All India Football Federation president Praful Patel has asked the country’s women footballers to take inspiration from Bala Devi, who created history with her time at Scottish Premier League club Rangers.
The national team striker from Manipur earned a professional contract overseas, the first Indian woman footballer to achieve that feat.
During a virtual interaction with national team players across all age-groups, Patel told Bala Devi: “We are extremely proud of your achievements. You have shown the road ahead to the budding footballers, and have proved that our women footballers are in no way inferior to anyone.
“I am sure you will make others your colleagues, the U-17 women’s team girls dream too.”
Bala Devi, who is currently in Glasgow. said that the exposure stints with the national team made her confident as a player.
“In 2018-’19 we were constantly playing, or camping. It made me more confident of my abilities as a player, and made me believe in myself. We played against so many countries including matches in Europe,” she said.
“Those matches helped me immensely to get myself the current club contract.”
Bala Devi was referring to the senior team playing 25 friendly matches in 2018-19, something which was also highlighted by India custodian Aditi Chauhan.
“Results have followed and it has made us more confident, and helped us mature into better players,” the goalkeeper said.
Striker Dangmei Grace added: “The more we got to play the more we improved.”