Return of an Old Friend: Bhutan


Despite no action for our World’s Worst contenders this month does see some significant movement at the foot of the rankings table as old matches are expunged from the point scoring.  Joining Montserrat, Turks & Caicos Islands and San Marino propping up the rankings are Bhutan, part inspiration for this whole endeavour.

Bhutan took on Montserrat in “The Other Final” in 2002 to coincide with the real World Cup Final in Japan, and organised by Dutch filmmaker Johan Kramer in his brilliant documentary.  The bottom two teams in the rankings at the time, it was actually Montserrat who sat in last place on their own (under the old ranking system), with Bhutan not actually having plunged these depths fully before.  That match held in Bhutan was a convincing 4-0 win for Bhutan in June 2002 at the magnificently named Changlimithang Stadium, one of the world’s most scenic stadiums, in Bhutan’s capital Thimphu.

Bhutan’s points from June 2008 have now been wiped from the rankings, their last win being a 3-1 victory over Afghanistan in the 2008 regional SAFF Championships held in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, a tournament which represented something of a high point in Bhutan’s football history, having already drawn against Bangladesh.

That win actually took Bhutan through to an unprecedented semi final appearance against the relative might of India, which saw the Bhutanese beaten 2-1 only after extra-time.

But since then Bhutan have been beaten 14 times in a row, the most recent being an 8-1 defeat to Afghanistan, again in a SAFF Championship group match in December 2011.  And yes, needless to say they did manage to lose all of their group matches in that SAFF edition.

Currently Bhutan have no fixtures set.  Bhutan also didn’t even bother entering the World Cup qualification process for 2014, but of course even had they done so they would have been out long before now.



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