Manisha Kalyan became the first Indian footballer to play in the UEFA Women's Champions League when she debuted for Apollon Ladies FC in Engomi, Cyprus.
The Blue Tigress prodigy Manisha Kalyan came on in the 60th minute to replace Cyprus' Marilena Georgiou as Apollon Ladies FC defeated Latvian first division team SFK Riga 3-0 in their UWCL opener on Thursday at the Makareio Stadium.
The 20-year-old became the fourth Indian women international football player to sign with a foreign club after Cypriot first division champion Apollon Ladies offered her a multi-year contract.
Who Is Manisha Kalyan?
Manisha gained attention as a result of her outstanding performances in the Indian Women's League's 2019–20 season. The winger, who is from Punjab, was named the tournament's most promising player and helped Gokulam Kerala win their first IWL championship.
Recently, she received the AIFF Women's Footballer of the Year award for the 2021–22 campaign.
Furthermore, the winger gained notoriety in November 2021 after she scored the only goal for India against former World Cup runners-up Brazil in an international friendly in which the Blue Tigresses' was defeated with a score of 6-1.
She has been a rising star in Indian football ever since, and her 14 goals and seven assists during the 2022 IWL season made her one of the competition's most impressive players.
After the tournament, Gokulam Kerala revealed that the elusive winger would be relocating to Cyprus in pursuit of better opportunities.
The Gokulam Kerala player is the second from the state to sign for an international team, following Dangmei Grace who signed with FC Nasaf of Uzbekistan.
The next match for Apollon Ladies will occur on August 21 against FC Zurich Frauen.
A FIFA ban has stripped India of a major international tournament, leaving its women footballers in despair and uncertain about the future.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) was suspended this week by the global governing body of the sport "due to inappropriate influence from third parties"; member organisations must be free from governmental and political involvement.
Gokulam became the first Indian women's team to qualify for an AFC club competition last year. The national team now holds 58th place in the women's global rankings, while the men are ranked 104th.