Rangers sign India's first woman professional footballer

Bala Devi (Rangers website)
Bala Devi (Rangers website)

New Delhi - Star striker Ngangom Bala Devi has joined Scottish club Rangers FC to become India's first female player to sign a professional contract.

The 29-year-old, who joins from Manipur Police Sports Club after trials in Glasgow in November, signed an 18-month contract with the club subject to international clearance, Rangers said Wednesday.

"It was always my dream to play at that level and it is amazing," Devi, who is one of the 14 players to join Rangers, told reporters after the announcement.

She told the club website, "I hope my move to Rangers serves as an example to all the women footballers back home in India who dream of taking up the sport professionally.

"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."

Devi has periodically served as national team captain in a distinguished international career that began at age 15. She has scored 58 times in 52 appearances since 2010.

Bala's move to Glasgow was facilitated through Rangers' partnership with Indian Super League (ISL) club Bengaluru FC that was announced in September last year.

Amy McDonald, women's and girls' football manager at Rangers, said Bala "is already a role model for girls across India and they will now be able to see her travel across the world to become a professional footballer."

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