Manipur to Scotland: Meet Bala Devi, India’s first woman to play professional football broad

Manipur to Scotland: Meet Bala Devi, India’s first woman to play professional football broad The 29-year-old Indian striker has signed a the 18-month deal with Scottish giants Rangers FC.

Manipur to Scotland: Meet Bala Devi, India’s first woman to play professional football broad

Manipur to Scotland: Meet Bala Devi, India’s first woman to play professional football broad

Imphal Jan - 30 -2020

Manipur to Scotland: Meet Bala Devi, India’s first woman to play professional football broad: In Manipur’s Bishnupur district, the sight of young female players going toe-to-toe with their male counterparts on the same football field is fairly common.

This wasn’t the case until a certain Ngangom Bala Devi changed it forever. Shattering pre-set notions, Bala, born to a football-playing father, took to the field along with her elder brother. Soon, more girls joined in and her hometown Irengbam got its first-ever football team for women.

Bala seems to have made a habit of breaking into uncharted territory since that age. The latest episode of her unparalleled exploits is the 18-month deal with Scottish giants Rangers FC that makes her the first women footballer in India to have a professional contract with an overseas club.

This historic move was facilitated by Bengaluru FC, who have a partnership with Rangers, and could be categorised as a marketing exercise. But few would debate against the performances Bala Devi has been putting over the last few years

She has scored 52 goals in 58 appearances for the national team and netted 38 times in her first two seasons of the Indian Women’s League. Even during her week-long trial for the Rangers in Glasgow last November, she was finding the net.

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