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Meet the first Bhutanese to coach in India — Chencho Dorji

New head coach of I-League debutants Sudeva Delhi FC, Chencho Dorji has done it all in his short coaching career but a new test now awaits.

Meet the first Bhutanese to coach in India — Chencho Dorji

Sayan Chatterjee

Published: 15 Feb 2021 7:38 AM GMT

41-year-old Chencho Dorji isn’t your everyday head coach. With him, it isn’t all about barking instructions supplemented by wild gesturing of the hands to put his point across. Instead he is one of those who is a keen observer of the game, even during training sessions, and will interrupt an ongoing drill only when he notices a mistake that he feels needs correcting. However, to understand how good a problem-solver the new Sudeva FC head coach is, we have to go a little bit back in time.

Dorji completed his C-License coaching course in 2005 when he was still just 25. In the 12 years that he worked with the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF) after that, he enrolled in every programme that he came across, just to learn more about the game. Such was his hunger for footballing knowledge that upon finishing all of BFF’s courses, he went to Japan and completed all the coaching courses from there as well. Football in Bhutan benefited from it as he served a number of different age-group teams over the years besides playing an important role in setting up their grassroots system.

Then in 2018, he took on a new challenge when he joined FC Imphal City in Manipur as an academy coach. Although it was a position tailor-made for him, he soon realised that there were problems arising from the administrative structure of the club. He waited for his chance to take the next big plunge and when the offer from Sudeva FC came about, it was a no-brainer.


His experiences in Bhutan have shaped him to be the kind of person he is. Always ready to make the best of whatever resources he has available, an efficient multi-tasker and someone whose word means something, Dorji is all of these and more. He initially joined the Sudeva Residential Football Academy in November 2019 as a technical director and had been working tirelessly with his young wards when the pandemic brought things to a screeching halt. At the start of the lockdown, he was offered a route back to his country and his family but Dorji stayed put. In his mind, he needed to be with the boys at the academy in that difficult moment. What speaks even more about his strength of character is the way he has adjusted to the coaching culture in India after spending most of his career in Bhutan and Japan. And it is showing through now that he has been appointed as the man at the helm of first team affairs.

Under him, debutants Sudeva FC have made a steady start to the I-League this season. They have 9 points after seven games and lie five points off RG Punjab FC at the top having played a match less than them. The recent history of the I-League points towards a number of nondescript sides coming out and rewriting the rules of the land and this season might be no different, especially with both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan not in the fray. Only time will tell whether they can do something extraordinary in their debut season, but with someone like Dorji in charge, it will be interesting to see if Sudeva FC have the stomach for a fight when the chips are down and things start going against them. Something tells us that under their talismanic head coach, they’ll manage just fine.

(Inputs from an article on Newsclick.in)

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