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Bhutan concludes AFC Asian Cup campaign without a win

…conceded five goals per match, yet FIFA ranking improves by two spots

The national football team concluded its AFC Asian Cup qualifier without a win. The team was eliminated from qualifiers without a single point.

The match against Maldives on March 27 was the last chance for the national team to register some points. However 7-0 loss against The Maldives sent the Dragon boys back home without a point on the table.

During the course of the campaign, Bhutan lost to The Maldives 0-2 at home in June last year. Bhutan also suffered defeats in the hand of other contender like Palestine and Oman both at home and away.

The 7-0 win over Bhutan was The Maldives’ best result since 2016.

The newly appointed English coach, Trevor Morgan took charge of the team in early march this year. The 62-year old got about two weeks to train the squad before the national team faced The Maldives. Trevor Morgan was with football clubs of India for last four years before taking charge of the national team.

After the defeat, the English man through official social media page of BFF said the score line did not give the true image of the game. “The result was disappointing,” the coach said. “We stayed in the game but unfortunately we were out of the game. That happens when the players lack match fitness. It can be gained by playing more games.”

He added the game provides an opportunity to learn about the strength and the formation that is best suited with the potential of the players. “It’s about how we prepare for upcoming competitions.”

The national team was engaged in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 qualifier for about two years since the team secured a spot after defeating Sri Lanka in the World Cup qualifier playoff in 2015.

This followed Bhutan’s qualification into the two-legged playoffs, during which Bhutan defeated Bangladesh 3-1 on an aggregate to advance to the AFCs’qualifiers group stage.

Bhutan entered the group stage of the qualifier, facing Oman, Palestine, and The Maldives.

Bhutan was one of the two national teams that ended the qualifier without a point. The national team conceded the highest goals of 39 in six games making for a goal difference of -37, the highest. Bhutan also recorded the longest losing streak of six games and suffered the biggest defeat at the hands of Oman, 14-0 in the first group stage match at Muscat.

BFF officials said the team performed well compared to the world cup qualifier games. “We managed to score against the bigger teams like Oman. The level of the sport was different. We played against professional teams while we are still at the amateur level.”

The official added the standard of the local league should be improved for the players to perform better. “We don’t have any professional league at home. There was no regular training conducted by local clubs. Most of our players were students,” the official said.

BFF also highlighted the need to increase private and government investment for the development of the sport.

The team’s average goals scored stands at 0.63, and average goals allowed of five per match.

Despite the loss, Bhutan’s FIFA ranking released on March 15, places the country at 188th spot, two places up compared with the ranking of October last year.

Nima

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