Bhutanese in Sydney show their strength on indoor soccer
February 23, 2009: Until a year ago ‘Bhutanese in exile’ was the symbolic shadow under which we used to stand. September 2008, came as a great beacon light of hope to the thousands of Bhutanese youths who had lit the flame of gender discrimination, deprived from the justice and right they deserved. The day when some of our feet landed on the Australian soil, hopes had finally opened to live a better and a healthier life. They had a dream, a dream to step up with a plea that shall always march ahead and do something progressive in life.
With a little hope of promoting Bhutanese people and culture, two girls team (Druk FC A and Druk FC B) from Sydney-based Association of Bhutanese in Australia (ABA) participated in an indoor soccer competition organized by Football United, a youth football development program officially supported by FIFA. Druk FC A comprises of Hemanta Acharya (captain), Kabita Dhungel, Sumitra Monger Khadka, Indira Kafley, Indira Dhungel, Goma Acharya, Bhima Adhakari while Druk FC B includes Ambika Dhungel (captain), Bhagi Dhaurali, Radhika Dhaurali, Geeta Dhungel, Januka Acharya, Tulsa Dhungel and Keshavi Bhandari.
Indoor soccer is a new concept of soccer played inside an enclosed building with the total field area just a bit bigger than a basketball court. Having slightly different rules than we usually play on open field, each team has only five players including a goal keeper. The competitions which ran from December 28 2009 to February 7, 2010 brought together 8 teams of Sydney’s different football clubs and communities. Those 8 teams were divided with four teams in each group with both teams from Bhutanese community falling in same.
Both Bhutanese teams seemed to be struggling in their first match as they took time in understanding the rules of the games , for they were playing for the first time inside an enclosed premises against highly trained and physically stronger players. But at the end, enthusiasm and passion on soccer helped both teams to be qualified for the semi finals. Druk FC B lost finals in penalty shootouts and ended up in the first runner up. Druk FC A lost the semis and won the 3rd place playoffs 3-2. Kabita Dhungel won the best and fairest players award.
A star female player from A-league club Central Coast Mariners presented the trophy, medals and certificates to the players.
Speaking on the second success of Druk FC girls team, first being success for securing third position in Football United outdoor soccer festival last October, Hemanta Acharya said that the cooperation in the team, passion and support from community members were keys behind success.
Hemanta Acharya, who had led ‘Druk FC A’ to the third position is chosen in a 16-member team that is representing Australia as the second team to travel South Africa to play a mini World Cup in June 2010. The 16 member team will be going for the selection after a high level of training with coaches of international level. Eight players will be representing Australia including 4 girls and 4 boys. The competition will be between 32 nations in a same format as of major world cup but players in each team are only 8, with 6 playing the match including 3 girls in same team.
Similarly Druk FC boys led by Damber Dhungyel are preparing to face their first soccer match scheduled for March, in Australia, Sydney with four other Nepalese Community soccer teams.These boys are being coached by ex-football keeper of Bhutan National Team (Druk 11) Tahalman Kharka.