NEW DELHI: It is so hot here, how do you guys manage?” That was the first thing players of the Bhutan national football team said when asked to comment about New Delhi. They were here for visa interview ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Guam in June.
During their seven day stay, they played at the historic Ambedkar Stadium and went shopping in Saket.
Once the lowest ranked team in the world, Bhutan were widely regarded as the ‘worst football team in the world’. Since those days in 2015, the team have managed to improve with two players in their team even coming to India and playing in the Indian Super League as well as the I-League.
While most players of the team do not leave the hotel because of the heat, Lhendup Dorji, a member of Lonestar Kashmir FC in I-League 2nd division, has been here to play before. He says he loves the city’s vibrant culture and the variety of food on offer. Dorji chooses to visit Majnu Ka Tilla whenever he gets the chance.
“The noodles and momo is incredible there. It reminds me of home. I feel very comfortable there and I have taken my wife. She keeps talking of going there again.”
The team manager Phuntsho Jattu Wangdi has been coming to India for visa work for 10 years now. Despite this, he has never actually gone out and visited the various monuments.
“Bhutan does not have an US embassy, so we keep coming to Delhi. The people are very nice and they always provide us space to practice. I really want to go to Red Fort, India Gate as well as Taj Mahal. Hopefully sooner, rather than later.”
The players were, however, more keen on going shopping. After their match against Delhi Blues on May 20, the main talk in the squad revolved around the best places in the capital for shopping. Jattu, as he is fondly called by the members of the team, announced, “The players have decided to dedicate one entire day to go shopping. Select City Walk is what they have zeroed in on.”