Bengaluru FC have roped in the services of Bhutanese striker
Chencho Gyeltshen, who played for
Minerva Punjab FC in 2017-18, ahead of the upcoming season.
The 22-year-old becomes BFC’s fifth foreigner, and the first one the club has ever signed from a fellow South Asian
Football Federation (SAFF) nation. The 22-year-old joins the Blues on a one-year contract.
“Bengaluru FC is one of the top clubs in India but more importantly, it has been my dream to play for them and I’m happy that the move has happened. It’s a team with so many experienced players and the aim is to keep learning from them and improving with every passing day at the club,” Chencho told TOI, after completing the formalities.
Interestingly, last year Chencho scored a hat-trick in a pre-season friendly match against Bengaluru FC, while representing Minerva.
Speaking on the club’s latest acquisition, COO Mustafa Ghouse said the youngster had been on Bengaluru FC’s radar for some time now. “We got to see Chencho in a pre-season friendly against us and then through the entire I-League season with Minerva Punjab and we were impressed to say the least. He’s a gifted youngster, who we believe will flourish further in our system.”
Chencho, also called the Bhutanese Ronaldo, starred for Minerva Punjab FC in the last season and propelled the Mohali-based club to their maiden I-League title. He contributed seven goals in 18 appearances.
Besides the seven strikes, the winger also managed eight assists for Minerva. He was a terror for defenders throughout the league, and wing-backs didn’t fancy coming up against him. His performance naturally attracted the attention of several top clubs.
The Bhutanese sensation was also linked heavily with the two Kolkata giants – East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.
Speaking to TOI, Minerva Punjab FC owner Ranjit Bajaj said, “Both the Kolkata giants along with Bengaluru FC wanted to sign him. But, as we know, Kolkata is a very difficult place to play, because if you fail in one match people start to abuse you. We thought it won’t be good for the career of a young footballer like Chencho. On the other hand, BFC has a great structure and at present some of the biggest Indian names are playing there. So it will be a great opportunity for Chencho to showcase his talent.”
“I wouldn’t like to disclose the transfer fee since the paperwork for the no objection certificate (NOC) hasn’t been done yet,” he added.
Journey so far
Chencho’s talent was spotted at an early age; and in 2008, he was recruited by Bhutanese giants Yeedzin FC, before moving to Thimphu FC. And soon, he became a popular name in the domestic circuit. His stint with Surin City FC in Thailand made him the first Bhutanese player to play outside the country.
Chencho’s performances earned him his first national cap against Nepal at the age of 19. The youngster made most of the opportunity. Although Bhutan ended on the losing side, Chencho netted his first international goal.
But, the crowning moment for the youngster came in 2015 when he scored twice to guide his team to a sensational win over Sri Lanka in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. It was a huge win for the lowest-ranked team in the world at that time, and Chencho’s performance made him a household name in Bhutan.
In 2016, he became the highest-paid sportsperson in Bhutan after signing for Bangladesh club Chittagong Abahani. He spent three months with the side, before returning to Thimphu FC for a second stint – in which he scored 15 goals in 10 games, making him the top-scorer of the Bhutan National League.