The Indian women’s football team bagged its third consecutive gold medal at the on-going South Asian Games and we have to thank Veteran Ngangom Bala Devi for it. India triumphed with 2-0 over Nepal in the final in Pokhara, Nepal on Monday, and a dominating Bala Devi showed us what it is to be called an experienced player. She started rough and handed her team the gold by netting a comfortable goal, finishing off with a fine victory over the hosts. The 29-year-old footballer is hailed as the Bhaichung Bhutia of Indian women’s football. Bala Devi has represented India since her International debut in 2005 and has recently grabbed Asian Footballer of the Year nominee. She ended as the top-scorer of the competition by netting five goals in four matches.

Defending the crown, the likes of Sangita Basfore and Ratanbala Devi dominated proceedings from the middle of the park. Goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan, keeping up with her fantastic form in every tournament of the year, saves the day by not giving a chance to the opponent to kick a single goal in any of the five matches, turned provider when she found Bala, with a long ball upfield. The striker and goalkeeper led India to secure their third-straight gold medal.

Key Takeaways:

  • Indian women’s team bagged its third consecutive gold medal at the on-going South Asian Games on Monday
  • Veteran Ngangom Bala Devi was dominating from the start, handed her team the gold by netting a comfortable goal, finishing off with a fine victory over the hosts. India won 2-0 over Nepal in the final in Pokhara, Nepal
  • Bala Devi has represented India since her International debut in 2005 and has recently grabbed Asian Footballer of the Year nominee. She ended as the top-scorer of the competition by netting five goals in four matches.

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India crosses the 260 mark with 138 gold, 83 silver, and 43 bronze.

Last month, Bala Devi was called to attend a week-long trial at Rangers Women Football Club, top division team of Scotland since 1872. Talking about the selection, Indian women’s team’s mercurial striker Bala Devi said, “This is great news because it shows people are following women’s football,” Sportstar reported. The Scottish giant Rangers WFC is known for their best finish in the Scottish Women’s Premier League and had a fourth-place finish in 2018.

Bala fights for equality

A firm believer of equal opportunity for both men and women, Bala has high hopes for the women in football in India. “Indian football has been growing day by day — the Indian Women’s League began in 2016, the U-17 men’s World Cup took place in India in 2017 and next year, the women’s U-17 World Cup will be held too,” said the Manipuri footballer.

READ: Women Footballers Don’t Have A Long History In India: Aditi Chauhan

Bala showed excellent form when she emerged top player at the Indian Women’s League (IWL) this year with 26 goals for Manipur Police SC. She has also won the Senior Women’s National Football Championship with Manipur, scoring 21 goals in five matches to be the top scorer.

Bala was the top scorer of IWL 2019 with an astounding tally of 26 goals from just seven games.

“Little girls can take inspiration from her and take Indian women’s football further ahead in the future,” said another icon Bembem Devi praising Bala Devi’s chance to showcase the power of women footballers from India on an international platform.

Feature Image Credit: DNA India

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