Pepsi Thimphu League, also a qualification tier for BOB national league, has decided the top three clubs representing Thimphu come national league 2018 in September.
Although the clubs are left with two matches each to play, three slots alloted to the clubs from Thimphu to play national league is resereved before the league ends. Thimphu City, Transport United, and Thimphu FC have confirmed their spot to play national league 2018 with 31, 29, and 27 points respectively in 12 games.
High-Quality United and Druk United closely followed the qualification battle with 14 points each. However, the clubs are short of nine points to keep the qualification tier alive.
The league featured two new clubs of Tensung FC and Phuensum FC in this edition. However, the debutants are placed in the relegation zone and will be replaced by FC Tertons and BFF Academy FC in the next season.
Phuensum FC nears the exit with three draws and Tensung FC with two wins and as many draws.
With the top three teams separated by only two points, the race to become the champions of Thimphu is open. All three top teams have two matches each to end the championship. The title contest is tight between defending champions, Thimphu City and Transport United, current national champions.
Thimphu City, Transport United, and Thimphu FC will have to win the remaining fixtures to end the championship in their favour. If Thimphu City defeats Transport United in the last match of the league, the result would favour Thimphu FC with runners-up spot. Transport United will have to win the remaining fixtures to seal the championship.
Thimphu City coach, Passang Tshering, said that the team is fortunate to play Phuensum FC before facing Transport United in the last game of the league on August 8. “We have about five injured players and will have to bring in new players in our next game to help the injured players recover. Both matches are important for us.”
Passang Tshering was with the club when it first won Thimphu league title in 2016 and returned to the club this year after the former coach of the club left abroad.
“The club previously had good players. But the club lost some players this season. The team ended as champions last year and I hope for the same result this year,” said Passang Tshering.
Meanwhile, Kencho Tobgay, who played a vital role in Transport United’s national league win last year, was back to his scoring ways. He scored in last three games of the league. His striker mate Olayemi Victor Bakare proved his form scoring four goals in last two matches.
In absence of the league’s highest scorer, Nima Wangdi, midfielder Karma Shedrup Thsering, Diwash Subba and Sampa Tshering, former Transport United player has proved strong in last three fixtures of Thimphu City.
Transport United’s striker Olayemi Victor Bakare said the team started to prepare for their final fixture since last week. “The atmosphere in training is positive. It’s a must-win game for us. I have high expectations. I believe in my team and we are going to win the game,” he said.
In the last five meetings of Thimphu City and Transport United, Thimphu City has the record of one win and one draw against Transport United. The latter has the record of two wins and one draw against the former.
The two will meet for the sixth time in two years on August 8 to decide the championship fate.