Indian women’s football team striker Bala Devi said her transition into top-flight Scottish football turned out to be easier than expected and Indian path-breaker will next seek to encourage aspiring players back home to try playing in the demanding leagues abroad.
Earlier this year, the 30-year-old Bala Devi created history when she signed an 18-month contract with renowned Scottish Women’s Premier League side Rangers FC, becoming the first Indian woman to play outside the country professionally.
She has played quite a bit before the league was postponed till April 30 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I have always said I wanted to play abroad. It’s a great experience for me. Once I am back I will be encouraging more girls to try their best to play abroad,” Bala Devi told PTI from Glasgow.
“I will of course look at sharing my experiences with everyone back home involved in the betterment of Indian football.”
The footballer chose to extend her stay with the team in Glasgow owing to the travel restrictions forced by the unprecedented global health crisis.
“Flights to India are not available at the moment. But I am absolutely fine here in Glasgow. I am totally safe. I am doing fine and trying to keep indoors. I have been taken very well care by my club Rangers FC.
The footballer has been doing her training indoors and praised the club for taking good care of her.
“I am indoors and following the government and club advice. I am out of the house only for buying essentials from the market and for a jog once every three-four days.
“My workouts take place within the house itself and the club has kept us updated on how to maintain as much fitness as we can while staying at home.
“It would be good to be with my family but lots of people across the world are facing the same issue. It is best not to travel at this time, so it’s best I stay back in Glasgow and wait and see the next stop,” she said.
Asked about her journey so far at Rangers, the ace forward said the league is much more demanding than anything she’d experienced in the past.
“I have learnt a lot. This is the first time in my career that I have been in full-time training through a proper pre-season and in a full time league. The league is much more demanding as it’s physical and fast and will go on through the full season.
“The infrastructure at the club is world class and the coaching and management has been top class and I learn something new every day.
“I have also been blessed to have friendly team mates some of whom I share my flat with. It’s been an easier transition than expected.”
When asked about her thoughts on the future, Bala Devi said she is looking forward to the resumption of the league.
“I am obviously looking to restart the season with all the other players and once that happens, I look to do my best for the club in the Scottish Women’s Premier League and Cup.