Indian football star Bala Devi makes historic Rangers FC move
The transfer makes her the first professional woman footballer from India to play for a European club.
Indian women’s football team’s star attacker, Bala Devi, has signed for Scottish giants Rangers Football Club on an 18-month deal from the Manipur Police Sports Club, the Glasgow-based team confirmed on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old will be the first woman footballer from India to move to a foreign league and she was visibly delighted after the transfer went through.
“To play my football in Europe with one of the biggest clubs in the world is something I could never have dreamed of,” Bala Devi told www.rangers.co.uk.
“I’m looking forward to making the most of the top-class facilities and coaching and I am certain I will benefit immensely from the standard of training and competition.”
Rangers’ Women’s and Girls’ football manager, Amy McDonald believes that Devi can add a new attacking dimension to her squad.
“Bala is a playmaker who likes to play as a number 10. She will provide us with an attacking threat and a versatility that we can utilize to our benefit going into the 2020 season,” McDonald said.
A reward for prolific returns
Bala Devi has been a phenomenal performer for the Indian women’s football team, scoring 52 goals in 58 games after making her debut in 2010. Those numbers also mean that she is the top scorer in South Asia.
Furthermore, she’s the leading scorer in the Indian Women’s League, the top division for women footballers, with 38 goals and has been top scorer in each of the last two seasons.
Bala Devi was also named the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) Women’s Footballer of the Year in 2014 and 2015.
The former Indian captain also scored five goals in a 11-0 thrashing of Afghanistan during India’s victorious title run at the 2014 SAFF Women’s Championship. She eventually finished the tournament with 15 goals in just five games.
Devi took part in a trial with Rangers last November, shortly after Rangers announced a partnership with Bengaluru FC.
Rangers will play their first game of a new Scottish Women's Premier League 1 season when they face Hearts Women on February 23rd.