Bala Devi is first Indian woman to play for Scottish giants Rangers FC
Indian Women’s football superstar Ngangom Bala Devi has become the first Indian woman footballer to sign a professional contract with the Scottish Club Rangers Women’s FC in the United Kingdom on Wednesday. With this, the Manipuri striker has also become the first Asian International to join Rangers Women and the first Indian woman to professionally play outside India. The deal stands for 18-months and is one of the 14 new players signed by the club.
Bala has played for India for over 14 years now and is the most experienced footballer in the team with the highest goal scorer in the Indian Women’s League (IWL) across all seasons. Bala plays for Manipur Police which she joined in 2010 and netted 53 goals in 58 matches.
Sharing her excitement the 29-year-old said, “I am very excited that I could make history. This will be a very big moment for India. Never did I think I would have the opportunity to play in Europe but when we (India women’s team) played in the COTIF Cup in Spain, I felt the urge to play for a European club. I am happy this has happened but the work isn’t done here. I need to strive harder.”
Rangers club ambassador and former England striker Mark Hateley confirming the news said, “She is now the face of Indian football for ladies and for us, she will be a key player in the No. 10 shirt. If she doesn’t play 90 minutes of every game, I’ll be disappointed. We are glad that BFC’s partnership with Rangers is creating the right kind of impact.”
The deal was struck between Bala and the Scottish Club when Bala travelled to Glasgow for a week’s trial after which the Rangers offered her the deal in November 2019.