I know Yeshey Dorji since my college days at Sherubtse College in 2005. We studied together, taking up BA in English Honours. Since then he proved that he has an extraordinary drive to play football. He nurtured his drive, his talent and has transformed himself into one of the strongest attacking midfielders in Bhutan. This earned him a huge fame amongst football enthusiasts. And he was widely known as Bumlay.
Bumlay played for the Bhutan Senior National Team for the past several years. He has appeared in the national squad 30 times, playing in the SAFF, AFC Presidents’ Cup and other internationals. He captains for Yeedzin FC and was awarded the player of the tournament award in 2011.
However, very recently, he announced his retirement from the national squad. He was only 26 years old, and of course was at the peak of his career. It’s very sad to hear this. Even his coach says, it’s a big loss for the national squad.
Several reasons why Yeshey retired from the national team are (source Kuensel):
1. There was no future playing football in Bhutan.
2. The Nu 4,000 monthly stipend paid to the national squad was also withdrawn recently.
3. The football management isn’t serious about the senior national team.
4. There is a lot of focus on grassroots development; whereas, the senior team is completely ignored.
5. The passion for playing in the national team couldn’t sustain a life.
I don’t have anything to say on Yeshey’s decision to retire from the national squad so early. But I can apparently see loads of frustration in this young player. Every reason he gave for his retirement saddened me.
I don’t want to criticize here any concerned authorities of football management in Bhutan (be it BOC or RGoB or BFF). For, I don’t know much about the football management in Bhutan. Even I don’t know how much budget has been allocated for football development in the 11th Five Year Plan. I don’t know what are the strategies developed by the concerned agencies in exploring sponsorships and funds for the sports in Bhutan.
But I can sense a lukewarm support even from the government in developing sports in Bhutan. If it’s wrong, then I beg pardon here.
Yes, we have youth unemployment. Yes, the government cannot provide civil service jobs to over 2,400 university graduates and thousands other classes X and XII graduates. We are happy that our government is exploring ways to send unemployed youth outside for works. Very good.
But sport is one area that our government needs to stress on to engage more youth and to create more employment opportunities. More sports infrastructures. Stronger sports management. Proper support system. Those talented sportsmen need not have to stay in Bhutan for their livelihood. They can play outside and earn. The purpose of the government is also to understand and address the needs of the people.
Some information extracted from Kuensel: http://www.kuenselonline.com/it-doesnt-pay-to-play-for-the-national-squad.
Photo courtesy: https://www.facebook.com/bumlay15united/photos