The youths from the Australian Bhutanese Welfare Organization (ABWO) in Melbourne joined the one-day Men’s All Nations Cup football tournament organized by Football Federation Victoria (FFV) on September 3.
The Bhutanese were among the 150 participants from various backgrounds including Sudan, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Malaysia, Burma, Cameroon, Kenya, Eritrea, Afghanistan and Pakistan who took part in the competition.
The Bhutanese Thunder Dragon Football Club of ABWO, under the captaincy of Meen Adhikari has secured third place among the junior (under 17 years) after playing four matches and securing one bye. They have defeated the Brunswick Stars twice in league and in knock-out round for third place. Earlier giant players of Ethiopian Stars defeated them.
The team was led by Jagan Dhimal, youth Coordinator of the ABWO, and coached by Bhuwani Rai.
According to the young players, it is their first time to play in such precinct venue and on FIFA standards at the Darebin International Sports Centre in the north of Melbourne. Most of the players said that they were very nervous at the beginning because the opponents were from African countries and were huge in comparison, but from the second match they have gained confidence and dominated the games.
Some said it is their first time to play soccer from anyone other than Bhutanese or Nepalese community who speaks different languages.
Youth Coordinator Jagan Dhimal, said arriving in a new country and to play with new teams from different cultures is completely a daunting experience, but there is one language that much of the world speaks fluently – football. And it is through football that many newly arrived Australians have found a way to connect to their new country.