Bala Devi and Manisha Kalyan awarded by the AIFF

The 31-year-old Bala Devi has won the award three times, most recently in 2014 and 2015.

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At the annual AIFF awards 2020-21, India forward Bala Devi has crowned Women’s Footballer of the Year, while Manisha Kalyan was selected Women’s Emerging Footballer of the Year.

“I’m so happy to have won this award. A big thank you to the AIFF and all the fans for their support. I’d also like to thank my coaches — both at my club in Rangers, and in the national team, and also and all the coaches that I’ve played under in the past. A big thank you also to my family and all my teammates for all the support,” said Bala.

The 31-year-old has won the award three times, most recently in 2014 and 2015. She is the first Indian woman footballer to acquire a professional contract in Europe, now playing for Rangers Women’s FC in Scotland.

Manisha, who is also a forward, was ecstatic to be selected for the prestigious prize for the first time. She said, “This award motivates me to push further to work harder for my team and achieve our goals.”

Manisha made her senior national team debut against Hong Kong in 2019. She was a former India U-17 and U-19 international. She was also named Emerging Player of the Tournament in the 2019-20 Hero Indian Women’s League when she helped Gokulam Kerala FC win the championship.

Maymol Rocky, the national team’s head coach, selected both winners in cooperation with temporary Technical Director Savio Medeira. Tejas Nagvencar received the Best Referee award, while Sumanta Dutta was named Best Assistant Referee.

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