With the Hero I-League scheduled to start in a fortnight’s time, Northern Giants Minerva Punjab FC have bolstered their attacking force with the addition of Bhutanese forward Chencho Gyeltshen.
Popularly known as CG7 and The Ronaldo of Bhutan, Chencho Gyeltshen is highly regarded for his lightening speed and physical dominance. He also holds a unique record of being the first Bhutanese footballer to play professionally with an international club.
21-year-old Chencho Gyeltshen started his career at Yeedzin FC which plays in the Bhutan National League, where he helped the club to win The League Championship in 2013. He also helped them finish Runner-Up in the 2013 King’s Cup, where they were defeated by a score of 2–4 by Manang Marshyangdi of Nepal in the final despite Gyeltshen’s two goal performance. His stellar performance caught the eyes of rivals Druk United F.C whom he captained for the rest of the season followed by a stint at Thimphu F.C the following year where he scored 17 goals in ten matches in the Thimphu League and finished the season as the league’s top scorer.
Gyeltshen went on a month-long trial with Buriram United of the Thai Premier League. He played in friendlies against several Thai teams and scored the match-winning goal in the match against Thai Premier League club Sisaket F.C. With Buriram, Gyeltshen also won the Coke Cup Under-19 Championship in 2015 and was also believed to be offered deals by Indian Super League clubs Delhi Dynamos and Pune City for the inaugural season of Indian Super League, but his stay at the South Asian country was extended as he was signed by Thai club Surin City, making him the first Bhutanese footballer to play professionally for an international club. It was revealed later that the player had actually been signed by Buriram United along with two other players and was loaned immediately to Surin City and Nonthaburi F.C.
A short stint with Thailand’s Satun United saw Chencho Gyeltshen return back to Thimphu FC where he scored a whopping 15 goals in 10 league matches making him the top scorer of Bhutan National League. He also represented Bhutanese Champions F.C Tertons and Bangladesh Premier League Champions Chittagong Abahani at the 2017 AFC Cup Qualification.
Chencho has represented Bhutan in different age-level teams from Under-12 to U-19 and has now become one of the key players in the senior side. With nine international goals, Chencho seems to be a great buy for Minerva as they prepare to begin their Hero I-League campaign.