Kicking in the mountains of Bhutan: Changlimethang Stadium

One of AFR’s most ardent supporters, Yeji Hyun, was at the stadium to watch a final between two veteran clubs: Zimdra FC and Thimphu XI Police. While originally from South Korea, Yeji has been living in Bhutan, and thankfully she brought her camera with her. The stadium is stunning, and you’re probably wondering about the story behind it. So here it is, in her words…

"The pavilions that you see are for VIPs. The middle one is usually reserved for the royal families, directly related to the King. Changlimethang is the local stadium in Thimphu and it was built by FIFA.

There are many leagues for clubs so the stadium is usually busy. Bhutan also hosts small international leagues where they invite clubs from Nepal, India, etc. The public enjoy football, and during these important matches the stadium is usually full.

The stadium is also used for team practices; they are not only reserved for clubs but for national teams as well. Sometimes, the Prince of Bhutan comes to practice and play football with his entourage.

The stadium is beautifully built, it has the unique Bhutan’s traditional designs all over the stadium. Although basketball is quite popular in Bhutan, football is preferred by the majority of the public.

There are other small fields for kids to play in, right next to the stadium. The Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC) tries to encourage football for youths. Kids go for football coaching during the weekend, however, this is mostly the case for more fortunate kids. Sometimes you’ll see kids chasing a ball around in the street corner.

Unlike other parts of the world where the majority of clubs own a football ground, here in Bhutan - due to land shortage - the clubs share football grounds. My friends complain that it is hard to get a booking for this stadium, but that doesn’t stop the passion for football in Bhutan.”

The photos were taken by Yeji Hyun this past weekend. To be a part of the #whereisfootball project, just go outside with a camera and find the game. Follow the ever-growing collection on AFR’s Instagram.

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    Amazing to see how the game is played around the globe. Beautiful stad.
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