Manipur-based Loitongbam Ashalata Devi has been nominated for the 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Player of the Year (Women) award. The 26-year-old footballer from Imphal is the Captain of Indian women’s football team. She is named among the three nominees in the women’s category at the AFC Annual Awards, to be held in Hong Kong on December 2.

​“This really is like a dream come true for me. You never really think of these milestones when you are growing up but I’m very happy that the hard work that I’ve put in over the years has got recognition on the continental level,” 26-year-old Ashalata said to TOI.

The centre-back player added, “I would like to thank our coaches Maymol Rocky and Chaoba Devi for giving me the right guidance and motivation over the years. Also, the credit goes to my amazing teammates. It is an absolute privilege to lead them out onto the pitch every single match.”

Praising Ashalata’s achievement, Head coach Maymol Rocky said, “She really deserves this and it is a testament to the hard work put in by her over the years. I am really happy for her and for the whole team as well, who have been highlighted at continental level with this nomination.”

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Key Takeaways:

  • Footballer Ashalata Devi has been nominated for the 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Player of the Year (Women) award
  • Pride of Manipur, Ashalata plays centre-back and is the Captain of Indian women’s football team
  • The 26-year-old footballer from Imphal played a key role when India won the 2019 South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship title

An incredible year so far

The year 2019 remained faithful to Ashalata Devi as the Captain played an instrument role in helping team India win the 2019 South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship title earlier this year. The exploiter also led her team in the Indian Women’s League, the Sethu FC, and emerged victorious in the league. Ashalata has also led India to the Olympic 2020 Qualifiers Round 2. This month, she created history by becoming the first-ever women’s football captain to lead India past the first round of Olympic qualifiers.

Ashalata made her debut in 2011 as an 18-year-old. She is hopeful that this level of performances will generate interest in women’s football back home.

​“This really is like a dream come true for me. You never really think of these milestones when you are growing up but I’m very happy that the hard work that I’ve put in over the years has got recognition on the continental level,” 26-year-old Ashalata said

“I sincerely hope that such results continue to generate more and more interest in women’s football across the country and with the support of our well-wishers, we will strive to achieve greater heights and give our best in the upcoming tournaments,” a great leader said.

Ashalata has come a long way as she was once playing under the mentorship of Bembem Devi and now is leading a team on her own.

Notably, the talented defender Ashalata Devi won the Indian Women’s Player of the Year for 2018-19 season. She is also the second Indian woman footballer to represent a foreign team, as she played for New Radiant, a Maldives based women’s football club, in 2015.

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Feature Image Credit: InsideNE

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