India women’s football team goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan believes more players will follow the footsteps of trailblazer Bala Devi to play in a top-flight professional league in Europe.

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Football is one of the most popular sports in our country where “SPORTS” hold a special place in the hearts of the people. Bhaichung Bhutia became one of the first Indians to play abroad when he signed for English club Bury in 1999. He played 37 matches in the five years at the club. He also appeared for Malaysian clubs Perak FA and Selangor MK Land.  Over the year we have seen players such as Sunil Chhetri, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Aditi Singh Chauhan gain popularity around Europe, with most of them spending their entire careers in India.

Another Indian football player Bala Devi created history by became the first signing of women’s footballer to join the renowned Scottish club Rangers FC. The 29-year-old will join the club on an 18-month deal post a successful spell on trial at Rangers in November depending on getting international clearance. This will make Bala becomes Rangers’ first Asian international footballer. Bala is integral part of Indian national women’s team and is also top scorer, scored 52 times in 58 games ever since 2010. This also made her the top international goal scorer in the South Asian region.

Indian Women football team goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan recently opened how the future generation will follow the footsteps of Bala Devi and start moving out of the country in search of a professional career. The sport’s popularity is all set to increase in India, as the nation is all set to host the FIFA U-17 World Cup next year and the AFC Asian Cup in 2022.

Aditi feels that more girls will emulate national team striker Devi, who will work hard to one day play for a top professional club in Europe. Aditi was quoted saying “There is so much potential in India. I want more girls to get such exposures, and learn from playing against better opponents. With more avenues for younger girls coming up, I am sure there will be others who will follow in Bala’s footsteps. Bala is a gem of a player and her move to Rangers is amazing.”

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Aditi Chauhan has had the honour of playing in English Premier League, team West Ham between 2015 and 2018. She added “The standard of play, the culture is so different. It’s a total professional set-up in Europe. The experience which she will gain will benefit not just her (Devi), but Indian football in general. Whenever she comes back to play for the National Team, we’d eagerly wait to hear about her experiences. I am sure she’ll love to share all of that, especially with the U-17 girls. Her knowledge will matter a lot shaping the career of younger girls.”

Aditi chauhan has had the honour of playing in English Premier League, team West Ham between 2015 and 2018. She added “The standard of play, the culture is so different. It’s a total professional set-up in Europe. The experience which she will gain will benefit not just her (Devi), but Indian football in general. Whenever she comes back to play for the National Team, we’d eagerly wait to hear about her experiences. I am sure she’ll love to share all of that, especially with the U-17 girls. Her knowledge will matter a lot shaping the career of younger girls.”

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Chauhan made his international debut in 2012 and has appeared in 15 match for Team India. Also there was a time when women’s football was dominated by Manipuri players but seems now has players representing pan-Indian. She also added “When I first started playing for the national team, it was majorly dominated by players from Manipur. But it has become more of a diverse team now. The team now has a pan Indian representation. The competition for places in the team has grown ? everyone is pushing each other. No one is comfortable as there are new kids coming from all over and securing slots in the squad. That’s how the team has grown, and the results have come out so well.”

 Bala is all set to don the same jersey number at Rangers which she wears for India – No. 10. Bala’s signing with Rangers sets a very positive example for women footballers from India.

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Published by Vikram Roy Mehta

I am a friendly person, love to play football and hanging out with friends. My favourite places are at Mochas, Hochas or at MSVV playground. My mott - Never Say Never

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