IWL 2023 | Odisha FC sign India skipper Bala Devi
Odisha FC confirmed the signing of Indian Women's Football Captain Ngangom Bala Devi for the upcoming season of the Hero Indian Women's League. The striker joins the club on a one-year deal. However, her love for football started at a young age and she has since dedicated her life to playing sport.
Devi began her professional playing career in 2002 with the Manipur U-19 team, which took part in the Under-19 Women's Championship in Assam. She was named the best player in the competition consecutively for 2 years.
Also received top-scorer honors for her state at the under-17 level. Bala was very influential in her state, winning the women's football championship in 2014, scoring a brace as Manipur defeated Odisha in the final 3-1.
This was Manipur's first championship since 2010 and their 17th overall. Similarly, she scored 16 goals in just five matches during the 2014 SAFF Championship, leading India to the title for the third consecutive year. The AIFF recognized Bala Devi for her performance by giving her the Women's Player of the year title.
The striker has several notable achievements in her career as a professional footballer. During the 2015 National Games of India, Devi represented her state as they won the gold medal. She scored the equalizer in the final against Odisha to make it 1-1 at the Corporation Stadium.
The team went on to win the match 4-2 on penalties. she has been a consistent scorer throughout her career, winning several top scorer awards in the Indian Women's League and the North East Women's League.
Bala Devi made history in 2020 by becoming the first Indian Woman Footballer to sign and play for an international football club, Rangers F.C, in the Scottish Premier League and they won against Motherwell by 9-0. As a result, she became the first Indian women's footballer to score in the European professional football league.
Putting India on the international stage was a memorable achievement in Indian women's football history. As a member of the Indian national team, Bala Devi has scored 36 goals in 46 games. Her skill and goal-scoring ability have made a significant impact on the Indian national team during the tournament. Bala is considered one of the best female footballers in the region and continues to inspire and motivate young girls.