In a moment of great pride for Manipur, 31-year-old Ngangom Bala Devi was adjudged the AIFF Women’s Footballer of the year 2020-2021. 

Devi plays for India Women’s National football team and is currently playing for Rangers Women’s FC in Scotland. Bala made her Rangers debut in February 2020, creating history when she scored her first competitive goal for Rangers in December. 

This is the third time that Bala Devi has been named the AIFF Women’s Footballer of the year. She won the title two years in a row in 2014 and 2015. Bala remains the first women footballer in India to sign a professional contract in Europe.

“I’m so happy to have won this award. A big thank you to the AIFF and all the fans for their support. I’d also like to thank my coaches – both at my club in Rangers, and in the national team, and also and all the coaches that I’ve played under in the past. A big thank you also to my family and all my teammates for all the support. I arrived in Scotland last year, just before the global lockdown had started, and acclimatizing to any new place in such conditions has been extremely difficult. But with their help, I have been able to focus on the things that are most important, and keep myself in top shape, both mentally and physically”, Bala said in an official AIFF release after receiving the honour.

Also read | Sunil Chhetri nominated for Khel Ratna, Bala Devi for Arjuna

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