The Bhutan national under-17 football team represents Bhutan in men's international under-17 football. The team is controlled by the governing body for football in Bhutan, the Bhutan Football Federation, which is currently a member of the Asian Football Federation and the regional body the South Asian Football Federation. The under-17 team has played sporadically since its first foray into international football in 2004, competing exclusively either in the qualifying rounds for the AFC U-16 Championship or the SAFF U-16 Championship. They are one of the weakest teams in their age group within both their continental and regional federations, having never qualified for the competition proper of the AFC u-16 Championship. They have played only nineteen competitive games in their entire history, losing eighteen of them, their only result coming in the form of a 0-0 draw with Pakistan in the 2013 SAFF U-16 Championship, conceding 102 goals along the way whilst scoring only seven in reply.
Bhutan under-17s, much like the senior side came to international football relatively late. Although formal competition organised by the continental federation for this age group only commenced in 1985, Bhutan did not take part until 2004 when they entered the qualification rounds for the 2004 AFC U-17 Championship following three consecutive withdrawals from the qualifying competition in 1998, 2000 and 2002. Following this somewhat stuttering entry into the international arena, they travelled to Uzbekistan where their group games were to be played, but met with little success, failing to qualify and returning home without a point, or even scoring, losing 3-0 to Sri Lanka and then 6-0 to hosts Uzbekistan.
The team did not compete in the qualifying rounds of the next edition of the tournament but returned to continental competition two years later entering the qualifying rounds of the 2008 edition. This time the team travelled to Saudi Arabia, where all their group's matches were to be played. Their break from international football had not helped the team progress, as they lost their opening two matches 4-0 to Saudi Arabia and 1-0 to Sri Lanka. Their third match was to be their worst performance to that point, an 11-0 thrashing at the hands of Iraq. Although they continued in this vein, losing their next group game as well, they recorded their first ever competitive goal at the sixth time of asking in a 4-1 defeat to Lebanon, Thinley Dorji scoring a consolation goal for Bhutan in injury time at the end of the game. They were however unable to build on this, losing their final group game to India 4-0, to return home pointless for the second time.
For the first time in their history Bhutan competed in two consecutive editions of the AFC U-17 Championship qualifying rounds, travelling to Sana'a in Yemen for another round of five matches in their attempt to qualify for the 2010 AFC U-16 Championship. Their campaign got off to a terrible start, as they nearly eclipsed their unenviable record defeat suffered in the previous edition against Iraq, losing 10-0 in their opening match to Syria. The team recovered somewhat though in their next game, a narrow 2-1 defeat to Palestine, Chencho Gyeltshen putting Bhutan in front for the first time in any competitive match with only their second competitive goal in their history after just over a quarter of an hour, only to see Ashraf Nababta equalise ten minutes later. It looked as though Bhutan might hold on for a draw and their first ever positive result until Nababta scored his second of the game for Palestine in the eighty-third minute to claim all three points. The following two games saw Bhutan concede seven goals to both hosts Yemen and Iraq, although Dawa Tshering was able to convert a penalty on the stroke of half-time and the six goal margin was a considerable improvement on the scoreline the last time the two teams met. However, for the third time in three attempts Bhutan returned home without a point, albeit the two goals they scored represented their best attacking performance in competition to that point.
After missing the qualifying tournament for the 2012 AFC U-16 Championship, Bhutan's next foray into international football was the second edition of the SAFF U-16 Championship. Hosted by himalayan neighbour Nepal, the team's first performance in a regional international competition was their best to date. Their opening match against the hosts in the tournament's opening fixture at the Dasarath Rangasala Stadium in Kathmandu started promisingly as Bhutan went in at half time with the game scoreless. However they were unable to keep up their level of performance and conceded seven goals in the second half, with Bimal Magar and his namesake Hemant Magar both scoring hat-tricks. Bhutan's next match in the competition was arguably their greatest performance to date, as they secured their first ever positive result at the fourteenth time of asking in a 0-0 draw with Pakistan, despite being put under immense pressure from the Pakistanis in the second half. They were unfortuately unable to build on this draw in their final game, losing 3-1 to Afghanistan Tenzin Shezang gave Bhutan the lead in the nineteenth minute although Afghanistan equalised through Atiqulallah Waziri to take the two teams into the break level. A further two goals in the second half from Nasir Ahmad consigned Bhutan to defeat and confirmed that Afghanistan would progress to the knock-out stages whilst Bhutan would go home.
Two months later the under-17 team travelled to Kuwait for the qualifying rounds of the 2014 AFC U-16 Championship. An opening 4-2 defeat to Lebanon was lent some respectability with two goals in injury time at the end of the game from Samten Norbu and Nawang Tshering, marking the first time in their history that the team had managed to score more than a single goal in a game. The remainder of the tournament was entirely forgettable for Bhutan. Their next match against Tajikistan resulted in a record 12-0 defeat, Tajik forward Rustam Tolibov scored a hat trick in the first hour, only to be replaced by fellow forward Sobirdzhon Gulyakov, who went on to score a further four goals himself in the remaining thirty minutes. The remaining two games saw further heavy defeats for Bhutan, 5-0 against the hosts Kuwait and 8-1 against India. This meant that for the fourth time in four attempts, Bhutan not only failed to qualify for the competition proper, but returned home without a single point. The only positive note to take from the tournament was Yoesel Dorji's goal against India meant that their three goals in total was their best ever attacking performance in any competition to date.
The following players were named for the 2014 AFC U-16 Championship qualification matches that took place in Kuwait in September 2013:
Note: Caps and goals for 2013 AFC U-16 championship qualifying only.
As at 23 July 2014: