Mohali: Hero I-League club Minerva Punjab FC on Friday completed the signing of Bhutanese forward Chencho Gyeltshen for the upcoming I-League 2017-18 season. Nicknamed ‘Ronaldo of Bhutan’, he last played for Thimpu City in the 2017 Bhutan national League (BNL) helping his team finish second in the league behind Transport United.
The striker is set to join the likes of Toshiya Hosoe and Dzmitry Kowb as one of the three overseas players in the team for the upcoming league. Minerva FC which has already made telling contributions in Indian football further strengthens itself with the addition of Chencho, considered to be the next big thing back in Bhutan.
The 21-year-old sensational striker started his career with Yeedzin FC where he played for the club for seven years on the run (2008-2014), helping the team win the League in 2013, while also leading them to the final of King’s Cup in the same year where they unfortunately lost to Manang Marshyangdi of Nepal by a 2-4 margin of goals, with Gyeltshen scoring both the goals for Yeedzin. Still young, his performance caught the eyes of rivals Druk United FC, who signed him up in the same year and made him the captain for the second half of the season. A stint at Thimpu FC followed in 2015 where he scored 17 goals to finish as the Bhutan League’s top goal scorer.
Good performances earned CG7 interests form abroad and soon an invitation for a trial with Buriram United of the Thai Premier League followed, where he impressed scoring in his debut match while also winning the Coke Cup Under-19 Championship with them in 2015.
Eventually the forward was signed up by Surin City, Bhriram’s reserve team making him the first Butanese player to play for an international club. However, lack of game-time saw Gyeltshen terminate his contract with the Thai club and return to Bhutan with Thimpu FC. The Cristiano Ronaldo devotee went on to play for numerous clubs developing his progress to become a world class forward. A monthly $4,000 with Chittagong Abahani of Bangladesh made him the country’s highest paid athlete.
The 2016 Golden Boot winner although 21, is already a star in the Bhutan senior team and even helped the country reach the second round of World Cup qualification, “a historic moment” for the lowest ranked country in the world. He scored three goals over two legs for his country in the 3-1 win over Sri Lanka also making him the country’s top goal scorer with nine goals to his name.
With the I-League set to start next month Gyeltshen seems to be a great buy for north India’s only club to play in the I-League. Minerva will surely hope for him to be in top form as the Chandigarh based club aim for It’s first ever I -League crown.