Matchworn Sonam Tenzin 04.12.2009 (SAFF Championship) BAN 🇧🇩 : BHU 🇧🇹 4-1
The small, secluded Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has been isolated from the modern world for a long time, but for years now people have become more and more aware of it, as the country’s government and not least the people are doing many things right:
Bhutan is the only carbon negative country in the world, meaning they absorb more CO2 than they admit. Moreover, they don’t believe in GDP as an indicator of economic growth, but rather measure their development in GHS – Gross National Happiness.
While the rest of the world was watching bad sitcoms in the 80’s and 90’s, the Bhutanese people spent their time with more important things, as TVs were only introduced during the 90’s!
Even their football team is extremely likeable! During the 2002 World Cup Final, Bhutan, then ranked second to last, faced the only worse team in the FIFA ranking: the Caribbean Island state of Montserrat. Accompanied by a film crew that documented the memorable match, the Bhutanese were able to defeat their opponents 4-0 and thus celebrated their first victory. The whole match and its circumstances were released in the fantastic documentary “The Other Final”.
Things have changed since then: football in Bhutan has become more professional and the team has managed to beat bigger nations like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Guam and Sri Lanka so that Bhutan never had to be one of the two worst teams again.
Bhutan had some really nice shirts over the years, but this one has always been my favorite. I was never a fan of the “dragon” designs that the team has worn for years now, but rather preferred this inconspicuous effort by Brazilian manufacturer “Penalty”.
Like all Bhutanese home shirts, it is dominated by bright orange with yellow as the secondary color and accents kept in grey. The workmanship is surprisingly good, although the logos and crests are not embroidered, unfortunately.
The shirt was worn by defender Sonam Tenzin during the 2009 SAFF Championship, where the team would eventually lose all of their three matches and concede 17 goals in total. Remnant of the tournament is the patch on the right sleeve, that depicts the tournament logo: a colorful football.
A handful of these shirts have found their way into the hands of collectors over the years and I’m happy to finally be one of them!