Pursuing one’s passion

Sonam Choden is upbeat that she will keep on playing football as long as she gets the opportunity to play for a team

Even since Sonam Choden joined the national football U-13 team in 2012, there has been no stopping for her. The 19-year-old footballer today is not only a player of the national women’s football team, but also its skipper.

The skipper from Bumthang says playing football was her passion ever since her preprimary school days and she had participated in many football matches, especially school tournaments.

She added that her brothers use to encourage her to participate in football tournaments. Sonam Choden has three elder brothers.

Meanwhile, Sonam Choden completed her Class XII last year. She has been undergoing the football training at Gelephu football school for four years. She says she has plans to do her graduation if she gets scholarship.

The recipient of more than 60 certificates and more than 30 medals in football says she is inspired by men’s national football player Chencho Gyeltshen.

“He is very determined and a hardworking player and also inspires me to play football,” she adds.

Meanwhile, Sonam has played in five international tournaments so far. However, her team has not won any match in South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Women Championship.

“But we defeated two countries – Tajikistan and Jordan in U-14 tournament,” she said.

According to her, being a team captain is challenging. One needs to understand her teammates, guide them and encourage them to be better person and better player. She also has to deal with all the players and their moods, and even scold the team if they are not performing well in the tournaments.

Sonam feels that she is appointed as the team captain because of her good leadership qualities, capabilities and the ability to lead the team.

‘In the field of football a good attitude will let them improve and make them a better player,” she says.

Another challenge for the national women’s football team is that they don’t get good facilities like the men’s team, according the female skipper.

“While the men’s team gets opportunity to participate in many leagues and tournaments, women’s team gets opportunity to play only in the women’s league which was started only in 2016,” she reasons.

Sonam Choden is also skeptical when asked whether football can be pursued as a career by women in Bhutan.

“I don’t think football can be taken as a career especially for women because in Bhutan, women’s football has just started and people have also just started to take interest in women’s football. Maybe later in the future it can be taken as a career. But right now I don’t think it is possible,” she says.

Meanwhile, Sonam Choden is upbeat that she will keep on playing football as long as she gets the opportunity to play for a team. 

Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu