Forward Bala Devi is all set to make a come back to the field after an injury and this is the first time she is participating in the Indian Women’s League (IWL). She is playing with Kangchup Road Young Physical & Sports Association (KRYHPSA) and the team’s recent win in the tournament against Sethu FC 5-0 has made everyone notice Devi’s performance as she scored a goal for the team to reach victory.

Last year when AIFF had inaugurated the IWL in New Delhi, it had quashed Devi’s entry into the tournament, but she has come back with double the force this time wanting to prove her detractors wrong.

“I want to perform at my best. After my injury people said I’m finished. I’m determined to prove detractors wrong,” said Devi, reports Sportstar Live.

After their first victory in IWL, Devi expressed her joy and said, “Everything clicked for us. It was a perfect day of football for the entire team,” the forward player said.

“Personally, too, I’m happy that I was able to score and was involved in two other goals. But this is just the beginning. Anything can happen,” summing up her performance.

Devi is a native of Manipur who grew up playing football with the boys, before she went on to play the game professionally. She started with playing for her state in U-17 and became the top-scorer in the tournament. Then was a part of the U19 team who played the Under-19 Women’s Championship in Assam in 2002, were she was judged as the player of the tournament.

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There on Devi went on to play football in national and international events. She played her first international in 2005  at the Under-17 level. Devi also participated in the first women’s SAFF Championship in 2010. In this tournament, she achieved a feat of scoring five goals against Bhutan pushing India to an 18-0 victory.

“I want to perform at my best. After my injury people said I’m finished. I’m determined to prove detractors wrong,”

She became Indian team captain and led the team in 2016 SAFF Women’s Championship winning the title first time as a captain.

Since IWL teams have both young and experienced players like 2017 finalist Rising Students Club, Sethu FC, India Rush SC, Indira Gandhi ASE and Gokulam Kerala FC, Devi is of the view, “The IWL has certainly grown this year. Each team has the ability to win against the other. So, we cannot take any team lightly”.

“Sethu has Tamil Nadu players who did well in the Women’s Senior NFC as well as Indira. Rising Students have strong set of players so do Rush and Gokulam,” she went on to add.

Football as a game is upcoming in India and has rising scope. She hopes that the professional set up of IWL proves beneficial for players. “Many young players want to prove that they have it to play against the best while the seniors want to show that they can still perform at the top.”

It is healthy as well as a cut-throat competition at the same time as every team wants to win,” she added.

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