A first in Indian’s women football, famous Scottish Football Club Rangers FC has announced the signing of Indian women’s forward Bala Devi on Wednesday. The 29-year-old will join Rangers, on a one and a half year deal after a successful trial spell in November 2019. However, the deal is subject to international clearance.
Congratulations to ?? women's national team striker Bala Devi, who signed ✍ for @RangersWFC today on an 18-month contract! ??
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) January 29, 2020
“To play my football in Europe with one of the biggest clubs in the world is something I could never have dreamed of,” a delighted Bala Devi said after the announcement. Bala Devi will become the first Indian woman ever to play professional football anywhere in the world.
Furthermore, she will also become Rangers FC first-ever Asian footballer. Bala Devi is the current top-scorer for the Indian women’s football team with 52 goals in 58 games since her debut in 2010. Bala is also the highest international goal scorer in South Asia region.
The Manipur-born striker made her senior global debut at just 15 years of age and is, as of now, a standout amongst the most enlivened players in India’s national team. Bala rose to stardom when she scored four goals in the 6-0 defeat of Nepal in the SAFF Championship finals to enable India to win its third consecutive title.
Devi scored sixteen goals in just five matches at the 2014 SAFF Championship. The same year, the All Indian Football Federation named her the Women’s Player of the Year for 2014. Bala Devi also won 2015 as Indian Women’s Player of the Year.
In 2016 South Asian Games she scored as many as 3 goals in 5 matches. Devi has also captained India to the 2016 SAFF Women’s Championship glory. Bala has an amazing domestic record as well, scoring over 100 goals in 120 games. She topped the Indian Women’s league’s goalscoring charts for the past two seasons.
Bengaluru FC’s role
Back in September 2019, Indian Super League holders Bengaluru FC announced a two-Year deal with the Scottish club. Both the clubs would engage in football And commercial activities. Mandar Tamhane, BFC CEO said: “We, are delighted at Bala securing what is a historic move to Rangers Football Club.”
“Once we knew that Bala had done more than enough to impress the coaching staff at the club during her trial stint in November, we were determined to help to make the move happen in any way that we could. He adds: “Bala’s signing with Rangers sets a very encouraging precedent for women footballers from India.
— Bengaluru FC (@bengalurufc) January 29, 2020
“I hope my move to Rangers serves as an example to all the women footballers back home in India who dream of taking up the sport professionally. I’m looking forward to making the most of the top-class facilities and coaching and I am certain I will benefit immensely from the standard of training and competition.
“I’m very grateful to Amy McDonald, the coaching staff and the entire management at Rangers for believing in me. Also, this move wouldn’t have been possible without Bengaluru FC who have been instrumental throughout.”
Rangers FC manager for women, Amy McDonald welcomed the Indian international to the club. “She (Bala) is an exciting signing on so many levels. Bala is a playmaker who likes to play as a number 10; we believe she will contribute goals and assists to the team.