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Primary focus on current football opportunity — Bala

By Our Correspondent Updated: Feb 01, 2020 9:57 pm
Ngangom Bala Devi (third from left) seen here with her family members, friends, and well-wishers at Bir Tikendrajit International airport in Imphal on Friday. (EM Images)

Our Correspondent

Imphal, Feb. 1 (EMN): Ngangom Bala Devi, India’s first woman footballer to sign a professional contract with a European club, said that her primary focus is only on the current football opportunity.

“I will be focusing more on the current football opportunity”, Bala said while responding to a question when she returned to her Irengbam Mamang Makha Leikai home in Manipur’s Bishnupur district on Friday.

Twenty-nine-year-old Bala who is the current top scorer for the Indian national team became the first Indian woman footballer to be signed by Rangers FC, one of the top football clubs in Scottish League for an 18-month contract which allows her to be available for two seasons.

Reports said well-known footballers Bhaichung Bhutia, Sunil Chhetri and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu had played for foreign football clubs in the past.

Sharing some of her cherished moments in the past, Bala who joined National women football team when she was just 15-year-old, said achieving the title of women footballer of the year in 2014-15 apart from getting the top scorer title during Maldives National Women’s League (2015) was one of her memorable moments.

In the Maldives National Women’s League, Bala scored 26 goals in six matches for New Radiant Sports Club.

Indian National team forward Bala who netted 52 goals from 58 appearances since 2010, also informed that she feels good and happy for creating a historic feat in women football. “So I will work hard and try to bring laurels for the country because such opportunity is my childhood dream,” says the youngest among a sibling of four.

At the same time, the current top scorer for the Indian national team also expressed her gratitude to all her guides and coaches in her locality and the state for their continuous support to reach ongoing journey.

Bala who captained the National team (2016-18), has over 100 goals in 120 games at the domestic level, according to reports.

Two time-All India Football Federation Women’s Player of the Year title winner (in 2015 and 2016) is one of the six new international signings by Rangers ahead of the new season.

Bala’s journey to Rangers FC started in November 2019 when she visited Ranger facility in Glasgow for six days and managed to impress the technical staff.

According to Bala’s mother Ngangom Mema (55), her daughter started playing football from a very young age among the boys in their Irengbam Mamang Makha Leikai in Manipur’s Bishnupur district. “One local sports enthusiast Shamo who then work in SSB (Sashastra Seema Bal) spotted her talent in a sports meet during Yaosang (Holi) festival and she was later introduced in the football arena through (Irengbam Cultural Sports Association functionaries),” Mema, a housewife recalled. Bala’s father Manihar is a cultivator.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Feb 01, 2020 9:57:52 pm