, Trashiyangtse with 55, Samdrupjongkhar with three, Thimphu with 40, and Paro with 28, among others. The diverse and extensive outreach reflects the success of the BFF’s efforts to make football accessible to young girls across the country.

The selected players, chosen from this talent-rich pool, will undergo training at the Gelephu Girls Academy, symbolizing a commitment to nurturing and developing the identified talents into the football stars of tomorrow. As Bhutan takes bold strides towards inclusive and widespread talent development, the recent selection camp stands as a testament to the nation’s dedication to the beautiful game.

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