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Young talent waiting in the wings

Profile: He bagged the award for the most promising player of the year in his maiden appearance in the national league this season. He was also voted the player of the season in both the national and the Thimphu League by his club, Thimphu City FC.

Nima Wangdi, popularly known as Chutur, is one of the up and coming footballers who has gained much appreciations in both the national squad and his new club.

As a side-back, the 18-year-old is considered one of the best defenders in the country today. Not only does he perform his duty skilfully in the back-line, but his approach as an attacking-defence also makes him a lethal weapon for both the club and the national squad.

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“At the tender of just 18, the maturity and understanding of the game Nima displays is wonderful,” said Karun Gurung, a senior national player.

The tanned complexion teenager doesn’t talk much. Carrying a mischievous smile when with friends, Nima started playing football at the age of five. As a kid, having a tiny physique earned him the nickname “chutur”.

However, Nima has outgrown most of his friends today, not only physically but also on the football field. With his modest look and Mohawk, Nima has quite a fan-following, especially among the young girls.

Football runs in his family. Except for his mother and elder sister everyone is a keen football enthusiast. His youngest brother is currently undergoing selections in the under-15 national team.

He started his footballing career from the school team in Samtse. He then joined the under-14 national team. He has been a part of the under-16, under-17 and under-19 national team before he joined the senior national team this year.
“I want to focus on football once I complete my high school. One day, I want to play professionally,” he said. “I believe I can do better if I continue training.”

As a kid Nima fantasised playing in the Indian Super League (ISL). “I think this dream of mine will come true soon because I’ve worked very hard for football,” he said. “Nothing is impossible if you have the will and I surely have a very strong will when it comes to football.”

Nima took part in numerous international competitions and he said with each match he grew stronger. “Now I don’t feel nervous even if our team is to play some of the big names,” he said, adding that international exposure is the key to improve football in the country.

Nima delivered the winning goal for City against Thimphu FC in the Thimphu League this season. “Not many players can beat and go pass him in a one-on-one situation. This makes him one of the best in the country in his position,” said Karun Gurung.

With his new club, the teenager won both the national and Thimphu League titles this season.
As the captain of team Pelkhil School, Nima will lead his team in the upcoming national school competition that will be held in Tsirang next week.

Younten Tshedup

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