Indian striker Bala Devi says playing in the high-quality Scottish Women’s League is an opportunity she wants to make the most of.
Bala Devi scripted history when she was signed up by Scottish giants Rangers FC last month, making her the first Indian woman to play outside the country professionally. “This is an opportunity which I have to grab, and make the most of at any cost.” Bala was quoted as saying by the All India Football Federation.
Having started in both the matches for Rangers FC in the league, the striker feels the experience can help her become a complete player and give a clearer picture of where she stands.
“From a player’s perspective every match adds to your confidence. And here we are speaking about matches in the Scottish Women’s League. Such matches add immense value in your quest to become complete as a player,” she said.
The 29-year-old joined the club on an 18-month deal after a successful spell on trial at Rangers in November.
“It gives you that confidence that you are as good as a player you thought yourself to be, and that you can do better. It’s not everyone who is able to push oneself this far. It motivates me more to further improve,” she said.
The development makes Bala the first Indian woman to become a professional footballer anywhere in the world, also becoming Rangers’ first Asian international footballer.
Asked what was special in the training sessions at Rangers FC, she said: “The training sessions are very intense. I can feel myself improving all the time. The level of training and the constant support structure at the club is pushing us to further evaluate myself as a player.”
The 30-year-old went to Scotland as the top scorer for the Indian team, netting an impressive 52 times in 58 games since 2010, which also makes her the top international goal scorer in the South Asian region.
“The facilities have been quite amazing. The training centre is equipped with all support facilities including the gymnasium and the rehab centre. Getting match time after all the hard work in training sessions adds to your satisfaction, and makes you hungrier for more.”
She added: “It’s been such a sweet beginning. Playing club football at this level is kind of a dream come true for me the tempo is much higher. Their [my teammates’] warmth made it easier for me to settle down. They have been exceptional, extremely supportive and friendly.
“Despite six of us being from various nationalities, I am the only one from Asia. I find them curious to know more about India.”