The first Indian Women’s Football League was launched earlier this week. Veteran Ngangom Bala Devi, hailed as the Bhaichung Bhutia of Indian women’s football, was one of the star players present at the launch.
While the first edition is to kick-start in New Delhi on Saturday with six teams participating, reportedly, Bala Devi is yet to be placed in a team. Rumour has is that she might be not playing at all, despite being the most eligible player of this century.
Reason? According to reports, she has not been included in any club and even FC Pune City and her earlier club decided not to take her.
An important event like this shouldn’t go a miss, so the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is trying to place her in a club. Recently, they decided to write to Fifa, football’s world body, seeking her entry in a group. The rule suggests that a state player can’t represent more than two clubs in a season. Hence, AIFF is now seeking an exception for the star player.
“It would be really sad to have her miss an event that is for the development of women’s football,” an AIFF stated, Hindustan Times reports.
AIFF will discuss of the matter with Fifa as the issue is really sensitive.
FC Pune City, being the lone franchise of the Indian Super League, to have fielded a team in the women’s league, showed interest in signing Bala Devi in this tournament but couldn’t due to her past records. She had earlier represented Manipur Police and was loaned to Imphal’s Eastern Sporting Union for the 20-team qualifiers of the women’s league, held in Cuttack last October.
The AIFF’s players’ registration department has informed this to the team.
“We had wanted to name her skipper but we can confirm that we are not signing Bala Devi now,” said a source in the ISL franchise.
Bala Devi’s name was also listed in the franchise’s media release on January 24, the day the competition was launched.
Bala Devi (26) was the AIFF’s Woman Player of the Year in 2014 and 2015. However, now reports say that she is giving the game a miss because of some health issue.
Feature Image Credit: The Football Mind
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