AN EXCLUSIVE WITH SONAM DORJI

Sonam Dorji, the captain of the Bhutan National Football team under-16, embarked on his football journey at the tender age of 10, initially competing at the Dzongkhag level. His prodigious talent swiftly garnered attention, leading to his rapid selection for the prestigious Bhutan National Football team. With remarkable dedication and remarkable skills, Sonam has become a beacon of hope for Bhutanese football, inspiring young talents across the nation. His path serves as a compelling example of the power of passion and perseverance in the pursuit of sporting excellence.

Q. Could you provide an introduction about yourself?
A. Greetings. I go by the name Sonam Dorji, and I currently hold the position of team captain for the Bhutan
National Football under-16 team. My hometown is Pemagatshel.

Q. Could you provide some information about the most recent under-16 Football League?
A. Regarding our performance, we began with a match against Pakistan, which ended in a 2-1 loss. Subsequently,
we faced Maldives in our second match and experienced another defeat, this time with a score of 3-2. Unfortunately, these results led to our elimination from the Group stage. In the SAARC championship final, India emerged victorious against Bangladesh.

Q. Could you share the beginnings of your football journey and what inspired or drove you to pursue a career in this sport?
A. My football journey commenced when I was just 10 years old, initially competing at the Dzongkhag level. Over time, my dedication and skills caught the attention of talent scouts, ultimately leading to my selection for the prestigious Bhutan National Football team. Throughout this remarkable journey, my father served as my unwavering source of motivation and encouragement, providing invaluable support and guidance.

Q. As a captain, what leadership qualities do you believe are essential for guiding your team to success?
A. Confidence plays a significant role in leading my team toward success, as far as Iโ€™m concerned.

Q. How do you maintain team morale and unity, especially during challenging times or matches?
A. We uphold team morale and cohesion by maintaining open communication with one another regarding our matches.

Q. Could you share some insight into your training regimen and how you prepare for the games?
A. We engage in consistent training sessions, including gym workouts and recovery routines. In our pursuit of greater momentum and experience, we also participate in friendly matches.

Q. What strategies does your team employ to adapt to different opponents and playing conditions?
A. Regarding our tactical approach, when facing taller opponents, we opt for short-passing strategies instead of relying on long balls. Conversely, when confronted with shorter opponents, we favor long-ball tactics.

Q. Are there any noteworthy moments or exceptional team performances that youโ€™d like to emphasize or bring to our attention?
A. Indeed, there is a standout moment, and it happened during our first goal against Pakistan. The entire team contributed to this joyful occasion, and it remains a source of pride for me, despite the ultimate outcome of the match being a loss.

Q. What are your personal goals as a football player, and how do they align with your role as the team captain?
A. As a football player, my individual aspiration is to achieve professional status in the sport. In my role as captain, I believe itโ€™s my responsibility to offer guidance and motivation to my teammates whenever they encounter moments of low morale.

Q. Can you tell us about any role model or inspiration in the world of football who has influenced your leadership style or playing technique?
A. Lionel Messi is my role model and a significant source of inspiration for my football journey. My approach to playing the game and my leadership style share many similarities with his.

Q. How do you balance your academic and football commitments, especially since you are playing at the youth level?
A. Regarding the balance between my academic studies and football commitments, I attend a Football Academy where my day begins with classes that run until the afternoon. Following that, we engage in practice and training sessions, with my evenings dedicated to completing homework assignments.

Q. Do you have any specific cheers, motivational quotes, or speeches that you use to motivate the team before a tournament?
A. Prior to tournaments, we have a special cheer routine. It begins with our team gathering in a room or on the field, and a designated leader initiates the cheer by exclaiming โ€œDRAGON EYES,โ€ to which the entire team responds with a resounding โ€œBRAVE.โ€

Q. What are your future aspirations in football, both as an individual player and as a captain of the team?
A. My goal is to earn a spot on the senior National team and proudly represent our country on the international stage, such as the World Cup.

Message:
To all young and aspiring footballers, I offer this advice: Persistently dedicate yourself to hard work and unwaveringly pursue your passions. In the relentless pursuit of your dreams, youโ€™ll discover the path to greatness and fulfillment. Remember, every practice, every setback, and every goal scored contributes to your journey towards excellence. Keep the flame of determination burning brightly, and never underestimate the power of perseverance. Your dedication today will shape your triumphs tomorrow. Keep pushing forward, and one day, youโ€™ll proudly represent your nation on the football field, inspiring others to follow in your footsteps.

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