Since its inauguration on December 15, so far 26 matches have been played and it has earned BFF Nu 75,000 in fees
Artificial Turf: Ever since it was laid on the ground and inaugurated on December15,the artificial turf at Changlimithang national stadium had no rest.
Besides the ongoing Coca- Cola tournament, football enthusiasts of various age groups, from students on vacation to civil servant representing different agencies to club players, the turf is hired out for almost 14 hours from 7am during weekends to 9pm under the floodlights through out the week.
So far, Bhutan Football Federation has recorded 26 matches played, earning it about Nu 75,000 since December 15.
On weekdays, in-charge Dhan Bahadur Tamang who hires the ground out to Thimphu residents said the game began from 3pm until 9pm.
“Players make their bookings a week in advance,” he said.
On weekdays, from 10am until noon, teams playing on the turf pay Nu 2,000 (1,000 each), between noon and 5pm, the fees go up to Nu 2,500 and to Nu 3,500 from 5pm to 9pm because the flood lights on the four corners of the turf have to be lit. “Should players hire a trained federation referee they have to pay an additional Nu 1,000,”Dhan Bahadur said.
On weekends, officials said avid footballers, particularly young men, hit the turf by 5am and it was hired for two hours for which teams had to pay Nu 3,500 and it shot up to Nu 4,500 from 5pm to 9pm.
The additional money was for using lights.
The turf remains closed on Mondays and Fridays for maintenance.
Federation officials said the fees they collected were used for the maintenance and clean- ing.
“Remaining money from the fees will be saved to buy new artificial turfs in future,” federation officials said. “The lifespan of the turf is eight years.”
A 16-year-old Motithang School student, Pema Namgyel looks forward almost everyday to playing football on the artificial turf.
“He said a team of 11 players normally chip in about Nu 100 each a game to make up the total fee,” he said. “Our parents don’t mind giving us that money because they know what the money will be used for.”
Another 17 years old Tashi Dorji said on the new ground, they could kick harder and further than they could on ordinary grounds, control ball much better and dive without much fear of meeting a sharp stone.
“We feel more confident on the artificial turf,” he said.
By Tashi Phuntsho