Bhutan may be regarded as one of the lowest ranked teams in world football, but that is not preventing the national team’s captain, Karma Shedrup, to be confident about his team’s chances of reaching the World Cup. The qualification for the 2018 World Cup has just begun in the Asian parts of the world.
As the lowest ranked teams fight it for a place in the final qualification spots, Bhutan will be hoping that their low paid footballers will be able to fight against the top names from Asia. Football in Bhutan struggles for popularity against its number one sport, archery.
However, the increasing popularity of television in the country means that more and more people are exposed to the likes of Premier League and la Liga football.
It has resulted in a growth for football and it will conversely result in better talent being available for the national team. Bhutan joined FIFA rankings only in 2000. They have played in only 18 international matches in the last six years. They will be up against Sri Lanka in the first round of the qualifying for the Asian regions. The first leg will be at Colombo whereas the return leg will be in front of their own supporters.
“The world ranking does not matter. It is just a number. It is not a reflection of our performance, but the [very low] frequency of matches that we have played.If I am in Thimphu I will definitely go to the game because I am kind of respected here.Even though I’m not, I act like a god. So if I go I might have to wear wigs and disguise myself,” saidShedrup. “I cannot guarantee 100% a win. But we’ll fight until the last minute,” said winger Kuenga Gyeltshen about Bhutan’s chances of beating Sri Lanka.